Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Laura Bates – A Lifetime of Community Involvement

Behind every success is effort.

Behind every effort is passion.

Behind every passion is someone with the courage to try.

Laura Salt Fork picture

Laura was a member of the Salt Fork Festival board and treasures this painting of her old family church in Noble County painted by a festival artist, Jim Secrest.

   Courage to promote local attractions is something Laura Bates still has a passion for after many years of community involvement. There’s no way to describe all her contributions in one short article, but here are a few highlights.

Laura and brothers

Brothers Eugene and Robert Williams sat with Laura on their farmhouse steps.

   Although Laura isn’t likely to tell her age, she will say that she was born on the day they repealed prohibition. Laura Williams grew up in the New Concord area and graduated from New Concord High School.

Laura and Andy 50th 001

Andy and Laura celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2012.

   While in high school, Laura worked part-time at Ohio Valley Dairy, where she met her husband, Andy Bates. Although she went to Columbus and worked for a couple years, it didn’t take her long to return to New Concord, get married and raise a family of three sons.

   While raising her family, Laura worked part-time at WILE writing continuity, scripts for advertising, and was the first woman to have a weekly community show from New Concord, Byesville and Caldwell.

   One interesting project at the radio station involved Betty Crocker coupons, which gave great rewards. The station collected 700,000 coupons with which they were given a dialysis machine. It was donated to Riverside Hospital in Columbus, their first dialysis machine ever, in memory of Betty Lou Showman, a Bloomfield lady who had needed a kidney transplant.

Laura Tomahawk

Laura helped with the Bicentennial of Guernsey County when Boyd Glass created a commemorative tomahawk.

   For nearly ten years, Laura worked with the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. She served on their board, wrote publicity for the festival and was in charge of the Performing Arts. She served as president of the board at a time when there were 225 exhibitors.

  Church has always been an important part of her life. Bloomfield United Presbyterian Church considers itself fortunate to have Laura as an active member there. As a cancer survivor, Laura feels she is indeed blessed, “There are no crumbs at God’s table. He uses everything.” She feels God has a use for each of us.

Laura Daffodil Luncheon model 001

Modeling at the Daffodil Luncheon was pure enjoyment for Laura.

   Working with local Channel 2 TV, Laura was host of a popular “Two About Town” show – every day for fifteen years. Here she talked to many local organizations about their promotions and activities. She was a natural as everyone knows that Laura enjoys talking, but more importantly, she’s a great listener.

Laura on stage

Laura organized the Hopalong Cassidy Festival and usually emceed the event.

   The most recent avenue for involvement has been with Hopalong Cassidy. Laura worked at the local radio/television station and was conducting an interview with a lady, who remarked, “I can’t believe your town hasn’t done something special with your Hopalong Cassidy heritage.”

Laura tries on Hoppy's boots 001

Visiting Boyd’s home in California, Laura tried on Hoppy’s boots.

   Bill Boyd, later known as Hopalong Cassidy, was born in 1895 at Hendrysburg and later moved to Cambridge, where he attended Park School and Second United Presbyterian Church. His dream even then was to be a cowboy in the movies. Before long, Bill left for Hollywood, and the rest is history.

   After the interview, Laura thought about this, and realized there were many people still interested in Hopalong Cassidy. That’s when she came up with the idea for a Hopalong Cassidy Festival, which was held each May for 47 years.

Laura and Grace 001

Laura and Grace Boyd, Hoppy’s wife, became good friends.

   Not only did Laura direct the Festival, but she began her own collection of Hopalong Cassidy memorabilia and had the recent Hopalong Cassidy Museum in Cambridge. Grace Boyd, Hoppy’s wife, became one of Laura’s closest friends.

Laura and Don McLean 001

Dan McLean, singer-songwriter, wrote the introduction to “Hopalong Cassidy an American Legend”. Laura attended one of his concerts to give him a Hoppy watch.

   In 1984, Laura was named the Jeffersonian Person of the Year and later given the Sidlo Award by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. These were given because of her excellence in vision, leadership and legacy to promote the community.

Hoppy with Laura and Alan

This Hopalong Cassidy statue was dedicated at the Senior Center with Laura and Alan Cottrill, sculptor, present.

   When the festival came to an end, Laura still wanted Hopalong to be remembered in the area, so she began a drive to raise funds for a bronze statue of Hopalong Cassidy to be created by Alan Cottrill, an international sculptor. Today that statue can be found at our Senior Center.

   No wonder Hopalong Cassidy’s faithful buckaroos say, “Laura is the best friend Hoppy ever had.” Hoppy fans all over the world know this lady and keep a strong connection by visits, cards and gifts.

   Traveling is something she has enjoyed throughout her life with trips to Scotland, England, Ireland, Mexico and nearly all the states. Andy and Laura even renewed their wedding vows on a cruise in the Caribbean. A short trip she’d still like to take is one to see the Ark Encounter in Kentucky.

Laura Hopalong Cassidy Book

Laura treasures this Hopalong Cassidy book with its unique cover. Someday she plans to finish her own book about the cowboy legend, Hopalong Cassidy.

   Laura mentioned a couple of other things she’d like to do. Jokingly, she says she’d like to have her house cleaned up, but she has so many other things to do that are more enjoyable. Most important, she has started a book about Hopalong Cassidy and his local connection and plans to spend more time getting it organized.

Laura Family

Family is most important to Laura with three sons, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

   Most important of all is Family. Her feelings for her family were expressed by saying, “My family moments are more important to me than anything I have ever done. Our 50th wedding anniversary when everyone was here was a very special day.”

   While Laura lives life to the fullest and continues to promote her community, now we’ll have to keep on the lookout for Laura’s book about Hoppy. In the meantime, have a Hoppy Day!

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Today’s Fairview – Yesterday’s Pennyroyaldom

Kenny Keylor

The late Keny Keylor shared stories of Fairview and Pennyroyal Reunions.

Those who have lived in Fairview for a long time, have great memories to share that perhaps some have forgotten. Kenny Keylor had been around for 91 years. He shared some stories and pictures with me during a recent visit.

Fairview Bradshaw Tavern

Bradshaw Tavern and Inn along the old Zane’s Trace had famous visitors such as Henry Clay.

   A group from Maryland led by Ralph Cowgill and Hugh Gilliland stayed at the Bradshaw Inn as they walked the old Wheeling Road. When they stopped along the way some climbed a hill and are said to comment, “My, what a fair view.” The name stuck!

Fairview Main Street - small

This is a view of Fairview’s Main Street back in the 1800s.

   The town was laid out by Hugh Gilliland in 1814 on the border of Guernsey and Belmont counties. He platted thirty lots, each one-fourth of an acre and fronting on each side of the Wheeling Road. By 1866, 555 people lived there – it’s highest population.

DSC02524

A painting of the pennyroyal pant hangs in the Opera House today.

   A big attraction back in 1806 were the fields of pennyroyal that grew wild in the area. The herb received its name because it was a favorite of the English royalty who treated headaches, cold, arthritis and dizziness with this oil. Thus, the name Pennyroyaldom for the area.

Pennyroyal Distillery Postcard

Pennyroyal Distillery, where they made the “cure-all oil”, was captured on this old postcard.

   Benjamin Borton had learned how to distill the pennyroyal oil while living in New Jersey. His sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons continued in the business selling this “cure-all” oil after the family moved to Fairview.

Fairview looking west on National Road - UP Church in foreground

United Presbyterian Church sat along the old National Road looking west.

   This oil, along with tobacco, both “cash crops”, were shipped by freight wagons on the Old National Road to the eastern markets. Fairview produced more Pennyroyal Oil than any other place in the nation. Its medicinal purposes were still being sold in the 1980s until the government labeled it a possible carcinogen.

Fairview Home of Dr. Arnold

The home of Dr. H.J. Arnold in 1915 still stands today.

   Since the town was growing, Fairview became filled with many needed businesses: general stores, grist mill, millinery store, two hotels, and three cigar factories. Over twenty different occupations found a place in town to hang their shingle: dentist, doctor, undertaker, barber, and blacksmith to name a few. As you can tell, this was a thriving little community.

Fairview Costume House by O.G. Boyd

O.G. Boyd had this costume house in town and organized their Pennyroyal parade.

   A medical school existed in Fairview taught by Dr. T. McPherson. If someone wanted to become a doctor, he had to serve three years in the school and then one year in Columbus. They even had two local grave robbers who supplied cadavers to the school.

   To maintain their heritage, every August from 1880 until 2014, residents of Fairview and descendants of Fairview residents gathered for the Pennyroyal Reunion to enjoy music, food and a chance to share stories of Fairview.

thumbnail_Pennyroyal Reunion 1946

A large crowd attended the Pennyroyal Reunion in 1945.

   The first reunion was held in 1880 in Gardenia Grove just west of Fairview with 4500 people present. Organized by David Taylor, editor of the Guernsey Times, Sarchet’s History of Guernsey County states that Taylor was “the presiding genius and program maker of the Pennyroyal Reunion.” He gave the organization state-wide recognition as the greatest of all harvest-home picnics.

Fairview Pennyroyal Parade 2

People lined Fairview’s Main Street to watch the annual parade.

   The Governor of Ohio spoke at the Pennyroyal Reunion. He stayed in Barnesville and a horse and buggy brought him to Fairview, where he gave a speech in the afternoon. Five officials, who later became Presidents of the United States, also joined in the celebrations.

Fairview Pennyroyal Royalty

Pennyroyal Royalty highlighted festivities at the reunion.

   Kenny Keylor has been a big supporter of his community and the reunion for all his life. He played his guitar as part of the entertainment. His collection of Pennyroyal Reunion programs has only five years missing.

   In earlier years, entertainment took many forms. Minstrel shows were very popular and one year a three-act play was performed. Most recently their entertainment has been bluegrass music. But every year a chorus performed their Pennyroyal Song, Down in Ohio, with lyrics and music written by John H. Sarchet, who directed the chorus for many years.

Opera House

The building for today’s Pennyroyal Opera House has been around for over 150 years.

   Since those early days of Pennyroyaldom, today Fairview survives as a small town with a population of between 80 and 85. But their heritage is never forgotten as seen in these words from the first Pennyroyal Reunion program in 1880:

As each returning year revolves in time,

May all true sons of childhood’s happy home

Return from distant places, where they roam,

And keep a day in stories and in rhyme.”

~Robert B BuchananFairview sign

Fairview is located along I-70 today between Wheeling, WV and Cambridge, OH. Take exit 198 to the north of the interstate and turn left into the small town of Fairview. You might want to visit sometime when the Pennyroyal Opera House has some great bluegrass music.

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!

Creative Endeavors Inspired Phoenix Rising Venture

 

Rugs- Carol and Rugs

She makes rugs in many patterns and sizes. They last a long time!

Phoenix Rising gives new life to materials that have exhausted their original use. Carol Bridwell, from the New Concord area, thinks of ways for them to be reborn into unique and colorful pieces to accent your home or place of business.

   She participates in many local festivals including Art on the Square in Caldwell, Raven’s Glen Winery Red, Wine and Blue Fest, Y-Bridge Arts Festival, and Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. But Carol didn’t begin displaying her work until after she retired.

Rugs - Star Barn

Creativity runs in the family. Her great-grandfather created barns in Noble County and used a star as his signature mark. Carol displays a part of one of those old barns.

   This lovely lady first worked at AK Steel Mill in Zanesville. She started as an hourly employee and worked up to a manager. By retirement, she had managed every operating area. Her energy knows no bounds. Even though she enjoyed crocheting at the age of six, it wasn’t until after retirement that she began to get serious about her creative side.

Rugs - First Loom

Her first loom has been strung with cotton warp to begin a new rug with a beautiful pattern.

   Her interest in weaving all started over thirty years ago when Carol bought her first loom. She knew this was something she would enjoy as she always enjoyed fabric – the threads and patterns. Guess she was a natural for weaving. But one of those early rugs sat unfinished in the loom for five years.

   When asked about the name for this new business, Carol explained, “The Phoenix has always been a strong image of rebirth to me, so I chose the name Phoenix Rising to indicate that this venture was a new direction, and would continue to develop and grow.” Sounds like a great choice.

Rugs - Warp

Spools of cotton warp on the wall provide a pleasant and relaxing decor for her weaving room.

  Hand-woven rugs are her specialty, and some are quite large. She enjoys mixing fabrics and colors to achieve a very special look and feel. Her rugs are very popular as they are washable and seem to last forever. Some people have had one of her rugs for twenty years. They are something you can use and enjoy every day.

Rugs - Room Addition

This is her own special room for weaving, crafts, and her collection of pottery and glass.

   A special room was added to their house just for her looms and creative supplies. And she has filled it quite well. Over a thousand spools of cotton warp can be found in a lovely pattern on the wall. The only reason she knows that figure is because her grandson counted them.

Rugs - Tests colors

Carol tests the color of the fabric and warp to see how well they combine.

   When she sees a piece of art, her mind begins thinking about how she can create a rug out of that pattern. She uses the cotton warp and cotton salvage fabric in these designs. Reusing worn out items also appears to be a pattern that Carol follows. She buys the salvage fabric 150 lbs at a time with no idea as to what colors or patterns will be in that package.

Rugs - Adding fabric

After the threading is complete, cotton fabric is added to create a beautiful pattern.

   It takes about twelve hours to make a rug. Her grandson remarked, “People have no idea how complicated it is to make a rug.” And he is definitely correct. Each strand has to be threaded on the loom and tied individually. Plus, they must be done in the correct order and number of strands so the pattern emerges. It’s amazing!

Rugs - Sign Display at Festival

These are just a sample of the signs displayed at Salt Fork Festival.

   While rug-making is at the top of her list, Carol dabbles in many other creative endeavors. She might use concrete, beams from an old barn, or boards from an old corral. The possibilities from her mind seem to be endless. Did I forget to mention that Carol also helps her son on their hog farm? This lady never stops.

Rugs - Pallet Cow

This cow, made of wooden pallets, was displayed in her Phoenix Rising booth.

   Wood from pallets can be used to make boxes and signs, then designs are added for different occasions. Recently, she has been trying some wood burning. Animal silhouettes are another use of the pallet wood. Many of these are based on real animals. Her dog, Clyde, and their grandson’s goat, Gilbert, are just a couple examples of those special family pets used for models.

Rugs- Model Clyde

Her friendly dog, Clyde, served as a model for some of her wooden silhouettes.

   Her daughter, Alicia, helps with the painting of the signs, and both her daughters help her with her displays. But the creative part is mainly done by Carol.

   Someday she would like to fulfill another dream – cheese making. She grew up with grandparents who loved cheese. But Carol doesn’t just want to make any cheese, she hopes to make sheep cheese and already has the place planned for this project. She prefers sheep cheese because it has higher butterfat and mild taste. After all, it’s the most prolific cheese in the world.

Rugs- Dog Signs

An assortment of signs about dogs is displayed on a table in her special room.

   As you can probably imagine, she doesn’t give much time to sleeping – usually about four hours a night. She works in the shop in the afternoon and does her weaving in the evening. In case she gets an idea during the night, she keeps a sketch pad beside her bed.


Rugs - at Festival

Carol spent time working on a rug at last year’s Salt Fork Festival.

   You’ll want to stop by the booth of Phoenix Rising at the Salt Fork Festival in 2018 for their 50th Anniversary. Carol has attended the festival for many years and enjoys the great variety of vendors that appear each year. Her booth provides a colorful and interesting addition. You might even be lucky enough to watch her working on a rug.

You can contact Carol Bridwell at 740-319-1673 or csbridwell@roadrunner.com if you have any questions about her creative work.

A Whole Lot of Poppin’ Goin On at Wyandot Popcorn Museum

The better way to snack!

Wyandot Overview

The museum carries a circus theme under a red, white and blue canopy.

Popcorn and circus tents seem to go hand in hand so it’s no surprise that the inside of the Wyandot Popcorn Museum in Marion resembles a large circus tent. Under the tent, you’ll discover the largest collection of restored popcorn antiques in one place. This is one of only two popcorn museums in the world with working machines, the other one also being in Ohio at Holland.

Wyandot Factory

Wyandot Snacks now occupies the old popcorn factory.

   This collection began as part of a research project on the history of the Wyandot Popcorn Company by George K. Brown. At first Brown kept his collection in a one-room schoolhouse built in 1882. W. Hoover Brown, the founder of Wyandot Popcorn Company, attended this school and started the company there. But soon the collection exceeded the space available.

Wyandot Popcorn Museum in Marion

Wyandot Popcorn Museum is located in an old U.S. Post Office in Marion.

   After having displays at several locations, in 1989 the ninety-year-old U.S. Post Office building in downtown Marion became available for purchase. Heritage Hall became the perfect place for not only the Wyandot Popcorn Museum but also the Marion County Historical Society. So when you come for a visit, you get two museums for the price of one.

Wyandot Cracker Jack display

Informative guide, Val Mettler, explained that Wyandot made Cracker Jack for a decade.

   At this point, the Wyandot Popcorn trustees agreed to give financial support to the project if they could maintain 40% of the display space on the first floor for their popcorn memorabilia. The guides at the museum make the popcorn history come alive through the meaningful stories they tell.

Wyandot Paul Newman

This 1909 Dunbar horse-drawn wagon was used by Paul Newman to introduce his new line of popcorn in New York City.

   A machine owned by Paul Newman is a favorite at the museum. When Newman decided to move into the popcorn industry, he wanted to work with a purely American company so he chose Wyandot with a little friendly persuasion from George Brown. The cart on display was used in New York City to introduce his popped corn.

Wyandot Popcorn

Different varieties of popcorn create different shapes when popped.

   The owner, Brown, worked diligently to create hybrid popcorn grains that would have the proper moisture content so grains would pop evenly and there would be no unpopped kernels, called Old Maids, left behind. They also developed grains that would have bigger kernels when popped so it would take less popcorn to fill a bag.

Wyandot Circus Wagon Barnum & Bailey

Barnum & Bailey used this popcorn machine and peanut roaster.

   In 1996, Wyandot Popcorn Co had a major fire and the factory was closed for about a year. During that time, George paid more than 300 workers 60% of their regular pay as well as providing medical insurance for their families. When they resumed operation, each worker received a $1,000 bonus. It’s no surprise that 98% of the employees returned to work. With goodwill like this, it makes you want to find some Wyandot products to purchase.

Wyandot Sign

The sign’s logo indicates the town’s connection to the Wyandots, an early area Indian tribe.

   Today the business operates under the name, The Wyandot Snack Co., although now they make more than just popcorn. They produce grain-based snacks such as tortilla chips, cheese curls, corn chips and candy covered popcorn. The smells from their company at the edge of town let everyone know what they’re making that day.

Mr. Popcorn

Poppy is the mascot for Marion’s annual Popcorn Festival.

   Each September, the first weekend after Labor Day, Marion holds a Popcorn Festival starting with a parade on Thursday evening. This is the largest popcorn festival in the world and the weekend is filled with activities and entertainment. Admission to the museum is free this weekend of Sept. 6-8.

Wyandot Holcomb & Hoke

This beautiful 1918 Holcomb & Hoke buttered each kernel individually.

   Regular visiting hours for the museum through October are Wednesday thru Sunday from 1-4. Remember there’s more to see in Marion as this is the home of President Warren G. Harding. That will require a future Gypsy Road Trip.

Wyandot Box of Popcorn

Everyone receives a free box of popcorn when they finish the tour.

   Stop in at Wyandot Popcorn Museum for a poppin’ good time!

Wyandot Popcorn Museum is located at 169 E Church Street in Marion, Ohio, which is north of Columbus on Route 23. You can park on the street or there is handicapped parking in the rear. 

The Voice of Enthusiasm at Salt Fork Festival

carol-jones Muskingum UniversityEnthusiasm spreads from Carol Wilcox-Jones to everyone she meets. It’s contagious! Carol is the spark that gets things going, whether at her summer music camps or at the Salt Fork Festival. She does it all with a song in her heart.

   Growing up in Kansas, the Wilcox family sang even while doing housework. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t sing,” Carol recalls with a sparkle in her eyes. Her dad played guitar at square dances and sang on the radio, while her mom did the Charleston and even clogged. Family always ranked high in importance to Carol.

Carol - Dad 001

At age five, she sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” with her dad at a square dance.

   Even though Carol sang with her dad on stage at the age of five, it was in high school that the singing bug really bit her. She sang the leading role of Laurie in Oklahoma, followed by many more leading roles. By the time she was a senior, she was invited to enter the Miss Kansas City pageant, which she won singing “Love Is Where You Find It” and “Clap Your Hands”.

   While studying at the University of Kansas she performed leading roles such as Maria in West Side Story, and Marion in The Music Man. She heard her first opera there when the Metropolitan Opera Touring Company came to perform. Carol smiled, “I fell in love with their thrilling singing.” Shortly thereafter, she had a chance to perform as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, still her favorite Mozart opera.

Carol Captain Jinks

Carol performed as Aurelia in the opera, Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines.

   During college summers, Carol apprenticed herself at Central City, Co. and Santa Fe Opera companies. Upon graduation, she decided she would try a career in the opera and where better to do that than The Big Apple. While working toward her master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, she was invited to audition for the Metropolitan Opera. She was offered an artist contract and was soon busy learning new operatic roles.

Carol Barber of Seville

In the comic opera, Barber of Seville, Carol appeared as Rosina.

   Her list of performances is quite extensive and can’t possibly be listed here. In addition to her roles with the Metropolitan Opera in NYC, she has sung leading roles throughout the US and Canada, including the Washington Opera at Kennedy Center, Philadelphia, Miami, Houston Grand Opera, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and many others.

Carol Opera 001

Carol sang in Perichole at the Kansas City Lyric Opera.

   She has performed and enjoyed music theatre roles with St. Louis MUNY Theatre, KC Starlight, Blossom Festival, Caramoor Festival, and others. Carol has appeared on Broadway, sung over 100 recitals, and recorded for RCA and CRI, and has been a featured soloist with many symphonies.

   “It’s not just the beautiful voice, but her overall performance that projects feelings and words,” explained a conductor at the Lyric Opera. “I’ve never known Miss Wilcox to give a bad performance.”

Carol - dalmations

Carol and her family’s dalmatians appeared on the cover of Star in 1975 when she appeared at the Lyric Opera in Kansas City.

   One summer, when Carol was performing at the Lyric Opera Co. in Kansas City, there was also a young man, Robert Jones, under contract. Robert spotted the lovely lady with the beautiful voice and became her biggest fan. A year later, they were married.

Carol and Robert 001

Robert Owen Jones and Carol Wilcox-Jones perform here in  “Die Fledermaus”, an operetta by Johann Strass II.

   Robert was that old-fashioned guy she admired, and family had always been important to her. After their marriage and the birth of their son, Chris, they moved to New Concord where Robert taught music as Director of Vocal Activities at Muskingum College. The couple also happily welcomed their second child, Jennie, to their family.

Carol's Family

Carol, Bob, Jennie and Chris enjoy singing together as The Jones Family.

   Carol was soon invited to join the music faculty at Muskingum as Artist-in-Residence and taught voice, as well as helped develop the Music Theatre minor now offered at Muskingum University. Carol also holds a Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy Degree from the Ohio State University and continues to Direct of the Summer High School Music Theatre CAMP, a program she created in 2006. Her reason for being involved is simply: “I support young people and through music, I open as many windows as I can for them.”

Carol Summer Music Camp

The High School Summer Music Theatre CAMP at Muskingum University has been directed by Carol since 2006.

   Carol’s musical background contains many degrees, extensive performing and teaching experience, but it’s her application of all this knowledge that makes Carol such a valuable asset to the groups she works with.

   Robert and Carol had been fans of the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival for years. When Robert retired, he volunteered to schedule the musical portion of the Festival, and it followed that Carol assisted him before she became also involved with fundraising.

   Last year, Carol became Director of the Festival. Even though she didn’t feel experienced, the festival turned out to be wonderful and was indeed a happy place to spend the weekend for both artists and visitors.

Carol-Wilcox-Jones-Chamber Award 2

Carol received the Distinguished Service Award for her role in reviving the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival.

   Her role in reviving the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival earned her the Distinguished Public Service Award. Her time and energy devoted to this project have been phenomenal. Connections with various groups and businesses in the community have made it possible to continue financing this popular three-day event.

Carol and Robert BASH

Robert and Carol entertained at the Salt Fork BASH, accompanied by Preservation Dixieland All-Star Band.

   One special event, the Festival BASH, became their signature fundraiser. The support of the community has been outstanding, seen through the participation and success of the BASH, which is an evening filled with visiting friends, delicious food, outstanding music, and many prizes and silent auctions.

   Carol does not take credit for all this herself. She has a very active board of trustees who also head up Festival Committees and work tirelessly to produce the Festival with the help of many volunteers. “I’m very proud of all those who have made it possible. The Festival leaders have kept this Festival going for nearly 50 years! That’s pretty incredible!”

50th Anniversary

Carol works with a great group of volunteers as they prepare for the 50th Anniversary.

   The next big project is working with a 50th Anniversary Blue Ribbon Committee for the 2019 festival. There are plans to begin building an enhanced entranceway to the park at Edgeworth Street that will be a permanent feature and reminder of the festival for future generations.

   Now, she’s looking forward to the 49th Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, August 10-12, 2018. Summing up her Festival feelings, she enthusiastically remarked, “The Festival experience – the creative arts, demonstrations, concerts, and activities- are offered free to the public. It’s an uplifting, community-building celebration with a great combination of quality visual and performing arts and delicious foods offered in the beautiful outdoor setting at Cambridge City Park. What’s not to love?”

Painters Hollow Overflows with Creativity

Jorgensen Greenhouse

Since they raise most of their own food, their greenhouse was the first thing Maggi and Gene wished to discuss.

Teamwork best describes the lifestyle of Gene and Maggi Jorgensen, the artistic couple from Painters Hollow near Salt Fork State Park. Working together, they have accomplished more than the average couple because they love what they do. “If we can’t have fun, we’re not going to do it.”

Farming runs in Gene’s blood as his dad farmed in New York and white-washed barns to help with expenses. For many years Gene worked as a sheet metal worker, which led him on varied adventures all over the United States and beyond. Once he even climbed a mountain in Peru.

Jorgensen Maggi

Maggi wears the first necklace Gene made using five quarters and trimmed in brass.

Maggi worked in the engineering department at NCR until its closing. Not wanting to transfer, she trained to become an RN. We’ll talk more about those necklaces she wore to work later.

Stopping by on a warm spring day, the first thing they’re eager to talk about is their garden, “We live out of our garden.” They even pick fresh lettuce from their basement all winter long.

Jorgensen Bales

Certain crops, like tomatoes and eggplant, grow best for them in bales of straw. The red ball rests on a decorative iron holder made by Gene.

Their small greenhouse provides the perfect place to start plants for transfer to their garden and straw bales, which produce a bumper crop of tomatoes and eggplant. Their newest experiment this year was starting strawberry plants from seed. It worked! Now they have a small strawberry patch as well.

Jorgensen Home

Their home is very important since they built it themselves with pine logs from their own woods.

The lumber for their home came out of their own woods. In 2000, they decided to build using square-cut, white pine logs with foam log tape in between to seal all cracks. This resulted in a beautiful home in the country.

Jorgensen Blacksmith

Gene’s dream of a blacksmith shop has become a reality.

Gene had always wanted a blacksmith shop. In 2005 when he bought a knife at the Salt Fork Festival, the gentleman told Gene about a blacksmith class being offered. Maggi thought it seemed like the perfect Christmas present. If someone took the class with Gene, they could do it for half price. The artistic Maggi took the class with him.

Jorgensen Library

Evidence for Gene’s skill at blacksmithing can be seen in the railings of their library.

Maggi made her first nail, a towel bar and towel rack in that class. Gene has metal creations all over the house inside and out. One of his favorites is making a cross out of a railroad tie. Now Gene has his own magnificent blacksmith shop containing a coal forge and filled with power tools such as: power hack saw, rod shear, punches, and stake plate.

This class has led them on an exciting new adventure. Gene had already been making jewelry for Maggi to wear to work. They were so popular that she sold almost everyone she wore.  Making copper jewelry became a favorite pastime with the blacksmith skills being used to make and repair needed tools.

Wishing to improve her natural creative talents, Maggi took watercolor and acrylic classes. They both want to make themselves the best they can be.

Jorgensen Necklaces

This is a sampling of the jewelry that will be on display at the Salt Fork Festival.

Their favorite metals for jewelry remains copper, which is always covered with a clear shellac. Recently, they’ve added sterling with brass and bronze for special touches.

Jorgensen Rings

Rings were a new item in 2017. Gene’s workbench shows the finished rings on the pliers’ handle.

In 2017, Gene began making rings. Five unique patterns come in various sizes. Watching Gene follow the steps for making a ring, it makes you realize how time consuming it is to get that perfect product. This work requires great patience.

Jorgensen Ice Box

Iceboxes are used for storage throughout the house. This one used for bathroom storagem originally served as icebox for Plainfield Store.

Their first show happened in 2011 at Octoberfest in downtown Cambridge. The following year they started sharing their products at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. Maggi enjoyed coming to the festivals for years, but never expected to be showing at one. Now Painters Hollow Products have become a popular exhibit. Visit them in August at the Salt Fork Festival.

Jorgensen Gene

Gene enjoys his workshop where he can shape metal however he wishes.

Gene and Maggi are perfectly content on their farm. For them, it’s a good life and they never want to leave. They don’t even want to travel, except to craft shows, and their idea of a perfect evening would be sitting on their porch with a glass of wine.

I’ve got a blacksmith shop and the best partner anyone could have,” explained Gene. As for Maggi, “Life here is fun: the jewelry, garden and everyday life.”

Imagine everyone would wish for that kind of contentment.

 

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