Monday, May 2, 2011

24th Annual Sam Houston Folk Festival

This weekend, residents and visitors of Huntsville, Texas were invited to attend the 24th Annual Gen. Sam Houston Folk Festival located near the duck pond and Sam Houston Memorial Museum. The festival lasted three days and brought in quite the crowd and showcased an assortment of historical activities, dancing, performances, and vendors.

On Saturday and Sunday, the No Foolin’ String Band performed in costume on the front porch of the Woodland Home. 

Don’t worry if you missed their performance this weekend—this (mostly) Huntsville-based band performs regularly in Huntsville at various festivals and concerts, the Wynne Home, Hastings, and the Stardust Room. Click here to join their Facebook page and learn more about their upcoming performances. This fiddle playing band is definitely worth checking out. They were a great addition to this year’s Sam Houston Folk Festival!

We also spotted local country singer and musician Jarrod Sterret right after he finished an impromptu performance with the No Foolin’ String Band.

There were many people wandering around wearing period piece costumes, and it wasn’t uncommon for some of them to burst out into performance. That is because most of the costumed attendees were a part of the Society for Creative Anachronism – “an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe.” Click here to view the official SCA webpage and here to view their Facebook page.

We watched this group as they enthusiastically recreated a shotgun wedding. It didn’t matter who the poor young pregnant girl married as long as she married someone to save the family name!

Did you know that there are over fifty different types of edible plants, nuts, and berries around just the duck pond? Neither did I—until we went on Mark Suter’s Edible Plants tour. On this tour, Mark took us around the festival grounds and showed us various edible plants, bark that can also be used as a tooth brush, and other survival tips. So, if you are ever looking for a free and healthy alternative to the fast food options around the campus, you might want to consider walking over to the duck pond and feasting on the buffet of edible leafy options. However, be careful—it is also filled with similar looking poisonous plants including a LOT of poison ivy. Mark Suter’s tour was very informative, and it would be best to take one of his classes before eating plants around the duck pond or in your front lawn. Click here for more information about Mark Suter’s classes, including information about his summer camp for children.

Make sure to keep your animals away from this pretty flower. According to Mr. Suter, it is very poisonous when ingested.

The Hearts Museum had a display on military history and their booth was also selling dog tags that they were able to stamp with the purchaser’s name on it. Click here for more information about the Heart’s Museum and find out more about their upcoming Memorial day event.

One of the most impressive sites at the festival was near the Mexican Culture tent, where we watched traditional folk dancing.

Children were allowed to participate in the dancing and were taught traditional moves.

Others around the festival also demonstrated some very impressive dancing.

While walking around, we watched as people gave demonstrations on weaving, panting, soap making, and other historical skills.

Not only were there an assortment of demonstrations and activities, but there was also a number of vendors. A favorite of ours was the lemonade stand with the upside down, eye-catching sign as well as the root beer stand with very tasty root beer and other flavors.

And of course… as always, the area was filled with lots and lots of ducks!

A big thanks to the Museum, the Sam Houston Raven’s Rangers, No Foolin’ String Band, and all of the folk festival demonstrators and vendors for helping to keep the tradition alive as well as educating both adults and children about the history of Texas and Sam Houston.  Don’t miss next year’s Sam Houston Folk Festival. If you are too impatient to wait until next year, then check out the website for the Sam Houston Memorial Museum to find out about upcoming events and also how to support the museum through donations.
 Visit our Facebook page to see more pictures from this event.

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