Augusta Festival marks the end of annual sessions

By Lynn Hartley

Staff Writer

On Saturday, the Augusta Festival in the Park featured family-style activities in Elkins City Park, and celebrated traditional crafts, with dancing and live music hosted by The Augusta Heritage Center.

The weekend marked the grand finale of the five-week summer sessions of the Heritage Center at Davis & Elkins College. A highlight of the day was a juried craft show with crafters from throughout the state displaying and demonstrating their skills.

“I love crafts and especially Appalachian crafts,” said Becky Stanevich of Grafton. “There’s a higher quality of crafts here,” she said.

Denzil and Rose Ann Cowger, of Hacker Valley, who make reed baskets have been coming to Festival in the Park for several years.

“We like the atmosphere and the people,” Rose Ann said. “We usually have pretty good sales too.” The Cowger’s offer 50 different kinds of designs, with baskets taking an average of three hours to make.

Another craftsman, Jim Good, of Mastertone Dulcimers in Walton, has been coming to the Festival for years.

“I made my first dulcimer in 1973, and I started selling them in 1974,” Good said. The hand carved instruments come in lemonwood, poplar, and walnut with an average price of $300.

The day was capped off by an 8 p.m. concert by bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys who performed at the Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium at D&E to a packed and enthusiastic house. Dr. Stanley was joined by his grandson and lead singer of the Clinch Mountain Boys, Nathan Stanley.

In 2002, Stanley received a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his rendition of the Appalachian song “Oh Death” featured in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” On Oct. 16 his farewell tour, “The Man of Constant Sorrow,” begins, ending in December 2014.

Doors opened at 5:30 p.m., and the show began at 6 p.m. featuring opening act, The Musicianeers, with Dave Bing, Joebass DeJarnette, Gerry and Jesse Milnes, and Joe Newberry. At 7 p.m., the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers took the stage.

The weekend ended with a Sunday morning gospel sing along led by Flawn Williams & Friends at the Robbins Chapel.