Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sixth annual Appalachian Heritage Day to be held Oct. 6, 2008.

A campus cultural celebration will be the focus of the sixth annual Appalachian Heritage Day on Monday (Oct. 6) at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

Open to the public, the all-day free salute to the region's unique heritage begins at 10 a.m. Events will be held on the campus lawns and inside at various locations. Area elementary school students will visit the campus during the day as guests of the college's Education Division.
Appalachian Heritage Day will feature opportunities to learn, experience and appreciate the region's heritage with demonstrations ranging from pottery throwing and apple butter making to blacksmithing and guitar making.

"The event is composed of groups who will be demonstrating traditional Appalachian arts, culture, and practices along with featuring social service organizations who are dedicated to provided services to enrich the lives of the Appalachian people," noted Gregg Busch, assistant professor of sociology, who coordinates the event with students in Sociology 323: Sociology of Rural Life.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a variety of presenters and demonstrations will be available in the college's multipurpose room, including Veterans Memorial Museum; U.S. Department of Agriculture; Little Kanawha Conservation District; dulcimer/music and wood carving by Mike Mollohan; Campus Martius Museum; Trans Allegheny Bookstore; acoustic music by Chase Brady; Wood County Historical Society; Appalachian Tourism; "When Miners March," Bill Blizzard and Wess Harris; pottery demonstration; beekeeping and honey; fur trader; Belpre Historical Society; West Virginia Department of Forestry; alternative/traditional Appalachian remedies, Mother Earth Foods; guitar maker; Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition; Coal River Mountain Watch; quilting; Appalachian Regional Commission; environmental awareness, Psi Beta/Psychology Club; Try Again Homes; Volunteer Action Center; West Virginia Children's Home; Mid Ohio Valley Health Department; Wood County 4-H; Wood County Drug Task Force; Women's Care Center; Choices Childcare Referral; Westbrook Health Services, and Pressley Ridge.

Traditional Appalachian games will begin every 20 minutes on the campus front lawn. Coordinated by WVU Parkersburg sociology students, the games will include sack races, horse shoe and skillet tosses, corn hole, egg race, hoops and three-legged races.

On-going demonstrations on the campus front lawn will include apple butter stir, Bob and Alice Stanley; fly fishing demonstration; blacksmith demonstration, Jeff McCrady; oil and gas demonstration, Johnny Boston.

Keynote speaker for the sixth annual observance will be Dave Cooper who will discuss "Preserving Our Appalachian Hills" in a free presentation at 11 a.m. in the college theatre. A resident of Lexington, KY, Cooper worked 20 years as a mechanical engineer in various industries, and then decided to devote his full attention to environmental issues after seeing a mountaintop removal mine on Kayford Mountain, WV. He is currently on a national speaking tour to educate communities across America about mountaintop removal.

His presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and the Coal River Mountain Watch. Participating in the panel will be Larry Gibson of Kayford Mountain, WV who has been involved in saving Kayford Mountain and his family cemetery from mountaintop removal. He has spoken at countless college campuses about mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia. He is president of the Stanley Heirs Foundation and works as a volunteer for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition in Huntington.
Also to be featured will be the homespun, award-winning Appalachian humor of world champion storyteller Susanna Holstein from 11 a.m. to noon in the cafeteria. "Granny Sue" will entertain the young and old alike with traditional storytelling and tall tales.

Also scheduled are revolving presentations and discussions which will be 15 minutes in length and will include:
  • Ghost stories of West Virginia by Reader's Theatre, Jeff Byrd, theatre instructor, Room 1317;
  • clogging demonstration, Class Act and West Virginia Pride Cloggers, Caperton Center auditorium from noon to 1 p.m.;
  • Appalachian Children's Liteature, Suzy McGinley, Room 1318;
  • pottery demonstration, outside College Activities Center;
  • West Virginia Sports History, Rob Anderson, assistant professor of history, Room 1322;
  • historical portrayal by Ellen Pope, Room 1535;
  • Underground Railroad Quilt presentation, Room 1330.
The day will conclude with a 7 p.m. presentation by Jeff Biggers, author of "The United States of Appalachia," in the Caperton Center auditorium. A book signing will follow in the Caperton atrium. Biggers' appearance is jointly sponsored by the WVU at Parkersburg Social Justice Committee, Social Sciences Division, and Humanities Lecture Series.

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