Chesapeake Folk Festival - St. Michaels, MD

A History of Folk Music Festivals in the United States: Feasts of Musical Celebration (American Folk Music and Musicians)
July 23, 2011
St. Michaels, MD
Come to St. Michaels and enjoy the food and traditions of the Chesapeake region from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, July 23 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s 4th Annual Chesapeake Folk Festival. This celebration of the Bay’s cultures will feature live music, food and drink, storytelling and films, and many opportunities for conversation.

Visitors can meet regional artists, craftspeople, and those whose lives and work are immersed in Chesapeake’s waterways, marshes, and fields. Family activities will be available throughout the day, including fishing and trotlining, hands-on pottery demonstrations with the museum’s own Marc Barto, workshops with papier-mâché folk artist Mama Girl, skipjack and buyboat rides on the Miles River, and much more.

The Talbot County Watermen’s Association will be serving local, steamed crabs alongside beer on tap. Slices of Smith Island cake, fresh melons and steamed corn from local farmers, and many other regional foods also will be available. Festival visitors will be able to sample, smell, see, and hear how the people of the Chesapeake region have fed their families and produced food for others, in the process shaping unique communities.

“You are what you eat!” commented museum Folklorist Michelle Zacks. “Food can make you feel at home, and food can tell you who you are. Finding, cooking, and eating food feeds your sense of belonging to a place and a group, not just your appetite.” Cooking demonstrations and discussions will include such topics as: “Bait and Bycatch: It’s What’s for Dinner!” and “Eating and Sharing Wild Foods”—from figs and persimmons to muskrat, herring, and eel.

The Bay area’s diverse artistic traditions will also be represented. Live bands throughout the day will include the gospel sounds of the Sensational Royal Lights out of Cambridge, MD and a New River bluegrass show by Hugh and Zane Campbell of Elkton, MD. Country, Latin, and other live music will also be performed throughout the day. Local artists and craftspeople will display and sell their work in the Artisan’s Tent, and stained glass and other demonstrations will be featured.

The Shore Stories stages throughout the festival grounds will highlight many dimensions of the region’s cultural history, such as African American maritime traditions, the Chesapeake’s Latino food producers, and the past and present of Talbot County seafood and agricultural processing. Visitors can interact with participants in the Watermen Heritage Tourism training program while experiencing live demonstrations of traditional Chesapeake skills, including trotlining for crabs, crab pot making, boat building, decoy carving, and more.

A number of short documentary films about living and working on the Bay will be shown throughout the day, including Maryland Public Television’s Eatin’ Crabs and Island out of Time. A viewing of Growing Up on Tilghman will be attended by several of the film’s local stars, and a presentation of clips from Hands of Harvest will be accompanied by filmmaker Adrian Muys and some of the Mexican workers involved in the Shore’s seafood industry.

The event is presented in partnership with Maryland Traditions and is sponsored by Maryland Public Television, What’s Up? Publishing, and Pepsi Bottling Company.

Museum members enjoy free admission to the Chesapeake Folk Festival, with other tickets for the July 23 event at $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $6 for children between the ages of six and 17 and children five years and under free. All Museum exhibits will be open during the event and are included in the admission price. Food and boat rides are an additional cost. For more information about the festival or upcoming events at the museum, visit www.cbmm.org or call 410-745-2916.
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