Folk Life Festival: Behind the Scenes

By: Allison Martin

On Saturday, Oct. 24, the annual folk life festival was held right here at Ferrum College. There was

music, coon dog races, families, and food. The Folk Life Festival was held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Many

people from the community came out to enjoy these festivities.

Anyone can go to the festival and see that a lot of work had been put into it preparing for it. The

students saw the setting up process the whole week leading up to the festival. Students saw men

putting up tents on Monday and Tuesday and a lot of them thought the men were setting up pretty

early. Most of the students probably thought that they started preparation for this festival at the

beginning of the week, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Preparation for the fall festival is a year round event. In fact, on Monday the individuals in charge of

the festival start thinking about next year’s festival. The first half of the year the search for the

musicians and craftspeople begin. By the summer time these people are booked for the festival in the

fall. By mid-summer, letters start getting sent out to inform people of our festival. So, in truth, the fall

festival is more than just a week or two of preparation.

The people in charge of the festival aren’t just adults. A significant number of students help out with

the festival as well. Some of the sports teams help out on this day.

“The fall festival is a community homecoming event for people to come out to … it’s an economic

opportunity for tourists … a community history lesson,” said Vaughan Webb, who is the co-director of

the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum. “The festival holds a lot of different community groups such as

craftspeople, musicians, and car show people.”

People wonder, why is the Festival held here at Ferrum? The festival has been held here since 1973

because of the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum. The museum holds a lot of history and the festival is

big on history and the way of life of historic Virginia, which is a main reason Ferrum’s festival is the

among the most well known festivals in Virginia. Ferrum College is set apart from other festivals

because Ferrum keeps the Virginia tradition of music and foods such as black pot bean stew and


Ferrum is known for many things such as academics and its beautiful campus. However, Ferrum’s fall

festival is another thing that puts the school on the map.

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