Simple living festival debuts Saturday at Dan Nicholas Park
By Jessie Burchette
A weekend festival at Dan Nicholas Park will take visitors back to a time when people lived closer to nature ó a time when living was simple.
The Simple Living Festival will showcase old-style crafts and bluegrass music, as well as nature. It will be held Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. at the park on Bringle Ferry Road. There is no charge to attend.
The park has partnered with several groups to create the festival. It will be a mix of Earth Day activities and exhibits, along with heritage crafts from blacksmithing to milking cows.
“Our goal is to help bridge the widening gap between us and the natural world that we are losing in this digital, urbanized age,” said Bob Pendergrass, supervisor of the Nature Center. “Events are designed to take us back to a time when we lived closer to the earth, when milk came from cows and food came from the land and things were made by hand.”
The new festival replaces the park’s old Earth Day event, which drew a limited crowd.
“We had lukewarm attendance to be honest,” Pendergrass said. “We always felt like we were preaching to the choir for those who showed up.”
He said the park “wanted to offer more than Earth Day programming.”
Last fall, park staff talked with some of the crafts exhibitors at the Autumn Leaves Festival about a new festival.
“They got excited about the chance to do old fashioned crafts,” said Pendergrass. “It makes for a good marriage. We’re getting back to the earth … back to a time of simple woodworking and simple crafts.”
Mike Lambert, the park’s naturalist and a musician, is coordinating the event. Lambert’s extra efforts for the park include writing and recording “Ramblin’ Red,” the saga of a wolf escape.
The Simple Living Festival will feature a limited amount of food and crafts for sale. Among the live demonstrations will be goat-milking.
Among heritage crafts to be in the festival are: blacksmithing, woodworking, gunsmithing, knife making, flint knapping, metal sculpture, spinning/weaving, handmade rugs, handmade jewelry, natural soaps, musical instrument luthiers, basket and gourds, seamstress, stained glass, cow and goat milking.
Also on display will be herbs and native plants.
Groups and organizations that will have booths or exhibits will include: Green Seal, Carolina’s Eco-Unit, Davidson County Parks, Davidson County Community College, N.C. Forest Service, Land Trust for Central North Carolina and Carolinas Flute Circle.
The Nature Center and Rowan Wildlife Adventures will offer animal programs, trail walks and opportunities to watch bear feedings.
Participating entertainers include: Jeff Whittington, Martha DeJarnette, Richard Jones, Jim Gobble, Mary Gillespie, Danny and Gail Deal, Michael and Gaynell Lambert and the Carolinas Flute Circle.
Other agencies involved in the event include: Salisbury Parks and Recreation, Davidson County Parks, Catawba College Center for the Environment, LandTrust for Central North Carolina, Davidson County Community College, N.C. Forest Service, Green Seal, Carolina’s Eco-Unit, Carolina Raptor Center and Boy Scouts of America.
For more information on the festival, visit the park web site at www.dannicholas.net.