Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Cathy Gadd Combines Creative Abilities: Artist and Bluegrass Musician

cathy redoneCreativity runs through Cathy Gadd full steam ahead. Not only is Cathy an excellent artist, but she also plays bass in a musical group with her husband. Her creative side comes to life after working all day for Cambridge City Schools, where often she uses her creativity as well.

cathy sunflowers and barn

This old barn has a fencerow of sunflowers.

   All her talents were present from early childhood. Perhaps it started as doodling on her papers, but soon her teachers discovered this little girl had talent. She took art courses in high school and later in life took lessons from Sue Dodd. But even back in grade school and high school, Cathy was receiving first place ribbons for her artwork.

cathy and her dad

Cathy was playing bluegrass with her dad back in 1968/

   Music also occupied much of those early years. When she was eight, her dad, Richard Frasher, a Bluegrass musician, introduced her to the mandolin. After that, she began playing guitar and today she plays the upright bass. It’s important what we instill in our youngsters.

cathy country road

What a peaceful country road!

   At the age of ten, Cathy went with her parents to the Frontier Ranch Festival, where Loretta Lynn was performing. Eager young Cathy got as close to the stage as she could. When Loretta Lynn began singing “You Aren’t Woman Enough to Take My Man”, Cathy sang along. Loretta reached over the side of the stage and brought that little girl on stage to sing with her. What a memorable moment for an aspiring young singer!

cathy valentine bouquet

This bouquet she painted seems appropriate for Valentine’s Day or any romantic occasion.

   In seventh grade, she won a Country Music Contest in Woodsfield and four years later was singing in the All Ohio Youth Choir, which performed at the Ohio State Fair and around Ohio. The following year she took part in their European tour, a great time for a young girl from Barnesvillle.

   After her children were grown, Cathy again began performing with her dad on stage at various festivals and venues. Their talents were known from the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival to the Ohio River’s edge in Fly.


cathy church for advocacy auction

This painting was donated to an auction at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Guernsey County.

   Today many find out about her skill at painting through their Bluegrass connection. Cathy often donates one of her paintings to raise money at benefits. The orders follow.

cathy flag barn in snow

This flag barn in the snow certainly fits the winter season.

   Most of her pictures are painted with specific requests. Someone will send her a picture of a barn or house that they want to be painted. Within 7-14 hours, Cathy has re-created their favorite picture with her brushes on canvas. Her pictures reflect reality so well.

cathy barn with flag

This painting is on the Wall of Veterans in a home in New Martinsville, WV.

   One of her favorite things to paint is barns with the American flag. She has painted several of these on large 16′ x 24′ canvas. She’s always admired old barns and added the flag after her son served in Korea and Iraq and returned home safely.

cathy and frank

Frank and Cathy have always had that special musical connection.

   Life has been exciting for Cathy and her husband, Frank, as they have had many chances to demonstrate their Bluegrass talent. They formed the Wills Creek Band and for twelve years have performed all over Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

   Several times they have appeared on The Wheeling Jamboree, at the Pennyroyal Opera House, and festivals all over southeastern Ohio. Gospel music is a favorite of theirs and they frequently sing at their home country church, Wesley Community Chapel.

cathy and frank at jamboree

Frank and Cathy played at the Wheeling Jamboree Roadshow.

   An interesting sidenote is the fact that Cathy doesn’t read music. In fact, she says that bluegrass performers like to have ‘jam sessions’, which require that they just go with the flow of the music. Very adaptable!

cathy cd song writer

Cathy also likes to write songs and one of them is on this Stoneycreek CD.

   Cathy also writes her own songs. Often requested is her song, “Table of Memories”, which tells of her mother’s kitchen table, which was rather small, but filled with great family memories. One song she wrote is on a CD by Stoneycreek and is entitled, “Walk Along with Me”. This lady has so much talent.

Table of Memories”

Mom’s in the kitchen fixing dinner

The smell of fried chicken fills the air.

Soon we’ll all be sitting around the table

Making some memories to share.

Years later I look at that little table

And think of the years that have gone by

Someday I’ll get that little table

And keep the memories alive.

cathy and frank at badlands

Vacationing is something they hope to do more in the future. Here they visit the Badlands.

   As she thought about their musical life, Cathy remarked, “We are truly honored and privileged to have picked with some great talents.” Perhaps that’s because Frank and Cathy are great fun to be around as well as being known for their exceptional harmony. They are well known in Bluegrass circles.

cathy painting with cat molly

Her cat, Millie, likes to watch her paint.

   Cathy focuses on her paintings right now and dreams of traveling more when she retires. She has her eye on the New England states. Wherever she goes, this creative lady will find pictures to paint and songs to sing. What a talented artist!

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Canton Palace Theatre Presents Year-round Entertainment

canton theater

Today the Palace Theatre seats nearly 1500 guests.

Visit a theater where movies can be seen as they were in the 1920s. It still exists in downtown Canton, where you’ll find the Palace Theatre, a nostalgic part of Canton’s Downtown Arts District.

tonsiline ad

Sale of the Tonsiline medication provided funds for the million dollar theatre.

   Hard to believe this all began with the financial support of a local entrepreneur who made cough syrup. In 1909, Harry Harper Ink received a patent for Tonsiline, a product to cure tonsilitis, sore throats, colds and coughs. The bottle containing the medication was in unique giraffe shaped bottles. Advertisements for this product said:

If you had a neck as long as this fellow

And a sore throat all the way down,

Tonsiline would quickly relieve it.

tonsiline bottle

An original long-necked Tonsiline bottle with a giraffe pictured.

  When the theater opened on November 22, 1926, two giraffe-shaped plaques were located above the stage arch as reminiscent of this motif to honor Ivy, who gave this gift to the community. Gasoline only cost pennies a gallon then, so people had funds available for a night on the town. Even though there were nine other movie theaters at the time, the million-dollar Canton Palace Theatre was considered the “jewel in the crown”.

jay ac

The original Air Conditioning system is still being used today.

   Designed by Austrian-born architect, John Eberson of Chicago, the Palace sought to re-create a Spanish courtyard on a midsummer night. Its ceiling appears as a starry night with wisps of clouds floating across.

   Today the Palace still has that original cloud machine that projects that dreamlike quality overhead. Ivy suggested long ago that you sit in different places during each visit to view the constellations that appear at various angles.

jay post card

This postcard view highlights the beautiful Canton Palace Theatre.

   Their gigantic silver screen, measuring 21′ x 46′, still remains the largest movie screen in Canton. The orchestra pit has seating for eighteen musicians while downstairs there are eleven dressing rooms, a chorus room, and much more.

    Their first show was a silent movie, “Tin Hats”. Admission was 25 cents and the 1900 seat auditorium was filled. The early shows presented a full evening of entertainment beginning with an organ/orchestra concert, a short silent film, live vaudeville acts, and ending with a full length feature silent film. That’s a great night of entertainment for a quarter!

jay mahogany furniture and tile

An upstairs lounge displays a restored mahogany bench with original tile in the background.

   This was the time of the Charleston craze. Motion pictures featured Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. As time marched on, many famous stars appeared including George Burns and Jean Peters. Big Bands, such as Harry James and Count Basie Orchestra, found it the perfect fantasy setting for a concert.

jay roman statue

Pietro Caproni bronze statues appear throughout the theatre.

   But in the 60s and 70s, downtown Canton had a period of neglect as businesses moved to the suburbs. It’s marquee last sparkled on its 50th Anniversary in 1976. The building was slated for demolition.

jay original balcony seats (2)

The balcony seats are originals and a ghost is frequently seen here.

   Just one week before the wrecking ball was scheduled, the Canton Jaycees acted as a holding agent until citizens could be organized to make the Palace Theatre a place to be enjoyed once again. The Canton Palace Theatre Association was formed and restoration has been going on ever since. Since 1980, over four million dollars have been spent in restoration and updating.

jay palace theater

Historic Canton Palace Theatre presents concerts, movies and live events.

   Today, it’s marquee again burns brightly above Market Avenue and welcomes you to its grand foyer. Over 300 events are held here each year with an attendance of over 100,000 guests. Their great variety includes concerts, stage plays and movies, but you might also find public meetings using it as a perfect place to seat a large crowd.

jay at organ 2

Jay Spencer brings to life the original Kilgen Wonder Organ.

   Silent films are a special feature as they are accompanied by Jay Spencer on the original Kilgen Wonder Organ, which is a showpiece all by itself. The sound vibrates throughout the entire auditorium as it captures the happenings of the silent movies. The next silent movie special will be “The Cameraman” with Buster Keaton on Thursday, April 4.

  Check out their schedule for future events on their website at cantonpalacetheatre.org. Of special interest is their First Friday family-friendly movie night each month. It’s free for the whole family!

   Make plans to attend the Canton Palace Theatre sometime soon to enjoy a great movie, concert or stage performance. Relive old memories and make new ones. Feel the magic!

Canton Palace Theatre is located at 605 Market Avenue N. in Canton, Ohio just a couple blocks west of I-77. 

Possum Products Creates Basic Wooden Toys

Russ with saw

Russell uses a special saw to cut out pieces for his wooden toys.

Toys for kids of all ages can be found at Possum Products in Newcomerstown. Russ Riggle creates quality handmade wooden toys from over seventy different items he has designed.

Russ Basic Wooden Toy

The popular trend today is to return to the basics with his small wooden car.

   Making toys was a hobby for Russ for many years. He’s always had a passion for building things from wood and remembers a very rough wooden car he built at the age of five. By the time he was in fourth grade, he built a wooden Viking ship. Now his toys are more elaborate and much better quality.

Russ working on wheels

The wheels for his toys are all custom made and attached with wooden pegs.

   After working as a mechanical engineer for many years, his job moved overseas about seven years ago. At that time, he started selling some of the toys he made at the Newcomerstown Farmers’ Market. Sitting around isn’t something that Russ enjoys, so he began experimenting with new designs and products. Russ claims that he makes “anything with four wheels or that can fly in the sky”.

Russ building trucks

Assembling the toys is a bit like putting a puzzle together.

   Besides their being quality toys, they are all made right here in Newcomerstown, Ohio with U.S.A. materials. All toys are smoothly sanded but there is no finish applied. They are lead-free, with no metal or plastic parts and the glue is even food grade in case a young child just happens to chew on it.

   Now he travels to festivals and craft shows all over the state and has even expanded his shows to some out-of-state venues. His toys are very popular as people like to buy things that are created with American-made materials and craftsmanship.

Russ Setting Up

Son Adam helps his dad Russ set up the booth at the Paul Bunyan Festival.

   His sons enjoy helping at the festivals and even make a few wooden toys of their own. Adam and Ben frequently appear to help their dad with setting up the booth. Both enjoy talking to the customers as much as Russ does, and Russ says they are both great salesmen as well.

Russ display

Children like to play with the many toys on display at festival times.

   Having seen Possum Products at the Paul Bunyan Show, Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, and Algonquin Mill Fall Festival, it became evident that their products were something that people from birth to ninety years old enjoy. Boys and girls walk up to their booth and roll the toys along the table, often reorganizing it. It’s a great tool for developing their imagination.

Russ Log truck

This wooden log truck complete with pine logs is his most popular toy.

   One little girl found a snowplow on the table, picked it up and walked outside. There she decided to move some gravel around with the snowplow. She put that toy to work.

   Their display includes a large selection of small wooden animals, which the children pick up and name. One youngster was naming the animals and came to one they called “Cloud”, which was really a sheep. Another cute name the children came up with was “Fast Food” for a pig on wheels.

Russ semi with race car

Get two wooden toys together with this semi carrying a race car.

   Since Russ works out of his basement at home, purchases must be made from the website and festivals he visits. They are busy with shows, and just recently had done eight shows in three weekends. Now you see why it’s important to have his sons involved.

    A rather popular way of using the wooden items is to laser etch the customer’s logo onto the sides. Then they can hand out the wooden truck or tractor with a long-term advertisement. While he doesn’t do custom work, he does get many ideas from his customers for future toys.

Russ helicopter 2

This made a great gift for a helicopter pilot.

   This is Russ’ only job right now and he spends many long hours doing something that he thoroughly enjoys. Making trains, planes, trucks, and tractors takes time and patience as he uses his own designs and even custom-makes his wheels. His prices are very reasonable ranging from $2 for small animals to $72 for a train.

Russ Salt Fork tent

Possum Products displayed at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival.

   Visit Russ on his website www.possumproductsllc.com or see his toys in person at a festival or consignment shop near you. In the coming year, Possum Products will be going to Algonquin Mill Fall Festival, Pike Elementary, Roscoe Village and the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival.

   For the guys at Possum Products, the best thing about making toys is the look on a child’s face when they pick up the toys. Russ takes pride in the wooden toys he makes. When he isn’t making toys, he’s playing with them!

Always a Christmas Tree for Bonnie

Bonnie Entrance

The entrance to Bonnie’s home gives a warm Christmas welcome.

Christmas trees appear in every room of the home of Bonnie Perkins, whose love for trees began back in childhood. Even though her mother wasn’t into decorating much for Christmas, there was always a tree at her grandmother’s house.

  Bonnie remembers a tree there that was so special it’s still stuck in her mind. Her grandmother decorated the tree with their gifts – handkerchiefs with Disney characters on them. Under the tree were bright oranges, a special treat.

Bonnie Living Room Tree

Bonnie tells about this tree, “The tree in the picture is my most special tree, closest to my heart. It has several decorations my kids made as children, some handmade ornaments from a friend, beautifully beaded balls from my late sister, and lots of memories of my husband when we would choose and buy a few new ornaments at Christmastime. Now in late years, I have things on it from my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It always has a special spot in my bedroom. I see it the last thing at night and first thing in the morning!!!”

   Once she married Floyd Perkins, they always had a cut tree for Christmas. Now since she has so many trees, they are of the artificial kind.

   Her pet project for the past 15 years has been Wonderland of Trees, her favorite undertaking of everything she has ever done. This charity display and auction attracts area artists with a flair for creativity as they produce trees and holiday decorations that inspire.

Bonnie Awards

Bonnie displays her many awards for Wonderland of Trees. The glass trees in her hands are awards for Best of Show and People’s Choice.

   Not only does Bonnie help with the display of the Christmas paradise in the lobby of Southeastern Medical Center, but she also frequently is awarded several prizes. In past years, she has won People’s Choice and Best of Show Awards several times.

Bonnie Packed Branches

The branches of her trees have so many ornaments you can scarcely see the pine.

   Usually, she gets an idea “sometime during the end of the year and the first of October.” When someone wins awards year after year, you know they have a magical touch. Once the tree is decorated, spotting the pine beneath can be difficult. Any place the pine peeks through, Bonnie places a flower. Now the entire tree blooms in the color of her choice.

Bonnie Bathroom Tree

She calls this her Grinch Tree, which still makes a beautiful reflection.

   Her home is a showcase of holiday spirit. Many years it has been part of the Christmas Tour of Homes with people clamoring to get a look inside this beautiful house. It usually takes her a couple of weeks to decorate, and even though Bonnie is 83 years old, she climbs the ladder with ease

Bonnie Jewelry Tree

One tree people always remember at Bonnie’s is her Jewelry Tree.

   A favorite tree of visitors can be seen in one of her spare bedrooms. One year Bonnie had a bowl of costume jewelry that she wasn’t quite sure how to use. She also had many strands of pearls as that was a time of her life when she wore pearls frequently. It crossed her mind to give them to Goodwill.

   Then one evening she was resting in bed when an idea came to her. She would use the jewelry on a Christmas tree. That year the Jewelry Tree won all three awards at the Festival of Trees. People’s Choice, Best of Show, and Most Creative. But then it was sold at auction.

   Early the next day, Bonnie’s son and daughter arrived at her home with their families. They were carrying the Jewelry Tree as they had purchased it for their mother. This tree is special today for more reasons than awards.

Bonnie Big Tree

The largest tree in her house stands by the window in the living room.

   Her living room contains the largest tree which nearly reaches the 24′ ceiling. Also here is a beautiful fireplace built from two boxcar loads of copper ore sent from Colorado. An ornate chandelier from Spain adds a special touch to this room as well.

Bonnie Fireplace

Copper ore for this fireplace came from Colorado.

   No matter how beautiful everything appears, it’s a house to be lived in and enjoyed. Grandchildren enjoy games of hide and seek behind the furniture, and toys can often be found scattered around the rooms.

Bonnie Family Portrait

This family portrait hangs in her hallway as family is most important to Bonnie.

   Having started life in a poor beginning has made Bonnie appreciate her good fortune, but she assures that it came from hard work. Floyd and Bonnie stayed busy all through their life.

Bonnie Welcome Center

Not all Bonnie’s trees are at home. Every year she decorates a tree for the Guernsey County Visitors and Convention Center. She still climbs ladders!

   Even though Christmas trees are her passion, she also enjoys flower gardening, her fish ponds, grandchildren, and helping others. Something she looks forward to once a month is going with garden club members to make crafts with residents of Cardinal House.

Bonnie Pond

Bonnie's Garden

Here’s just a sampling of her beautiful flower beds.

   The most exciting thing she ever did in her life was to take a cruise around the world with her late husband, Floyd. For 101 days, Bonnie said she lived a life of nothing but luxury while seeing places like the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and Pyramids of Egypt.

Bonnie Showing Horses

Bonnie shared this photo of her prizewinning Tennessee Walker, which she rode in competition.

   Even though Bonnie has enjoyed homes in Florida, thoroughbred Tennessee Walking horses, antique cars and lovely surroundings, no one’s life is ever all perfection.

Bonnie's 2018 tree

Bonnie’s 2018 Christmas Tree at the Guernsey County Visitors Bureau.

   This gracious lady always makes people feel special wherever they happen to meet her. Her advice for an enjoyable life would be, “Look for the good things in life. Find something happy about every day.”

Coopermill Bronze Works Prepares Alan Cottrill Sculptures

Coopermill Hoppy and Alan

Alan Cottrill designed the bronze Hopalong Cassidy statue that stands at the Senior Center in Cambridge.

Seeing is believing. A trip to Coopermill Bronze Works explained more clearly how one of Alan Cottrill’s bronze statues becomes a reality. It’s not an easy task!

DSC01903

Adam’s lifelong friend, Charles Leasure, is his partner at the Coopermill Bronze Works.

    The Bronze Works is located on the farm of Charles Leasure, a life-long friend of Alan, and there’s even a statue in Charlie’s field…a mushroom hunter, in bronze of course. This farm has been in his family for eight generations.

Bronze Mushroom Hunter   Charlie and Alan created Bronze Works back in 1996. Alan needed a handy place to complete his bronze creations so made his own bronze casting foundry. So far they have cast well over 500 of Alan’s statues and hundreds of other sculptor’s works.

Coopermill Bronze Works 2

Coopermill Bronze Works can be found high on a hill along a country road in Zanesville.

   You can tell Alan is a down-to-earth kind of guy in spite of his fantastic talent to sculpt just about anything. His Bronze Works is not a big, fancy building, but one that can do the job required.

   While Alan does the preliminary work of designing the perfect wax statue in the downtown Zanesville studio, the final touches are placed here at Bronze Works by highly skilled Ohio artisans.

Coopermill Gear Shift Knobs

These gear shift knobs were made as gifts for Vietnam veterans.

   You have to understand that the statue is not bronzed as a whole. It is separated into many, many pieces, which are individually prepared before the final assembly happens.

   The whole thing is quite complicated so if my explanation isn’t quite perfect, please excuse me.

Coopermill Josh Leasure details

Josh Leasure uses his magical tools to make certain every detail is perfect.

   Bronze Works is where every fingerprint is erased and every line made crystal clear. Each detail makes a difference in the final product. Some parts are definitely easier than others. The men found it much easier to do a five-foot pant leg rather than a five-inch head.

Coopermill Dana Erichson

Dana Erichsen holds the base for the beginning of a crane family of eight for the Cranes.

   It has to be perfect in its wax state, otherwise, when it is made into a mold, the bronze statue would carry any flaws, no matter how small. When asked how they correct tiny mistakes, Dana answered with a big smile, “I fix it with magic. My magic wand does the work.”

Coopermill Batter Dip

Each waxed part is dipped several times into a ceramic slurry.

   All those smaller pieces are then dipped in what looks like a batter and rolled in fine sand. The workers commented that it was somewhat like dipping a fish in batter and then rolling it in flour.

   They do this dipping several times until dip by dip, a thick ceramic mold is formed all around the wax piece. When this dries, they melt the wax inside and remove it, leaving an empty shell to fill with, you guessed it, bronze. The wax though can be used again and again.

Coopermill Bronze

Bronze ingots are melted at temperatures of 1900-2000 degrees F.

   They receive the bronze in large sticks, which are then melted and poured into the shell. The bronze should then fit down into the perfect lines that were earlier created on the wax figure.

Coopermill Woody Hayes parts

All the parts of the Woody Hayes statue hang waiting for the next steps.

   My purpose in going this particular day was to see the progress that was being made on the statue of Woody Hayes, Ohio State University football coach for many years. The Newcomerstown Historical Society has funded this project since Woody grew up in Newcomerstown while his dad was Superintendent of Schools there. Woody also coached in Mingo Junction and New Philadelphia before going to OSU.

Coopermill Woody Hayes Head

The wax head of Woody Hayes is ready to be detailed.

   During this visit, the head of Woody Hayes was hanging in the room, ready to be examined for any tiny imperfections. Then it would be dipped in the solution to make the mold on the outside.

Coopermill Swan and Wax removed

After the bronze has set, the ceramic mold is knocked off to reveal the perfect creation.

   After the mold is filled with bronze, it sets for a while before the cast is knocked off to reveal the actual piece that will be used in the statue. This is the end of a very long process. But now there will be a head, pieces of arms, legs, and body – all will be in bronze.

Coopermill Bronze Pieces to be Welded

All of these bronzed parts will be assembled into the donkey seen below.

   Now comes the assembly. It’s like putting a big puzzle together! Each piece is carefully attached to the place where it belongs with bronze welding rods. The weld has to be sandblasted so the connection is no longer visible.

Coopermill Bronze donkey 2

This bronze donkey was having its recently attached parts smoothed.

   Even then, it’s not finished as there has to be a solution applied to the bronze to make it the correct shade required for that particular statue. Now you can see why it takes months to create a bronze statue from beginning to end.

Bronze Woody Hayes

New bronze status of Woody Hayes at Newcomerstown’s Olde Main Street Museum with Vane Scott, museum director.

   Alan Cottrill has designed statues all over the United States and the world. We’re lucky to have one in Cambridge of Hopalong Cassidy, and now one in Newcomerstown of Woody Hayes.

   Watching the artisans at Coopermill Bronze Works felt quite magical.

Pennyroyal Opera House in Fairview – Bluegrass at its Best

The place where Bluegrass happens!

Opera House

The Pennyroyal Opera House is along Old National Road in Fairview.

Along Old National Road in the town of Fairview, Pennyroyal Opera House provides a family-friendly evening of entertaining bluegrass music over the years from October through May. Their season is about to begin!

Country Gentleman Band

Country Gentlemen Tribute Band – October 5

   Their first show on October 5 features The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band with an awesome bluegrass sound.

Kevin Prater Band

Kevin Prater Band – October 12

Remington Ryde 1

Remington Ryde – October 19

   Following weeks will feature such greats as The Kevin Prater Band with strong vocal harmonies and a crowd-pleaser Remington Ryde.

Pennyroyal Opera House painting

Cathy Gadd, a long-time organizer, painted this picture of Pennyroyal Opera House.

   The historic building originally was home to the Methodist Church in the 1830s, then used as a Grange Hall. In 1910, it was purchased by the Pennyroyal Reunion Association. Since 1995, Pennyroyal Opera House is the place where Bluegrass happens.

Pennyroyal Distillery Postcard

This old postcard shows the Pennyroyal Distillery where medicinal oils were made.

   The name Pennyroyal came about from a Pennyroyal Distillery that was located in Fairview in the early 1800s. There seemed to be an abundance in the Fairview area of the wild herb, pennyroyal, a member of the mint family. Pennyroyal herb oil was valued for its medicinal purposes.

Betty and Harold

Betty Eddy planted the seed for bluegrass at Fairview with Harold Dailey.

   A chance encounter at 1st National Bank in Barnesville changed events in Fairview. Harold Dailey began working at the hospital there and one day, Betty Eddy, an employee of the bank, asked Harold if he had an idea for making some money for the Pennyroyal Reunion Association.

Stage

The stage is ready for the season to begin.

   Since Harold played and enjoyed bluegrass, he suggested having a bluegrass show. In 1995, Harold, with some local help, organized the first bluegrass show at the Pennyroyal Opera House. In the beginning, their plan was to feature local bluegrass groups so they could have a place to showcase their talents.

Opera House crowd

Each concert draws a full house of people who love bluegrass.

   From that humble beginning, the show blossomed into a nationally known place to hear and perform bluegrass. Today there is never a problem getting excellent bluegrass bands from all over the United States and Canada to stop by for an evening. They’ve even had bands call from England to request a time for performance.

Harold and Kenny by the stage

Harold and Kenny Keylor reminisce about bands that have played on that stage.

   While Harold started the show, Frank and Cathy Gadd have held the reins for many years recently. Since Harold’s retirement, he asked if he might become active again in organizing the bluegrass programs.

Almost Famous (2)

Harold plays electric acoustic bass in the bluegrass band, Almost Famous.

   Harold says, “I’m glad to be back as I love bluegrass, play bluegrass and love to promote it.” Harold plays electric acoustic bass in a bluegrass band, Almost Famous.

   Many from the Pennyroyal Reunion Association still help by providing the delicious home cooked food in the kitchen. Betty Eddy serves as treasurer and still bakes pies with favorites being custard, rhubarb, and peanut butter.

Lonesome River Band poster

The poster from the first professional band that played there still hangs backstage.

   This isn’t a large building or a large show, but it’s big on talent on Friday evenings. Since they’re right along Interstate 70, many big-name stars will stop for a pick-up-date on their way to their Saturday performance. It’s a great chance to meet some of your favorite bluegrass stars up close and personal.

photos on wall

Spend time before the show checking out the pictures on the walls.

   There are pictures on the wall of some of those popular names who have played there in the past. The first professional band that played there was The Lonesome River Band. Other pictures include such greats as Bobby Osborne, The Grascals, IIIrd Tyme Out, Rhonda Vincent and Dave Evans.

   For those nights when you want to listen to some top-notch bluegrass and can’t make it out to the show, sit back and listen on the radio. Their shows are carried live at 101.1 FM in Wheeling and 101.9 FM in Cambridge.

   If you want to check out their full 2018 schedule, go to www.pennyroyalbluegrass.com. For booking information call Harold Dailey at 740-827-0957.

Inside with seats already reserved

People have already placed their blankets on seats to save them for the next show. It’s a tradition!

   Come early some Friday evening for some delicious food, then go upstairs and listen to some quality classic bluegrass, which puts soul into music.

Pennyroyal Opera House in Fairview can easily be reached off I-70 between Old Washington and St. Clairsville. Take exit 198 and this popular Bluegrass Music house can be found on the north side of the road very near the exit.

Get Ready to Rope

Bev Hachita 001A short true adventure

Cowboys began roping as part of ranch work to brand or medicate their calves. It became a contest to see which cowboy could do it the quickest. Their goal was to throw a lasso around a calf’s head, jump off their horse, tie three of the calf’s legs together, and finish the trick as fast as possible. This led to roping contests at rodeos and fairs.

   Recently, a new type of roping sprang up. My first experience with this happened in a small town of about thirty people called Hachita, New Mexico. The only disturbance in this small town might be a dust devil coming down the street or a Border Patrol helicopter flying overhead.

   One week in 1996, they decided to try this new kind of roping…a chicken roping. Yes, chickens, with feathers flying and beaks crowing. One roper told those watching, “If it has legs, it can be roped.”

   Bev Chicken Roping 001   Now this kind of roping would not be done from a horse and would require a different kind of lasso. Just a heavy piece of string is used, so they don’t choke the chicken.

   Just like in the world of cattle, the chickens they roped all had names. The meaner the animal, the meaner its name. Names like Jalapeno Joe, Cholulu Chuy or Red Hot Flame were typical.

   A large crowd of over fifty people gathered to witness the chicken roping. The chicken would be let out of a box and the cowboy would be timed to see how fast he could rope it. The one who roped it the fastest won a Chicken Roping Belt Buckle with a turquoise stone found in the Little Hatchet Mountains nearby.

   Small towns often have fun in unusual ways. A mural of the Chicken Roping was painted by a traveling artist on the outside of the bar there. Inside on the wall were pictures of the winners. It soon became an annual event with even larger crowds.

   And afterward? What else, but a good old-fashioned chicken BBQ.

Hachita Liquor Saloon was no longer in operation on my last trip west. The paintings on the building were done by an old friend, C.M. Scott, a cowboy artist.

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