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Local Festivals

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One of the best and most enjoyable ways to learn about an area is to attend a local festival.

Festivals are about history, local traditions, music, farm products, or you name it and I bet you can find a festival celebrating it.

There are a few festivals that I go out of my way to attend, such as bluegrass festivals, old-time mountain fiddle conventions, and RV festivals, but I also like to attend festivals I find when I'm traveling that are based on the local culture or history of an area.

One thing that you're almost always going to experience at festivals is good food (usually with a local flair) and live local music.

Another big advantage is that you get to meet and mingle with the local people. They are usually full of information about the area and are eager to share their knowledge with you.

Here are some local festivals I've attended recently

  • Sourwood Honey Festival

  • Clam Festival

  • Ham Radio Festival

  • Woodworking Festival

  • RV Rallies

  • Bluegrass Festival

  • Old-time Mountain Fiddle Convention

  • Pirate Festival

Here are two pictures I made at a recent Pirate Festival. It was a lot of fun.

Here's a picture from an RV Rally. The RV in the picture is not an antique. It's just made to look old, complete with a wood-burning stove and an antique bathtub with claw feet.

Below are links to a couple of 2017 old-time fiddle convention festivals. In the first video a little past the one-minute mark you will see some mountain flatfoot dancing.

One thing you may notice about old-time music is that if you've heard one old-time song, you've heard them both and if you've heard the first verse, you've heard the whole song. At least, that's what people who don't care much for old-time music say. Of course, maybe they're right.

Note that in old-time music (from the 1800s and earlier) the musicians are not putting on a show for the audience like bluegrass musicians. The job of old-time musicians is to sit over in the corner and keep a rhythm going so people can dance. As my fiddle instructor told me one time when I stopped to correct a note, "People can dance to the wrong note, but they can't dance to the wrong rhythm. Don't stop. Keep playing when you make a mistake."

Regardless of what kind of music you like, do a little searching and I'm sure you can find some festivals featuring that kind of music. It might be worth dog-legging out of your way to attend one of these music festivals.

Bottom line: Maybe your experiences at a local festival won't be like what happened at the Squash Festival in the movie, Doc Hollywood with Michael J. Fox. But who knows. Maybe they will.

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