Venue change for Freshwater Folk Festival

The U.S. government shutdown may strike but it won’t stop the 9th Annual Freshwater Folk Festival from happening this Saturday, Oct. 5. The Freshwater Folk Festival has been moved to Midland Trail Park on East Main Street in White Sulphur Springs, located next to Vines & Grinds, across from the Scott Lane intersection. Parking will be available along Main Street as well as at parking lots at the bank, US Post Office, etc. Look for signs directing visitors to the festival.

The White Sulphur Springs Fish Hatchery as a national entity has closed and will not be able to provide the educational programs usually presented at the Freshwater Folk Festival.

“Certain tasks must continue at the hatchery to keep fish and mussels alive,” says Hatchery manager Keith McGilvray. One employee is allowed to work at the hatchery during the government shutdown to do “mission critical activities,” which includes keeping the wells and pumps operational, feed the fish and clean the tanks as necessary – and that is all.

Normally (when fully staffed), the hatchery employs eight people, however for the past year due to the sequestration and a hiring-freeze, the hatchery only has five employees. “We work harder,” McGilvray says, to coverall the duties of the trout program. “We are always hopeful for things to change,” he said. “The recession has been going on for sometime, and now we’re seeing it affecting the government sector.”

McGilvray clarified that the Friends of the White Sulphur Springs Fish Hatchery, as hosts of the Freshwater Folk Festival, are grateful for the many sponsors who have participated in bringing this festival to the public. He said however, many of the educational outreach programs will not be included owing to the shutdown. There will still be community education programs at the Midland Park location.

In addition, the Second Annual Freshwater 5K run/race organized by Generation Greenbrier Valley will maintain the same route as planned; however, registration, race start, and race finish will be at the Midland Trail Park.

The registration for the race, which promotes awareness of the “Healthy Kids, Healthy WV” program in our area, is on-site at Midland Trail Park and begins at 8:30 a.m. The race starts at 9 a.m. Registration fees are paid for with canned goods: three canned goods for one runner and 10 canned goods for a family of four, and two for each additional member. For more information about the race and registration, please email Generation Greenbrier Valley at

The Freshwater Folk Festival is a celebration of our nation’s fish, wildlife and natural resources. The 2013 festival will feature great music, food, dance, crafts, fun and educational activities. The performance lineup for the 9th annual Freshwater Folk Festival will include three musical groups this year: Possum Holler Glee Club, Little Sparrow and the Strum Sum Band. Also on hand will be Cassie Meador, the artistic director from Dance Exchange leading the Moving Field Guide.

Schedule of performances are as follows:

10 – 11:40 a.m. – Strum Sum Band

11:40 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. – Kountry Kickers

12:10 – 1:50 p.m. – Possum Holler Glee Club

2:20 – 4 p.m. – Little Sparrow

Join the fun at the festival. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. And, as always, the festival is free!

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