Folklife Festival to Highlight Grandpa Jones

Many are familiar with the southern-drawl of good ole “Grandpa Jones”, rattling off a list of southern fare or pickin’ and singin’ a lively banjo number on the popular 1970s show “Hee-Haw.”

His persona will come to life again at the folklife area during the Bluegrass In the Park and Folklife Festival August 14. David Hurt, a Kentucky Humanities Council Chautauqua speaker, will portray Louis Marshall “Grandpa” Jones, a Henderson native, in the festival narrative tent at noon that day. Kentucky Humanities Council speakers Jim Claypool and Sarah Rejoice Brown will also give listeners rare glimpses into western Kentucky’s underground mining traditions and some of Kentucky’s noted and notorious characters. Claypool’s talk on “Rascals, Heroes and Just Plain Uncommon Folks” kicks off the event at 10 a.m., and area miners will join Brown at 11:15 a.m. for a discussion on the tricks and traditions of underground mining.

You will also have the chance to watch a llama being sheared for its wool at the folk life festival, and learn about old-time crafts like canoe-building, quilting and canning or learn clogging from a master Appalachian dance instructor!

If you want to learn more about these traditions or you just want to experience them, then come down to the Folklife area on Saturday, August 14 from 10am-2pm. Folklife is presented by The Depot Community Room, The Downtown Henderson Project, City of Henderson Parks and Recreation, Henderson County Cooperative Extension, Kentucky Humanities Council and Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival Committee.

Folklife Exhibitors (Ongoing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.):
• Shade Tree Players: This dulcimer group will demonstrate the art of dulcimer music.
• Fried Apple Pies: Children can make and eat their own fried apple pies.
• Canning: Demonstration on the steps of canning your own salsa.
• Herbs: Debbie Lowrance will discuss growing and harvesting herbs.
• Burgoo: Paul Stone will share the secrets of making burgoo, a traditional Western Kentucky dish.
• Sidewalk Chalk Art: Local artists will create quilt patterns that children (and adults, too!) can trace in chalk on the sidewalk.
• Quilter: Janet Burke will display her quilts and show the process of quilt making.
• Canoe Construction: Peter Chevalier will display and work on a “proof of concept” canoe made without power tools, dimensional lumber or modern fasteners.
• Llama Shearer, fabric and fiber artists: A local farmer will demonstrate how to shear a llama for their wool, and fiber artists will demonstrate how to turn that wool into fabric.
• Children’s Games The City of Henderson Parks and Recreation Dept. will have old-time games like checkers, chess, hoola hoops and washer boards available for children to play.
• Western Kentucky Miners: Area miners will have mining tools on display.

Narrative Tent:
• Sarah Rejoice Brown (11:15 a.m.): Occupational Tradition of Coal Mining in Western Kentucky. Brown and area miners will share stories, customs, terminology, and related rare glimpses into tricks of the underground trade
• Jim Claypool (10 a.m.): Claypool, a Kentucky Humanities Council speaker, will profile a choice selection of the many colorful Kentuckians, male and female, noted and notorious- whose stories make our history so interesting and entertaining.
• David Hurt as Grandpa Jones (Noon): Louis Marshall Jones, better known as Grandpa, was the son of Henderson County sharecroppers. Hard times drove the family north to Akron, Ohio in the late 1920s. Grandpa Jones had a celebrated music career spanning more than 60 years, and is best-known for portraying his beloved “Grandpa Jones” character on the popular 1970s comedy “Hee-Haw.”
• Barry Lanham and the Foot Stompin’ Express (1:15 p.m.): Lanham is a master instructor of Appalachian dance based out of Owensboro, Ky. Lanham and his clogging troupe will demonstrate the folk tradition of clogging and teach a beginner’s class on the basics! Lanham’s clogging classes offer virtually non-stop dancing, instruction, music, high-spirited fun and friendship.

About Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival:
 One of the oldest on-going free Bluegrass festivals in the United States, Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival marks its 25th year in 2010. The festival honors Western Kentucky’s history as a center of Bluegrass music. In addition to great Bluegrass music, Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival boasts unique events and a family friendly atmosphere.

If you have any questions, please call us at 1-800-648-3128. We have the most up to date information on dining and shopping! For information on lodging, go here. For information on other upcoming events in Henderson, go here.