Constitution Square Festival begins Friday

September 12, 2004|JENNIFER BRUMMETT

The 26th annual Historic Constitution Square Festival will feature many of the popular artists and artisans from years past as well as new offerings in the food booths. The entertainment is just a tad smaller this year, says park manager Brenda Willoughby.

"With the state budget cuts, and city and county cuts, we're still managing to have a great festival," Willoughby notes. "I usually break even, which is good, considering we operate by fees, and city and county funding.

"I've cut back this year on entertainment. It's still a great lineup, and I've focused on the wealth of resources in this area. But I'd like to make a little money this year. ... Visitors will not see a visible difference - we'll continue the way we have every year."

Returning to the main stage this year are Billyblues Saturday night; the Danville Pipe Band, Aprile Hunt and First Baptist Male Chorus Saturday afternoon; the Tumbleweed Line Dancers Friday evening; and Raison D'Etre Sunday afternoon.


Traditional "festival food" offerings such as funnel cakes, barbecued meats and butterfly fries again will be available this year. Deep fried peppers, sweet potatoes and turkey legs have been added to the lineup.

Around 90 artisans and artists will be at this year's Constitution Square Festival, the 13th that Willoughby has organized.

"I've added to and tweaked the festival every year, and it gets easier every year," she says.

Last year's crowds were good for the silver anniversary of the festival.

"Hopefully it will be a dry year this year," Willoughby notes.

Willoughby says Friday morning of the festival continues to be a "big school day." This year, she expects 400-500 kids from local as well as Lexington schools and home-schooled students at Constitution Square.

"The Friday morning entertainment is centered around the schools," Willoughby notes. "There's a magician and Jennifer Rose performs her four-act play, 'Josie, A Mountain Portrait,' which depicts a girl growing up in Appalachia."

Activities going on throughout the weekend include an 18th-century living history encampment; Donald Drewry demonstrating the life and culture of the late 18th century through dress, setting and traditional music on instruments of the period as well as telling traditional folk tales; Larry Wilcher, Carl King and Dwight Gillock demonstrating blacksmithing, blanket-making and beaded jewelry-making; McDowell House Tours; a Wilderness Trace Art League exhibit in Rowhouse No. 2; and carriage rides.

Children's activities include horse rides and pictures; creating wax hand molds; pottery-making demonstrations; sand art; and the "Higher Ground Rock Climbing."

This year's festival is dedicated to the memories of David Birney, George Brand, Joe Clarke and Eben C. Henson.

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