Festival Offers Glimpse Into Past
The Malcolm Blue farm in Aberdeen will be bustling with activity this Friday, Saturday and Sunday as thousands of visitors descend on the historic site.
During the 40th Malcolm Blue Historical Crafts and Farmskills Festival, young and old alike will have the opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of what life would have been like on a 19th-century farm.
Sponsored by the Malcolm Blue Historical Society, the three-day festival offers a rich mixture of history, arts and crafts, fun family activities and plenty of traditional toe-tapping musical entertainment.
Located at 1177 Bethesda Road in Aberdeen, the 7.5 acre Malcolm Blue farm itself will take center stage as festival-goers wander the grounds, tour the restored 1825 farmhouse and view historic exhibits in the Clayton-Blair History Museum.
As they have in years past, event organizers will bring together a diverse collection of artisans, re-enactors, vendors and entertainers to display their skills, wares and talents. Artisans and crafters will demonstrate skills and trades that were once a necessary part of 19th-century life, including wood-working, basket-making, candle dipping, pottery making and more.
Vendors will offer a wide array of handmade items, ranging from hand-dipped candles, hand-woven rugs, wrought-iron creations and silver items, jewelry, wooden toys and hand-carved walking sticks.
A variety of food items, including fresh vegetables, honey, jams, jellies, breads, cookies and more also will be available.
Members of the North Carolina Naval Squadron, the 1st North Carolina Artillery and the 26th North Carolina Cavalry will be in attendance during the festival.
These groups of military re-enactors will be available for informal discussions on camp life, fighting tactics and equipment maintenance. Planned artillery cannon and musket firing demonstrations will be performed on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
A special collection of historical North Carolina and South Carolina Armory Civil War artifacts also will be on display during the festival in the Clayton-Blair History Museum.
A new addition to the Malcolm Blue Festival will highlight the area's 18th-century heritage. Revolutionary War demonstrator Matt Vinstead of Richmond County will fire an 18th-century three-pound cannon while wearing clothing authentic to a North Carolina civilian during the Revolutionary War. Vinstead will participate in all three days of the festival.
Entertainment Lined Up
The entertainment stage at the Malcolm Blue Festival will offer a wide variety of performers, including many longtime favorites of regular festival attendees.
Storyteller Elizabeth Garner will take listeners back in time while musical groups will have festival-goers' toes tapping and hands clapping.
Friday's performances include Garner's traditional art of storytelling, followed by a handbells group from Sandhills Comm-unity College.
Rural Lee County native Marvin Gaster will once again delight music lovers as he brings his "old-time music" style to the festival stage. The style features the banjo, fiddle and guitar as well as vocals. Joining Gaster on stage will be Richard Owens.
Gospel music will make its first appearance on the Malcolm Blue Festival stage when Potter's Will performs. Set to sing on both Saturday and Sunday, the Southern gospel group includes Stacy Branch, Larry Johnson and Dennis Harrellson.
The Bluegrass Tarheels returns to the stage on Saturday, bringing its unique style of bluegrass and old-country blues. Wayne Livengood, Max Livengood, Marvin Frye and Derry Walker are the Bluegrass Tarheels. Stone Mountain and other groups also will perform Saturday.
Sunday's lineup includes Red Line, a country band that likes to rock. The band features the talents of Greg Russell, J.J. Moore, Dr. Bill Walker, Lee Abernethy, Mike Washam and Terry Burrow.
Red Line's most recent song, "Brave," has been getting airtime on various country stations around the Southeast.
The McFarland Road Band, out of Laurel Hill, brings its traditional bluegrass sound to the festival stage on Sunday as well. The group includes Mike Outlaw, Crowell Holcomb, Tommy Sessoms and Uncle Danny Pate.
A group of truly good ol' North Carolina boys, the McFarland Road Band promises to offer audiences a good time.
Traditional and contemporary bluegrass continues when Thickety Creek Bluegrass Band performs. Based in Montgomery County, the group includes Stephen Thompson, Jacob Thompson, Larry Williams, Corey Lammonds and Ron Haywood.
One of the most popular attractions at the annual festival is the mule-drawn wagon rides.
Ronald "Tash" Hudson will once again have his hands, or rather his wagon, full as he provides mule-drawn wagon rides to every festival attendee, young or old, who would like to climb aboard for a ride around the Malcolm Blue farm. The wagon provides seating for 13 or more passengers.
The popular mule-drawn wagon rides, which are provided free of charge with the price of admission to the festival, circle the Blue farm. The rides will be offered throughout each day of the festival.
In addition to the wagon, Hudson will be bringing two of the 17 mules he raises on his End of the Drive mule farm in Asheboro.
A favorite demonstration team with many regular festival attendees is Donald Thomas and his border collies. The team will give demonstrations of herding, wearing, penning and other techniques.
Thomas' dogs are true working dogs on his Jackson Springs' farm. They are fully trained and respond to voice command or shepherd's whistle. How the border collies react to the various commands will be part of the demonstration at the festival.
Thomas and the dogs also will show herding, which is the management of putting livestock where they need to be. Other demonstrations will include precision driving, wearing and penning and loading of the sheep.
Thomas and his dogs have been a familiar attraction at the festival for nearly 16 years.
Another familiar sight at the Malcolm Blue Festival is Talbert's Catering, which will once again be serving food each day of the festival, from opening to closing. Everything will be cooked fresh at the festival.
Talbert's Catering will have four cookers fired up as the staff prepares a wide variety of foods, including chopped barbecue, back loin ribs, pork tenderloin, kielbasa sausage, chicken breasts, hamburgers and all-beef hot dogs.
The meats are available on sandwiches or plated with baked beans, cole slaw and a roll on the side.
David Talbert with Talbert's Catering also will give demonstrations to students during School Children's Day, explaining the anatomy of the pig and showing them different cuts of meat, using one of the pigs he will be cooking during the festival.
School Children's Day
The festival kicks off Friday with School Children's Day. Nearly 2,000 children from Moore County and surrounding counties are expected to attend.
Festival organizers have planned a number of special speakers, and programs are planned to enhance the educational aspect of the festival for the school children.
Event organizers also say there will be a number of free children's games for kids to enjoy throughout the three-day festival. From stilts, hoops and cornhusk dolls to writing with quill pens and more, children will get the chance to experience what it was like to be a child in the Sandhills in 19th-century Moore County.
The festival runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday. The hours Saturday are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and noon until 5 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is $5 on Friday, and $5 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under with preschoolers admitted free on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, call the Malcolm Blue Farm at (910) 944-7558, e-mail malcolmblue@ windstream.net or visit the farm's Web site at www.malcolmbluefarm. com.
Martha J. Henderson can be reached at (910) 693-2476 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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