• Sucarnochee Folklife Festival set for April 21 in Livingston

    Posted: March 23, 2012

    Author: Gena Robbins

    PHOTO: A favorite among festival goers, Alabama Art Casting will demonstrate at the Sucarnochee Folklife Festival on the Livingston Courthouse Square on April 21. photo by Jeff Fetty

    The Center for the Study of the Black Belt will host its annual Sucarnochee Folklife Festival Saturday, April 21, in downtown Livingston. Now in its ninth year, the Festival is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the unique life ways of the Black Belt region.

    Festival attendees are encouraged to “Taste the food- Treasure the earth- Tell the story” at this year’s events through music, food, storytelling, demonstrated art, and more. The day offers family fun for audiences, young and old, while bringing the region’s most treasured arts into the spotlight.

    “The Sucarnochee Folklife Festival hopes to restore memories of rural Black Belt folklore that have faded from many people’s minds,” said Dr. Tina N. Jones, UWA’s Center for the Study of the Black Belt executive director.

    Festival activities begin with the popular Cornbread Cook-off, which features three categories: Best Traditional Cornbread, Best Specialty Cornbread, and Best Original Main Dish Recipe Using Cornbread. Entries, judged on taste, creativity, and appetizing appearance, are due at the Bored Well. The winners will be announced at noon. Registration for each category is $5, with the winners receiving $25, an official festival T-shirt and bragging rights.

    Throughout the day there will be art demonstrations, a live music stage and vendor booths. Regional artisans will demonstrate folk crafts including metal casting, quilting, woodworking, basket making, children’s painting, cheese making, urban chicken coop making, soap making, vermiculture kits, honey/beeswax making, and homemade bread with herbs. The event also honors Earth Day with a special gourd painting class.

    Included in the Festival is a one-mile fun run beginning at the Dollar General Store and ending at the Courthouse Square. The run will compliment the first UWA Muddy Tiger Challenge event sponsored by the Department of Exercise Science and UWA Intramurals.

    “During the Year of Alabama Food, this festival allows us to showcase the culinary talents, as well as the food history, of our community and our region at the same time,” Jones said. “Foods that will be available to enjoy include savory favorites such as kettle corn, homemade ice cream, fish and Philly Steak sandwiches, shaved ice, homemade candies and Red Hots.”

    As an added bonus, the local Farmers’ Market vendors will kick-off their homegrown season of vegetable and fruit specialties at the Festival.

    Festival goers are invited to bring a chair or spread a blanket on the ground while enjoying a variety of musical entertainment throughout the day hosted by Jacky Jack White, and including the House Rockers.

    History enthusiasts will have the opportunity to take hard-hat tours of the former McMillian Bank Building, which is currently under renovation to house the Black Belt Museum. Archaeologists will be on hand for artifact identification as well for those who would like to bring artifacts collected from the region.

    The festival concludes at 7 p.m. with a free walking ghost tour of Livingston led by Dr. Alan Brown, UWA professor and author of numerous ghost lore books. The tour begins at the Bored Well.

    On Friday night before the Festival, the Sucarnochee Revue, the nationally syndicated radio and television program that showcases Black Belt music to listeners across the nation and the world, also returns to UWA with a live taping in Bibb Graves Auditorium at 7 p.m. The show features many of the top acts in blues, gospel, bluegrass, country and roots music from the Black Belt region of Mississippi and Alabama. Tickets are available at the door for $10, and UWA students are admitted free with proper identification.

    This event would not be possible without the volunteer and monetary support of The University of West Alabama, UWA Fine Arts Department, UWA Intramurals, Alabama State Council on the Arts, Black Belt Conservation & Research Institute, Alabama Department of Tourism, City of Livingston, and the Sumter County Commission.

    For registration forms and more information about the Sucarnochee Folklife Festival, please call (205) 652-3828 or visit www.centerforblackbelt.org. UWA Muddy Tiger Challenge registrants should call (205) 652-3693 for event information.
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