Thursday, October 9, 2003

Pet a pig, try kettle corn at Blue Ash fest

Bluegrass music, bluegill fishing also on tap at old-fashioned Heritage Day

By Patricia Mahaffey
Enquirer contributor

BLUE ASH - There will be plenty of old-fashioned fun on Saturday when Blue Ash Nature Park is transformed with sights, sounds and activities from the past to celebrate Blue Ash Heritage Day.

Youngsters will have a chance to pet a pig, ride a pony, milk a goat, whitewash a fence, shoot cans with a slingshot, roast marshmallows and ride a hay wagon. The celebration will include all-day entertainment and treats such as apple cider, root beer, corn bread, potato pancakes, barbecue, bean soup and baked goods.

Steve and Abby Cobb will drive from Missouri to pop corn for their recipe for kettle corn - the sweet, salty treat that originated in Germany in the 1800s.

"You can't make it this good at home," said Abby Cobb, "because you can't get the kettle hot enough. And it's the smell that gets people! It smells wonderful."

For some noisy entertainment, chainsaw artist Mike Hopkins will transform logs into eagles, bears and other animals. His creations, which take about an hour using three different size chain saws, will be on sale.

There will be bluegrass music and bluegill fishing, with rods provided. Crafts will be on sale, alongside demonstrations of apple butter making, spinning, weaving and basket making.

The Southern Singers, with members of Choctaw, Shawnee, Lakota, Navajo and Cherokee heritage, will drum, sing and dance. "We hope it touches people's hearts," said group member Holly Brown. "The drumbeat is considered to be the heartbeat of Mother Earth."

The event will feature storytellers, including dulcimer-playing Greg Jowaisas, mountain man Gordon T. Jackson, and Patricia Fann as "the ghost of Harriet Tubman."

Fann, who has traveled as far as London and California to perform, says that after nearly 20 years in the role, she feels a deep spiritual connection to Tubman, the famed Underground Railroad heroine who risked her life repeatedly to free slaves.

"My stories are all about educating, motivating and enlightening," says Fann. "What good does hate do? We need to understand our ourselves and our heritage, and each other. It's about raising our consciousness."

Heritage Day will begin at noon and end at 8 p.m. Information: 745-8550.

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