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Vandalia Gathering celebrates traditional arts at Culture Center

May. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

CHARLESTON -- The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will celebrate the traditional music of West Virginia on Memorial Day weekend, May 24-25, at the Culture Center during the 37th annual Vandalia Gathering.

The family-friendly event is free, and everyone is welcome.

The festival, named for the proposed 14th colony, annually draws thousands of visitors from across the country to hear West Virginia musicians competing in old-time fiddle, guitar, old-time and bluegrass banjo, mandolin and lap dulcimer contests.

The festival offers a unique sampling of traditional and ethnic foods, including such favorites as roasted corn, hot dogs, barbecue, calzones, roast beef and meatball submarines, chicken wings, sausage, pepper and onion hero sandwiches, beans and cornbread, funnel cakes, homemade cobblers, strawberry shortcake and more from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 25.

The 2013 Vandalia Gathering gets under way at 6 p.m. Friday, May 24, with festival sales. At 7 p.m., an awards presentation for quilt and wall-hanging winners and the Vandalia Award, the state's highest folklife honor, will take place in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater of the Culture Center.

The evening concert follows the awards ceremony and will feature some of the state's favorite musicians. Visitors can hear the West Virginia All-Star Bluegrass Band, John Lilly, Born Old, the Appalachian Country Cloggers, and Juanita Fireball and the Continental Drifters.

Music contests on Saturday include lap dulcimer, old-time banjo and fiddle, bluegrass banjo, mandolin and flat-pick guitar. Contests are open to West Virginia residents only, and winners are announced at the conclusion of the contest. Registration for all categories will begin at 9 a.m. on the plaza deck of the Culture Center. The music contests will take place in the Great Hall and the Norman L. Fagan State Theater in the Culture Center.

Norman L. Fagan State Theater Contest Schedule:

10 a.m. - Lap Dulcimer Contest. Registration on the plaza deck closes at 9:45 a.m.

Awards Presentation and Concert with Bare Bones.

Noon - Old-time Banjo Contest (Senior and Under 60 Categories). Registration on the plaza deck closes at 11:45 a.m.

Awards Presentation and Concert with Roger Bryant.

2:30 p.m. - Old-time Fiddle Contest (Senior/Youth/Under 60). Registration on the plaza deck closes at 2:15 p.m.

Awards Presentation

Great Hall Contest Schedule:

10:30 a.m. - Mandolin Contest. Registration on the plaza deck closes at 10:15 a.m.

Awards Presentation and Concert with Terry Vaughan.

12:30 p.m. - Bluegrass Banjo Contest. Registration on the plaza deck closes at 12:15 p.m. Awards Presentation and Concert with the Song Catchers.

2:30 p.m. - Flat-pick Guitar Contest (Youth & 16 and Over). Registration on the plaza deck closes at 2:15 p.m.

Awards Presentation.

The popular outdoor Old-Time-for-Young-'Uns area features traditional hands-on fun and games for all ages from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday on the Capitol grounds.

At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, a concert in the State Theater will feature the sounds of such West Virginia groups as Kanawha Tradition, Ginny Hawker and Tracey Schwarz, Frank George, Lester McCumbers, Pete Kosky and the Samples Brothers.

In the Great Hall, the Quilts and Wall Hangings 2013 exhibition decorates the white marble walls with exquisite quilts representing the talents of West Virginia quilt-makers.

Also on display at the Culture Center is "West Virginia 150," which focuses on 150 people, places and events that helped to shape the lives of West Virginians over the past 150 years. It also features West Virginia's national and international accomplishments and achievements as they have unfolded since the state's birth on June 20, 1863. West Virginia's First Ladies doll exhibit and Treasures of West Virginia's Governors also are on display in the Balcony Gallery.

The State Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The State Museum Shop is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The Vandalia Gathering will be featured Saturday, June 22, during the 150th Birthday Celebration at the State Capitol. Food and craft vendors will be plentiful on the capitol grounds. Concerts featuring some of the winners in mandolin, bluegrass and old-time banjo, flat-pick guitar, lap dulcimer, old-time fiddle and gospel singing will take place throughout the day. Competitions will take place for the best pound cake, cupcake and maple cookie, as well as the annual Liars Contest. An outdoor dance stage will present heritage and ethnic dancing, traditional square dancing and flatfoot and clogging opportunities, with bands and callers on hand. The Old-Time-for-Young-'Uns area will provide a 4-H campfire experience for youth of all ages.

For more information about the festival, including a complete schedule of activities, visit the Division's website at www.wvculture.org and access the link for events, or call Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner of the Division, at 304-558-0220.