ABINGDON, Va. — The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming will add a signature culinary and cultural event to its stellar series of events this year. On June 17, ticket holders will be treated to fresh, local food, the best in regional music, art and artisanship, and enlightening stories of the region’s culinary heritage to celebrate the innovative, creative spirit so characteristic of Appalachia. The event is sponsored by Food City, Blue Ridge Beverage and the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
Guests will first gather at the prestigious William King Museum of Art in Abingdon for appetizers and beverages specifically designed and selected to showcase the finest of Southwest Virginia’s locally grown offerings. Guests will be treated to two exhibitions at the museum by Appalachian-based artists who will give brief gallery tours and talks.
One of the exhibits, Roadside Attractions: The Weird and Wonderful Worlds of Mark Cline, features the work of Rockbridge County-based Cline who creates drawings, photos, video, and large-scale fiberglass features drawn from popular culture and his own imagination. Artist Elizabeth Mesa-Gaido will represent a group of artists whose work makes up the ¡Viva Appalachia! exhibition. Marcy Miller, executive director of the Museum, notes that “the cultural landscape of Appalachia has become increasingly diverse as the Latin-American population continues to grow. This group of artists working in the region shares their experience of our divergent cultures coming together through photography, sculpture and other media.”
Music for the first part of the special evening will be provided by the Pointer Brothers, an acoustic trio based in Southwest Virginia. Their performances combine bluegrass, country, and folk, spiced with accents of spacegrass and jazz.
After the cocktail hour, guests will travel by Abingdon Town Trolleys to Heartwood, Southwest Virginia’s gateway center for local craft, music, food and local culture. Charles Parker, Heartwood Chef, has created a special dinner using fresh, local food paired with an array of beverages produced in the Appalachian region. Chef Parker says, “My specialty is using fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create menus that embody the southern palate, sometimes creating completely new dishes and other times taking old favorites and putting a fresh twist on them.”
During the dinner at Heartwood, Nell Jefferson Fredericksen, a Virginia Juried Master Artisan, will speak about her life as a mountain artist. Trained as a biologist/zoologist, Fredericksen will demonstrate how she translates the natural environment of Southwest Virginia’s mountains into her award-winning jewelry and pottery.
Keynote speaker is Sheri Castle, a mountain-born, award-winning cookbook author committed to celebrating Appalachian cuisine. Castle will talk about creativity and artistry in mountain cooking. An entertaining speaker, Castle has won awards for her food writing in such publications as Southern Living, The Local Palate, and Garden and Gun. She recently appeared on PBS’s A Chef’s Life.
This special evening of Appalachian creativity will conclude with a concert by the Church Sisters, twins from Galax, Virginia, who are praised for their “blood harmony” and the freshness and originality of their singing and songwriting. After the concert, guests will have an opportunity to visit with the chef, speakers, artists, and musicians who were part of the evening’s experience. Trolleys will then return guests to the William King parking area.
Tickets for the entire evening’s festivities are $85 per person and are available at www.mtnsofmusic.com or at Heartwood in Abingdon.
The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming is an extraordinary nine-day event celebrating Southwest Virginia’s unique heritage music and culture June 10-18. Over 200 of the region’s finest traditional music artists will perform concerts in over 20 different communities where traditional music has been kept for many generations. “This is nine days when all our traditional music finery is on display,” said Jack Hinshelwood, executive director of The Crooked Road. “People will gather in concert halls, in town squares and on porches to celebrate the rich musical heritage that they share in common.”
What makes the Mountains of Music Homecoming truly special are the more than 100 cultural experiences that organizations, businesses, and individuals are presenting in communities throughout the region that provide a taste of Appalachia’s unique and inviting culture. Whether storytelling, barn dances, blacksmithing, night hikes, canoe floats, banjo making demonstrations, community meals or evening jam sessions, a myriad of remarkable events color each day and provide a host of rich activities for visitors and residents of the region to enjoy.
Concert tickets and a full schedule of Homecoming events are available at www.mtnsofmusic.com.