Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Mountain Spirits Festival

Last Saturday the Mountain Spirits Festival that some of us had worked on for nearly a year actually happened. Despite the gale force winds that day, everybody involved seemed to have a good time.

The idea began a year ago in June when I came home from the Galax Leaf and String Festival and mentioned at a library board meeting that Franklin County should do something like that. Librarian David Bass contacted Debra Weir, the county's Tourism and Special Events Manager, and meetings ensued. Somehow I became "literary coordinator," which meant I was the person who invited authors to sit under a big tent. So, I invited a bunch of authors, most of whom had written something connected to the region. And I started a blog. Debra started a Facebook page. Joyce Tukloff of the Franklin County Library invited some story-tellers. Ibby Greer assembled a bunch of artists. Mary Wray, owner of the Artisan Center Along the Crooked Road came on board. Before long, the festival was taking shape.

A few weeks before the festival, a couple of authors cancelled because they had other commitments. Well, I still had plenty to fill the big tent.

Friday afternoon, I went to Rocky Mount and put up tables, which I then labeled so the authors would know where they were to sit. The weather forecast was for high wind on Saturday. Uh-oh.

Friday evening, two more authors cancelled. Uh-oh. What if no one showed up?

Early Saturday morning—as the breeze was picking up—I was there to help authors find their places and to show them where they'd park in the Franklin Center parking lot. But there was a BIG truck blocking many of the Center's parking spaces. An Asplundth truck. They're tree cutters. Uh-oh.

 I talked to the driver who told me he was waiting for the crew chief and the rest of the crew to come so they could cut the tree beside the tent. Beside the tent?! (You can see the branches in the picture above.) As we spoke, a bunch of guys were putting up signs on the sidewalk to keep people away from the tree-cutting site. Uh-oh.

I spied Debra and told her what was going on. She talked to the crew chief and explained a lot of people would be soon be under the tent and on the street. The crew took up their signs and left. Whew!

Before long authors arrived and set up. Then visitors came to the tent. Despite the cold and wind, things went pretty well. Some authors were old friends; some met each other for the first time. As two Appalachian authors chatted, one realized that the other had shot and slightly wounded her uncle during a raid on his still. Small world, huh?

A lot was happening in town, but I spent most of my time in the tent with the authors. Since the music stage was beside us, I did get to hear some wonderful music.

Gary Noestner and Amanda Cockrell (hidden by flowers)
were the first authors folks saw when they entered the tent.
Lake Writers: President Chuck Lumpkin, Susan Coryell,
Sally Roseveare, and Mike Davis. 
The Lake Writers made some sales.
Pocahontas Press had some good bargains.
Beside them, Bruce Bytner displays his Park Ranger books.
Charles Lytton displays his New River books.
Piedmont Writers came from Martinsville.
Lynn Dudley and Margaret Adkins.
Books buyers mingle with authors. 
Appalachian authors Peggy Shifflett and Jack Powell share stories.

Farther down the street, all sorts of things were happening. A horse danced while its rider, Aspen Black, sang.

Lots of artists displayed their paintings, pottery, sculpture, and jewelry. My favorite painting was this one by Carol Yopp:

And down in the farmers' market—at Farmer Appreciation Day—this model captured the spirit of the festival:

If you don't know what it is, you surely ain't from around here.

More pictures are here.



Blogger Sally Roseveare said...

I had so much fun at the Mountain Spirits Festival! You organizers certainly did a great job. We had plenty of room to display our books, the crowd was good, the setup in The Franklin Center was appreciated. I liked everything except the weather--and there's not a thing we could have done about that. Good job, Becky!

1:50 PM  
Blogger R.M. said...

What a wonderful event! And Bruce was there, too! A great idea turned into, hopefully, a tradition.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

A miniature still?

8:56 PM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

Looks like a great turnout!

11:51 AM  

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