Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary Weekend Filled with Artists, Dramatic Performances, Crafts People, and Storytelling
Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 8:01 pm
ASHEVILLE, NC, AND ROANOKE, VA (August 2, 2010) – Visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary Festival the weekend of September 10, 2010, at Cumberland Knob, NC, (Milepost 217.5) and the Blue Ridge Music Center near Galax, Virginia (Milepost 213), will be treated not only to extraordinary traditional music, but also to artists, crafts people, storytellers, and theater.
Visual artists Teresa Pennington of Waynesville, NC, and Waynesboro, VA, artist P. Buckley Moss – both of whom have created limited edition, commemorative works honoring the Blue Ridge Parkway – will be at the Blue Ridge Music Center at various times throughout the weekend. The artists will demonstrate their talents as well as be on hand to sign prints.
At Cumberland Knob Recreation Area Saturday, September 11, beginning at 2 p.m., the one-woman show “They Call Me Aunt Orlene” – a performance highlighting the life of a mountain mid-wife in the 1900s – will feature Phyllis Stump of Lexington, VA. Orlene Puckett, whose cabin is on the Parkway at Milepost 189.9, delivered more than 1,000 babies in southwestern Virginia over a 50-year period beginning in 1889. Her story captures life along the Southern Appalachia in the 1800s, including her own personal loss of 24 children before becoming a mid-wife. Stump, a former English and drama teacher for 30 years, has performed the show over 70 times at the Puckett Cabin as well as across the region. She has recently written a book about Puckett entitled Called: The Story of a Mountain Midwife.
Traditional storytelling will begin before Ms. Stump’s performance and will continue throughout the weekend, with tales ranging from traditional Cherokee stories to Appalachian folklore and ghost stories. One of the weekend’s highlights will be stories by Charles Maynard, whose most recent book is The Blue Ridge, Ancient and Majestic: A Celebration of the World’s Oldest Mountains. A renowned storyteller, author, and Methodist minister, Maynard is also a staunch supporter of national parks and the preservation of American historic sites. He was a founding director of Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, has authored several books on the Smokies, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton national parks, and serves on the National Parks Overflight Advisory Committee. He has written a total of 27 books, including two popular children’s books, Waterfalls of the Smokies and Churches of the Smokies.
Sunday, September 12, at 1 p.m. at Cumberland Knob Recreation Area, the talented Jack Tale Players of Ferrum College will deliver traditional Appalachian tales of “Jack,” the infamously cunning young hero whose escapades typically incorporate modern fairy-tale elements of social rise through magical enrichment. Rooted in English and Welsh stories of “Jack,” the best known is the tale of Jack and the Giant Beanstalk. As the storytelling traditions settled in the Southern Appalachian region, the hero is an Everyman, overcoming the odds in such tales as “Old Gally Mander.”
The Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary Festival is free and open to the public. Parking is at the Blue Ridge Music Center and two auxiliary lots located near the intersection of the Parkway and Highway 89, near Milepost 217. Complimentary shuttle service between the Blue Ridge Music Center and Cumberland Knob Recreation Center will be available during festival hours. Please be sure to dress for the weather. Blankets and picnics are allowed. Alcohol and pets, except service animals, are prohibited.
Blue Ridge Parkway 75, Inc. is the non-profit organization designated by the National Park Service to lead the Parkway’s 75th Anniversary celebration. With representation from all of the Parkway’s partner groups, the states of North Carolina and Virginia, and community leaders along the 469-mile scenic route, Blue Ridge Parkway 75, Inc.’s mission is to engage local communities and all visitors in an anniversary that focuses attention on a sustainable and healthy Parkway for future generations. For more information, visit blueridgeparkway75.org.