Augusta Heritage finale begins Friday

Crafts, dancing and live music will abound at the Augusta Festival this weekend.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be the grand finale and conclusion of the five-week summer session of the Augusta Heritage Center at Davis & Elkins College.

Events kick off at 8 p.m. Friday with the Augusta Festival Dance, a contra and square dance in the Augusta Dance Pavilion on the college campus. Dance Week musicians and the Great Bear Trio with Will Mentor and Friends will perform live music.

On Saturday, the Augusta Festival in the Park will take place in Elkins City Park. The entertainment-packed day offers family-oriented activities from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tents will feature dancers, local and visiting musicians and storytellers.

Local artists scheduled to perform on the main stage are Kristen Andreason, Augusta American Vernacular Dancers, Dog and Gun, Ann Hartman and Josh Wanstreet, Carrie and Michael Kline, Emily Miller and Jesse Milnes, Val Mindel, Eden Macadam-Somer and the West Virginia Highlanders of Davis & Elkins College.

Also featured on the main stage will be Gerry Milnes and Dave Bing. Milnes, a West Virginia state fiddle champion, has won the old-time banjo championship at Clifftop and recorded two CDs with his band, Gandydancer. He also is the folk art coordinator for the Augusta Heritage Center.

In addition, on Saturday, there will be a juried craft show with crafters from throughout the state displaying and demonstrating their skills. Crafter booths will be scattered throughout the park offering jewelry, pet food, pottery, quilts and soap for sale. Food also will be available.

At the shelter stage or small pavilion, festivalgoers will be able to meet the masters, as interviews with local and regional artists will be available. At the Robbins Chapel from 2:30 to 4 p.m., a shape note singing workshop will take place.

Dancing – including flat-footing, hip-hop, Irish dance and partner dancing – will be ongoing at the workshop stage or Sycamore Street pavilion.

Children are encouraged to visit the Kids’ Tent, where there will be face painting and craft projects, including paper bag puppets and yucca dolls. Various instrument workshops will also be offered.

At 8 p.m., bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys will perform at the Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium at D&E.

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?” He was named a Library of Congress Living Legend in 2000, and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2006. He will begin his farewell tour, “The Man of Constant Sorrow,” on Oct. 16 and it will end in December 2014.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the show begins 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 take the stage.

Tickets are $20 general admission, and are free to Week 5 Augusta participants as well as D&E faculty, staff and students. They can be purchased at, at the Augusta Store in the Myles Center for the Arts, at the door or by calling 1-800-965-9324.

Immediately after the concert, a contra and square dance in the Augusta Dance Pavilion will take place, with music provided by Bob Smakula and Denice Reese & Friends.

Admission is free for those attending the concert. General admission is $6.

The weekend ends with a Sunday gospel singalong led by Flawn Williams & Friends at the Robbins Chapel at 10:30 a.m.