BANDY CREEK | For the 22nd time, the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area will celebrate the historic farming life that once defined the settlements of the Big South Fork region as it hosts the annual Spring Planting Festival here Saturday.
The 22nd annual event is an all-day festival with free admission, music, crafts, and demonstrations. The festival celebrates the coming of spring and the Appalachian way of life.
From the earliest days of the Big South Fork settlements like No Business, Station Camp, and the smaller settlements in the region’s upland areas in the early 1800s, subsistence farming was a way of life. For most families who lived in the Big South Fork region, that lifestyle continued until the end of the settlement era in the mid 20th century.
The Spring Planting Festival takes place, in part, at two of those subsistence farms: the Lora Blevins homestead and the nearby Oscar Blevins Farm. Activities are also held at Bandy Creek, and shuttles will run between the three sites throughout the day on Saturday.
The event begins with a birding walk at 8 am in the parking lot of the Bandy Creek Swimming Pool. The festival will crank up with field plowing at 9 am, and music will begin at 10 am.
Among the groups scheduled to perform in the big tent at Bandy Creek are David Howard at 10 am, Johnny Roger at noon, David Hoss & Friends at 1 pm, Standing Stone at 2 pm, and Gerald Handwright at 3 pm. There will be a birds of prey program at 11 am.
Gardening demonstrations and mountain dulcimer music will be featured throughout the day at the Lora Blevins Farm, and there will be an open house demonstration all day at the Oscar Blevins Farm.
There will also be demonstrations of old-time skills, interpretative talks, vendors who demonstrate and sell their wares, and food sales.