Most likely, the sun will shine and gentle breezes will blow at the 12th Annual Freshwater Folk Festival on Saturday, September 10 from 10 AM to 4 PM at the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery on East Main Street. As before on the beautiful hatchery grounds, there will be (without charge), music and dancing, plus activities that enhance appreciation of fish and wildlife. The folks at the festival will enjoy food to be sold by the faithful vendors, and they will visit the big tent with the displays, demonstrations, and hands-on activities.
When the flood came to the hatchery on June 23, there was only about a foot of water in the bandstand so it’s in fine shape. Canopies will be set up behind the benches in front of the bandstand just in case it does rain. There are still some fine, large rainbow trout in the display pool by the hatchery visitors’ center which did not flood at all.
At 10 AM, the music performances will begin with an energetic band from the Charleston area with the name, Trail Magic (pictured to the left). That name fits well with the festival’s emphasis on the enjoyment and preservation of woodlands and streams. Their picking and singing style comes from their Appalachian heritage and will put the “folk” in this year’s Freshwater Folk Festival right away.
Singer and guitar player, Krista Hughes (pictured to the right), is coming back to the festival stage at noon with her good ole traditional country music after playing in the same spot two years ago. As she did in 2014, she will perform with Steve Sparks on drums, Jay Milam on guitar, and bassist, Rob Sizemore. Krista Hughes’ music career got a boost from her success with her 2015 televised audition on The Voice. She sang “Angel from Montgomery” and the judges raved about her singing.
Greenbrier County’s Don Steck and Mike Clark (pictured to the right) have a splendid musical partnership which they will showcase at 2:00 PM. This duo, also known as New River Twain, has been playing music together for more than 30 years. They perform an eclectic blend of songs that combines Americana, folk, blues and roots music, with Mike on guitar and vocals and Don on vocals, guitar, slide guitar and harp. They are currently members of the musical collaboration Squawkin’ Henry. Don previously played with the Juice Band, Red Star Rockets, and the Nightcrawlers, and Mike with the Raleigh County Rounders.
Let’s go fly a kite that looks like a fish! The mainstay of the festival is the plethora of hands-on activities, demonstrations, and displays relating to appreciation and preservation of freshwater habitats and nature in general. Sharon Ginsburg will once again keep the kids busy with her nature-related art project. Fly fishing skills will be taught by Trout Unlimited, and folks will get to see impressive birds provided by West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center. Some Southern West Virginia Regional Middle School Science Fair project displays from the 2016 event will also be on the tables under the big tent.
Local watershed associations will promote preservation of the freshwater environment. The Vietnam Veterans organization will supervise many games during the event, and the Greenbrier Sporting Club will also keep folks engaged in activities.
Parking for the festival will be in the northwest corner of the hatchery grounds reached by entering via Hemlock Drive about 100 yards west of the main hatchery entrance.
This event is presented by the Friends of the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery and sponsored by businesses, several individuals and couples, the WV Division of Culture and History, the Greenbrier County Commission, and the Greenbrier County Conventions and Visitors Bureau. For more information see www.freshwaterfolkfestival.org or call 304-646-0602
– Larry Davis, HashtagWV #81. September 2016