• Sucarnochee Folklife Festival schedule set for April 16

    Posted: March 21, 2011

    Author: Betsy Compton

     LIVINGSTON, Ala.— The Center for the Study of the Black Belt will host its annual Sucarnochee Folklife Festival Saturday, April 16, in downtown Livingston. Now in its eighth year, the Festival is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the unique life ways of the Black Belt region.

    Festival goers will “Engage the Senses” 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.

    The festival, which features activities throughout the day situated around Courthouse Square, begins with the Sucarnochee 5K Run at 8 a.m. Registration begins at 7 a.m. at Dollar General, with all runners receiving a festival T-shirt. Prizes will be awarded in eight age divisions for men and women. Registration is $15, with UWA students entering the race for $10. A fun run will begin immediately following the 5k.

    At 9:30 a.m., entries are due in 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. Judging takes place at 10 a.m. with the winners announced at noon. Registration for each category is $5, with the winners receiving $25, an official festival T-shirt and bragging rights.

    At 10 a.m., art demonstrations begin, and the music stage and vendors’ booths open. Regional artisans will demonstrate folk crafts including Native American basket making, metal casting, instrument making, quilting, woodworking, and Raku pottery.

    “During the Year of Alabama Music, this festival lets us showcase the talents of our community and our region at the same time,” Jones said. Musical entertainment throughout the day includes Mississippi Chris Sharp & the Jangalangs, a bluegrass band; the Greg Cartmell Band, blues; Willie Williams, gospel and soul; Time Zone, a soul and R&B band; Britt Gulley & the Water Moccasins, a rock and country band; and Track 45, playing country, bluegrass, gospel and more.

    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.

    Storyteller Dolores Hydock will take the stage at 1 p.m., with a presentation of “Putting Down New Roots,” a story of how folktales of cleverness, courage, and hard-won life wisdom came to this country through the immigrant families who brought those tales with them from other cultures.

    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.

    For more information about these any of these events, please contact the Center for the Study of the Black Belt at 205-652-3828 or centerforblackbelt@uwa.edu.
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