Check Out Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area’s Spring Planting And Music Festival

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area celebrates its 24th annual Spring Planting and Music Festival in late April/NPS file

The dulcet sounds of dulcimers, the earthy smell of an overturned field ready for spring planting, backwoods crafts and more will greet travelers who attend Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area’s 24th annual Spring Planting and Music Festival on Saturday, April 27. This festival celebrates the Appalachian way of life that has been an integral part of the history of the Big South Fork area.

During the festival, crafters demonstrate traditional arts such as woodcarving, moonshining, farrier services, longbow hunting, farm animals, gardening, and old-time toys that will delight young and old alike. Enjoy the melodies of Appalachian music, performed throughout the area by local musicians, and watch mule teams plow and plant the fields near Lora Blevins Farm. Continue your festival experience with a birding walk, trail run, and more traditional skills demonstrators at the Oscar Blevins Farm.

Families who settled the Big South Fork area practiced subsistence farming, which enabled families to be self-sufficient by utilizing the surrounding forest. Techniques and traditions were passed down throughout the generations, which created strong family bonds and work ethics. Activities on the farm included weaving textiles, tanning animal hides, bee keeping, and blacksmithing.

The annual Spring Planting festival is one of the many ways to join the Big South Fork throughout 2024 in a year-long celebration for its 50th anniversary. From new park waysides and interpretive programs to special events and nights under the stars, there’s an activity for everyone. Visit Bandy Creek Visitor Center for a copy of this year’s GO BIG Challenge booklet, information on upcoming programs and annual photo contest, and a great selection of limited-edition anniversary items! Come celebrate this way of life with us as we provide memorable opportunities for you to experience this important part of our history.

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