Falling upon the city of Frostburg, the Appalachian Festival reigned in this academic 2013-2014 school year at Frostburg State University. The annual event usually runs for about three days, between Thursday through Saturday, and it did the same this year. The activities at this event ranged from film screenings, concerts, and exhibit viewings, whether it was in a tent or to see animals. All the action is appropriate for people of all ages, and this festival is a great time for the local residents and families to get out and mingle with the university students and their families, if the student’s families happen to visit the campus.
I attended the festivities on Friday, where the theme of the day was “Social Justice in Appalachia.” This was a four-hour event, which started at 12 noon in the Upper Quad of the FSU campus. The layout was filled with tents as the participants on Friday prepared their performances and causes for the students. I attended this festival while on assignment for my ENGL 336 Journalistic Writing class, instructed by Prof. Andrew Duncan. This was my first time at the festival, so I took the opportunity to explore all that it had to offer. Not long after my entrance onto the festival, I came across a fellow student named Rita (who didn’t want to reveal her last name), who is a junior here Frostburg State, and intends on reaching senior status by spring 2014. I talked to Rita and discovered that she is one of the organizers for the Festival. Rita is not a local of Frostburg, Cumberland, or Allegany County; but claims that her permanent home is in Baltimore County, a three-hour distance from the university. Rita does feel very much a part of the Frostburg State University family, that’s why she decided to help organize and plan the annual Appalachian Festival. She has been doing this for two years now, making this year her third. “I really enjoy it, and I’m always looking forward to it every year” she said to me, as we walked through the upper quad part of campus. She is very committed in setting up the events and parties, and when offered the position to help construct the festival by a former academic counselor of hers, she jumped to the opportunity. I asked Rita how long it takes to start putting the plans together, she told me that they began early in the year, not long after February, and she works a lot with the officials in the City of Frostburg office on Main Street. A team of people decides where they will have the festival, on what days, and what extras they want to make the gathering more exciting.
The Friday date of events could have not been set on better date. The weather was comfortable, and the leaves of fall were bright with all its colors, from red, yellow, to green. A student named Mellissa told me “Allegany County is one of the most beautiful counties” to her, as she is a native of Carroll County, MD.
The mountainous horizon of the city that afternoon really showed the changing autumn weather in a lovely setting. Rita explained to me how “the Appalachian Festival has taught her a lot about the culture of Frostburg.”
The aspiring Event Planner doesn’t think she will stay in Frostburg after graduation, because she believes she would most likely be able to find work in her native Baltimore, but she does give credit to FSU for helping her discover true talents.