Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Heartland Dulcimer Festival

Last weekend I took my two grandsons to their first dulcimer festival. G is 14 and E is 10, and I decided they were just the right age. The festival was in Elizabethtown, KY, and the festival is called The Heartland Dulcimer Festival. It was a one-day event that began in the morning and lasted until after the concert in the evening, or whenever we were ready to leave. There were four workshops of various musical instruments with various instructors. There was a special set of workshops for kids between the ages of 9 and 18. I knew most of the instructors and thought it would be a good experience for the boys. And it was.
We left on Friday evening after G’s wrestling practice and drove to E-town. We stayed at a Ramada Inn, ordered pizza, went swimming, and watched The World’s Funniest Videos. Then the boys had a major altercation over E’s DS, and it was time for bed. But we got up early, had breakfast and arrived at the festival.

The festival was in a beautifully renovated old theater called The Historic State Theater. The workshops were held in the green room, backstage, and in the theater’s museum. The boys were given their nametags and schedules, and off they went to their workshops. We met up at lunchtime – which was a lovely lunch of vegetable soup and submarine sandwiches and chips and drinks and cookies. Then the boys went to their afternoon workshops and I went to mine.
After the workshops we had a couple of hours to kill, so we drove to Hodgenville, KY, to the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. It was a beautiful drive through the autumn countryside. When we finally made it to Hodgenville, the park was closed for the day, but there were a couple of museums (also closed) on the town square and we looked in the windows. We also saw two great sculptures of Lincoln and took pictures.

As we left Hodgenville, G said he saw a Sherman tank and asked if we could stop, so we found it and stopped. I think this was the favorite thing they did. They climbed all over the WWII Sherman tank, which was part of a memorial to the soldiers lost from Hodgenville in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

There was another memorable moment as we were driving back to E-town for the concert. We were driving through the KY country roads as the sun was setting, the windows were rolled down, and I was playing Crosby, Stills and Nash’s album “So Far” on the stereo. G asked who was playing and I told him and it was just a really nice moment where I felt like we connected.

We stopped at a Cracker Barrel for dinner, and then went to the concert, where the boys really seemed to enjoy the music. We left before it was over because of the two-hour drive home. It was a memorable weekend for me, and I hope for them, too.

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