Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dreary Day, Awesome Appalachian Festival

     On a grey somber morning, Frostburg's campus erupted in a gleeful sound of folk music and crowds of people enjoying the lively events. Yes, the Appalachian Festival had brought together local craftsmen, food carts, and entertainers of all kinds to welcome the coming fall. While the festival officially started on Thursday with film festival, the majority of attractions were saved until Saturday to go from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bluegrass bands like the Lonesome Highway and Frostburg Arion Band could be heard across the campus. Large crowds gathered under the local venders' tent to browse wares like hand knit scarves, jewelry, animal skins and more. One such vendor was Gabe and Ian selling their home brewed root beer. Their root beer is made from boiling the roots from sassafras trees and even though it takes an hour to make it, it takes four days for the root beer to naturally carbonate.
     Food and music weren't the only attractions at the festival. Horn's Punch & Judy show was there to entrain the children with the comical puppets. Mark Walker used to be a magician when he saw George Horn's Punch & Judy show at a birthday party. He said after that show, nothing was the same. Mark promised George to visit him which he did a little later in life. Twenty years later to be exact. George Horn was looking to retire so Mark Walker took up the stage name Professor Horn and began his twenty year career with the Punch & Judy show. It's not uncommon for a magician to take up the role as Professor Horn said, “Some of the best Punch & Judy performers were magicians.”
     The festival itself has been going on for 8 years and has increased in size since then. The petting zoo is always popular attraction for kids, and some students, every year with several kinds of goats. “This is like my fourth year coming here.” explained student Evan Greenberg. “There seems to be more vendors this year which is pretty cool.” Not all students were so talkative. When asked about his favorite thing about the festival, Tony Alvarev simply said, “The food.” Food seemed to be on many students' minds as Chandler Stroup also said the apple butter was his favorite thing there. It's hard to argue with them when there are so many different treats to buy like hot dogs, crab cakes, pulled pork sandwiches popcorn and homemade sugar cookies. The festival also seems to be a popular place for dogs as many pet owners brought their faithful companions to make new friends and roll around in the grass. Even though it was a rainy Saturday morning, it didn't deter festival goers. As soon as it began to rain people pulled out their umbrellas and didn't bat an eyelash at the change. Well, for a little while at least. A little past noon a freak rain storm descended on the festival with strong winds and heavy rain. The rest of the events were unfortunately canceled due to the weather, but it took one hell of a storm to do it which speaks to the determination these people had about enjoying their annual festival.

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