Though the Appalachian Mountains wander from Alabama to Newfoundland, there’s hardly a more quintessentially Appalachian territory than that in which the Hatfields and McCoys feuded in southern West Virginia.
That’s why the inaugural Appalachian Heritage Day being hosted Aug. 24 in Logan, West Virginia, has all the makings of a world-class celebration of culture, according to officials at Southern W.Va. Community and Technical College.
The noon-to-8 p.m. event, which is free and open to the public, will feature musicians, workshops, artisans, authors, and other vendors associated with Appalachia, according to organizer Brandon Ray Kirk, associate professor of history at the college.
“Anyone who is interested in Appalachia is welcome,” Kirk said.
“It will be inside this year, but, if it grows, we will expand into more of our buildings and spill outside—especially with artisans.”
The event will feature presentations, author readings, music workshops, a genealogy workshop, a writers’ workshop, and information tables that promote history, culture, tourism, and economic development.
Festivities will culminate with the gathered musicians joining for a concert in the college’s Savas Kostas Performing Arts Center at 6 p.m.
Numerous regional authors, award-winning old-time musicians, and Appalachian scholars will be featured, Kirk said.
Featured musicians will include Logan native Roger Bryant; Chapmanville child violinist Liam Farley; Lincoln County multi-instrumentalist Paul Gartner; bluegrass musician and founder of Glenville State College’s bluegrass music program, Buddy Griffin; multi-talented performer Bill Hairston; old-time banjo player Kim Johnson; Cody Jordan, a member of Modock Rounders, one of West Virginia’s most popular old-time bands; multi-instrumentalist, old time-enthusiast and experienced festival organizer David O’Dell; Lincoln County master of labor songs and hostess of The Friendly Neighbor Radio Show, Elaine Purkey; well-known fiddler, square dance caller and flatfoot dancer, Mack Samples; and internationally known fiddler and friend to late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Bobby Taylor.
Regional authors that will be featured at the event include Laura Treacy Bentley, a poet and novelist featured on “A Prairie Home Companion,” and recipient of a Fellowship Award for Literature from the W.Va. Commission on the Arts; Brandon Kirk, a history professor whose work has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine and The New Yorker; Cat Pleska, an award-winning author, editor, educator, publisher and storyteller; Carter Taylor Seaton, author of two novels including “Hippie Homesteaders,” as well as a biography of the late Ken Hechler; and M. Lynn Squires, a fiction crafter, poet, blogger and magazine columnist regularly featured in Charleston Home and Living Magazine.
Featured scholars include Dr. Chris Green, director of the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center at Berea College and a poet; Dr. Charles Keeney, a history professor at SWVCTC and labor expert; and Dr. Brian McKnight, founding director of the Center for Appalachian Studies at UVA-Wise and expert on the Civil War in Appalachia.
Numerous other musicians, authors and scholars, as well as agencies relating to history, culture, tourism, and economic development, will be on hand for the day. Free workshops will be offered to the public. There will be food vendors on-site, as well, featuring popular local food attractions.
Find out more at the event website.