OAK HILL —
The 15th annual Oak Leaf Festival will kick off on Thursday, Aug. 22 with a wine and cheese tasting at the White Oak Country Club and will run through Labor Day weekend.
Organizers of the annual affair have another jam-packed event scheduled for 2013. The theme for the year’s festival is “Celebrating 150 Years of Mountainous Beauty,” tying in with the state’s sesquicentennial celebration.
The complete schedule of events is printed below and for much more on the annual festival, see the special tabloid inserted in the Thursday, Aug. 15 edition of the Tribune.
15th annual Oak Leaf Festival
Aug. 22-Sept. 1
Thursday, Aug. 22
5-8 p.m. — Oak Leaf Wine & Cheese Tasting, $, White Oak Country Club, Country Club Road
Saturday, Aug. 24
9 a.m.-6 p.m. — Oak Leaf Depot Days, Lewis Community Center
4 p.m. — Miss Oak Leaf/Miss Teen Pageant, $, Oak Hill High School auditorium, Oyler Avenue (Miss Oak Leaf winner to go to Fairs and Festivals Pageant)
Sunday, Aug. 25
12 noon-5 p.m. — Oak Leaf Depot Days, Lewis Community Center
2 p.m. — Kids’ Pageant, $, registration 1:30 p.m., Oak Hill High School auditorium
Tuesday, Aug. 27
7-9:30 p.m. — The Lilly Mountaineers, amphitheater beside City Hall (bring lawn chairs; rain location Historic Oak Hill School, 140 School Street)
Wednesday, Aug. 28
7-8:30 p.m. — Gospel sing, Oak Hill Church of the Nazarene
Thursday, Aug. 29
6-8 p.m. — Oak Hill’s Touch of Talent (talent show) — amphitheater beside
This year marked Crouse’s second time at the festival, but he said he can’t get enough of it.
He plays five-string banjo and fiddle himself, but he said, “I get so inspired while I’m here.”
One of his favorite acts was a jugband called the Drunken Catfish Ramblers, who played Friday night. “They had washboards, banjos, and even a tuba player.”
He said they circled around the camp, true New Orleans style, before taking the stage.
“There’s just something about this type of music,” Crouse said.
He described each area of the festival, where to go if you were looking to stay up late and party, or where you could go if you wanted to catch some shut-eye.
The water tower, also dubbed “Geyser Hill,” is where some of the older folks hang out, Crouse said, but he said there’s no shortage of talent there. “There are some of the best banjos players here you’ll ever meet.”
No matter where you were in the campground, you’re sure to hear some killer tunes, whether someone was testing out a new instrument to buy or a new group of friends were creating a makeshift band.
Also Saturday evening, Appalachian dancers were peeling off their shoes and getting ready for the flatfoot dance contest.
Marilyn Branch, of Kalamazoo, Mich., walked away from the registration booth with a No. 8 pinned on the bottom of her floral print skirt.
“I’ve only ever missed four,” Branch said of the 24 Appalachian String Band Festivals. “My husband and I come on Day 1, rain or shine. Anyone who came in 2009 and survived the nine-day rain can survive anything.”
Branch has taken flatfoot workshops before and has even won the competition at the festival before.
“This is our community. We really build this town while we’re here. When I go home, there’s this void. I think, ‘Where are all my friends? Where’s the music?’ It’s just lovely to have a week of this intense immersion.”
For more information about the Appalachian String Band Festival, visit www.wvculture.org/