For nine years The Appalachian Festival has brought joy and happiness to Frostburg State University campus and this year was no different. A mixture of musical sounds, children's laughter, and the smell of kettle corn filled the air on this beautiful day.
As I passed the excited children at the Capering Kids Goat club petting zoo the exquisite sounds of country singer Ray Owen caught my ear. " He's exactly the type of sound I look forward to seeing when I come here" says a elderly woman who travels to Frostburg for the festival every year. For the past seven years Ray Owen has graced the stage. Today he performed some very engaging tunes on the Sowers stage, which was hosted by FSU teacher and musician Greg Latta. He captured the audiences attention with a story about his troubles understanding road signs before he began to sing. "Putting a slippery when wet sign is like putting a sign on the stove that says hot when lit". His comedic word play brought a roar of laughter across the crowd. When he began his second song, an old mountain tune "Ain't no Bugs on Me" two young girls danced happily in front of the stage. Meanwhile everyone else yelled out bug names for Ray to use in his catchy sing a long tune.
Though Ray Owen's performance was rather fun, the rumble in my stomach enhanced my sense of smell as the woman next to me bit into a crab cake. There were many different stands and a few food trucks, serving everything from carnival style kettle corn to pulled pork and crab cakes. But the fun did not stop with the music and food. In the center of it all was a large tent full of vendors selling paintings, jewelry, records and even winter accessories. I picked up a scarf and two hats, all of which were hand knitted. It had a bit of a flea market feel. If you like to shop you would have been in love.
Todays sunny weather made the Appalachian Festival the perfect atmosphere for Saturday fun with the family. The festival definitely had an upbeat feel that brought many different types of people together. A good mix of FSU students, locals and out of town folk experienced the history and culture of Appalachian living in a weekend full of unique activities and celebration. Even though this festival brings fun and excitement to this small town it also brings opportunities, especially for musicians. This is a place musicians of different magnitudes can gather, express and experience an abundance of love and support. The music is truly the thing that keeps the people coming back. "Some people don't like Bluegrass, but once they get in to it boy they be jammin" says a local girl while she looked around searching anxiously for The Session/Jam tent.
Overall this was on experience like no other. In my four years here at Frostburg, this was my first time attending the festival and I realized I should have came sooner. Even if you're not a fan of country or bluegrass the atmosphere alone will entice you .