The public is invited to learn more about the region’s rich cultural heritage during Frostburg State University’s Second Annual Appalachian Festival Sept. 21 and 22. The event brings together a variety of performers and craftspeople to celebrate the natural landscape, history, food and musical and artistic offerings of Western Maryland and the surrounding areas. Film, live music performances, storytelling and public demonstrations of timeless traditions are among the countless festivities that make up this year’s event, many of which are free and open to the public and suitable for the whole family.
The Appalachian Festival kicks things off with a special screening of two films at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at downtown Frostburg’s historic Palace Theatre on Main Street. The Palace will show “The True Meaning of Pictures” by Jennifer Baichwal, a documentary that examines the work of Shelby Lee Adams, a photographer who takes pictures of Appalachian “mountain people.” “Ready for Harvest: Clearcutting in the Southern Appalachians” by Anne Lewis Johnson, a film that explores the complex questions associated with extensive logging in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, will also be viewed. Tickets to see both films are $5.50 and may be purchased at the door.
Then Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., FSU’s Upper Quad comes alive with a variety of activities, demonstrations and music performances, all free and open to the public. Regional music, displays and sales of traditional arts and crafts, Appalachian food, history presentations, children’s activities, environmental talks, storytelling and more will be going on throughout the day. Featured musicians include the Allegheny Drifters, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, FSU’s own Greg Latta, the Critton Hollow String Band and many more. Festival goers can also enjoy handmade crafts, including spinning, seat caning and quilting, created by artists from noted groups such as Pennsylvania’s Participating Artists of the Turkeyfoot Highlands.
Saturday concludes with a special music concert featuring Jay Ungar and Molly Mason at 7:30 p.m. at the Palace Theatre. Ungar and Mason perform a variety of musical selections, including hard-driving Appalachian melodies, Cajun and Celtic fiddle tunes, stirring Civil War classics, sassy songs from the Golden Age of swing and country and moving original works. Playing together since the late 1970s, they gained widespread recognition for their soundtrack work in Ken Burns’ PBS series, “The Civil War,” including the haunting performance of Ungar’s original composition, “Ashokan Farewell.” The soundtrack won a Grammy, and Ungar’s melody was nominated for an Emmy. “Ashokan Farewell” is played by fiddlers and classical musicians worldwide and is considered a new American folk classic.
Tickets for the Ungar and Mason concert are available for purchase at Frostburg’s Main Street Books (2 E. Main St.) and at the Allegany Arts Council in Cumberland (52 Baltimore St.). Tickets are $15 general admission; $13 in advance; $8 for students and children 17 and younger. Allegany Arts Council members can pay $12 for an advance ticket or $13 at the door.
For more information about the Appalachian Festival or to volunteer at the event, please contact FSU folklorist Kara Rogers Thomas at (301) 687-3124 or e-mail email@example.com. Festival collaborators and sponsors include the Allegany Arts Council, the City of Frostburg, FSU, Maryland Historical Trust, Maryland State Arts Council, Maryland Traditions, the Palace Theatre and WFWM Radio.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 13 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland.
For more information about FSU, contact the Office of Admissions at (301) 687-4201 or visit the University’s Web site at www.frostburg.edu.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services, and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. You may request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office at (301) 687-4102, TDD (301) 687-7955.