Kentucky Folklife Program and WKU Folk Studies at Horse Cave Heritage Festival
- Author: Monday, September 23rd, 2019
On Saturday, September 21, the Kentucky Folklife Program (KFP) organized and facilitated "Chattin' on the Porch," a narrative stage event held during the annual Horse Cave Heritage Festival in Horse Cave, Kentucky. Graduate students in the Folk Studies MA program worked together with Folk Studies and KFP faculty and staff in hosting the annual event held on the lawn of the historic Thomas House.
Students played active roles in each of the four narrative stages, which are interviews and demonstrations conducted on stage with traditional artists and community members in front of an audience. Students gained valuable experience moderating discussions, logging audio, running sound, taking photos, and capturing video throughout the event. This provided students with an excellent opportunity to practically apply skills and competencies taught throughout the Folk Studies program. Dr. Tim Evans' Public Folklore class was especially involved in the production of the "Chattin' on the Porch" stage, allowing students to experience firsthand how to apply principles, concepts, and skills taught in the Public Folklore course.
The four narrative stages held during the event ranged from foodways to folk art. On the first stage, "Zucchini Bread and Family Memories," led by faculty member Dr. Ann Ferrell and graduate student Hunter Bowles, participants demonstrated how one recipe signifies the rich culinary history of family and community. The Southcentral Kentucky Basket Making stage was moderated by KFP Director Brent Bjorkman alongside graduate student Aaron Kiser and featured National Heritage Award winner Leona Waddell, along with her apprentice Sam Peters, and Charlene and Charles Long describing their distinct basket-making traditions. The Jammin' on the Porch stage, hosted by KFP Folklife Specialist Joel Chapman and graduate student Sam Kendrick, featured participants of the Thursday night jam held at The Bookstore in downtown Horse Cave and included several performances by the interviewees. The final stage, moderated by faculty member Dr. Tim Evans and graduate student Ellie Dassler (pictured above), discussed the recent Horse Cave Bicentennial Cemetery Voices project that sought to share oral histories of local townspeople.
The Kentucky Folklife Program and the Western Kentucky University Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology have partnered with the Horse Cave Heritage Festival to present narrative stages for over ten years, and the success of this year's event emphasizes the values of this partnership for the students who participate and for the residents who attend.