Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Algonquin Mill Fall Festival Features Crafts, Food and Entertainment

Algonquin Mill 2

This old mill is the reason for the Algonquin Mill Fall Festival.

Take nine tons of cabbage and ferment it into sauerkraut. Grind buckwheat and wheat into flour. Saw boards at an old fashioned sawmill. Embroidery a quilt. These activities from days gone by are just a sampling of what happens at the Algonquin Mill Festival near Carrollton on October 13-15.

The festival began in 1971 to pay off the loan the historical society took to purchase Algonquin Mill on 3.8 acres. They wanted this historic spot to be preserved to help people understand life in the 1800s. It’s been a popular annual event ever since with 16,000 – 20,000 people attending the three day event.

Algonquin 1853 Bridge

This 1853 bridge built by Wrought Iron Bridge Co. of Canton was still in use in the 1960s.

The original old mill built in the early 1800s is their reason for being. The first two mills on this spot were driven by water from nearby McGuire Creek. Today’s mill, built in 1826, was originally operated by water. In 1890 it was converted to steam power. At its peak, the mill produced 25 barrels a day, grinding corn, oats, wheat and buckwheat.

Algonquin Mill

John Miday, miller, and Bill Baughman make sure the corn mill is working properly.

The mill was closed in 1939 and the steam engine went off to fight in WWII. Today they use a one hundred year old steam engine to power the gristmill and grind cornmeal and flour.

Algonquin School 2

This one-room school is the oldest building on the property with typical pot-bellied stove.

The complex contains many other buildings as well and many of them are original. The log buildings have all been brought on site from nearby locations. The one-room school happens to be the oldest of those buildings. During the festival a schoolmarm will be teaching class.

Algonquin Volunteers

Volunteers from all over the area enjoy a tasty pot-luck lunch every Thursday.

They make enough money at the three day festival to support the Algonquin Mill Complex for the entire year. Their volunteers are amazing and very active as they arrive every Thursday all year long to work on projects at the complex. Many said they planned their work schedule so they could have Thursday off.

Whole families get involved in helping here. Volunteers come from all around and even though there is a large number, David McMahon, president of the Carroll County Historical Society, said they could use twice as many.

Algonquin Cookie House

One of the original buildings is now the Cookie House with the Cheese House close by.

Old fashioned foods are a highlight of the festival. Pancakes, sauerkraut, apple butter, homemade jams, cider, and maple syrup are made and served. Or you can buy some to take home and enjoy. The mill also grounds fresh cornmeal along with buckwheat, spelt and wheat flour.

Algonquin Sauerkraut

Dave George takes his job seriously as the man in charge of the sauerkraut operation.

Dave happens to be in charge of the sauerkraut and that’s no small task. When you start out with nine tons of cabbage, it takes a careful eye to make certain it ferments properly in large containers. Then it will be put in jars to be sold at the festival. Word has it that they are usually sold out of sauerkraut by noon on Sunday!

Algonquin Art

This is just a small sampling of the art on display in the past.

The barn at Whispering Winds Farm held square dances in years gone by, but today that’s where you’ll find an Art & Photography Show. This juried show displays original pieces created between 2014 and 2017 with no previous entries allowed. Every year it’s a whole new show, sharing one-of-a-kind items.

Algonquin Crafters 2

Women embroidery a quilt and work on many crafts in the Civil War era Gothic farmhouse.

You’ll discover time honored crafts such as rugweaving, spinning and quilting in the Civil War era farmhouse. The walls are covered with aprons, quilts, scarves and rugs they have made to sell. These ladies begin working on next year’s crafts the Thursday after the festival ends to refill the walls.

Algonquin Threshing Machine

Dave McMahon, president of Carroll County Historical Society, explains the antique Case threshing machine in their Farm Museum.

Throughout the grounds demonstrations exist for chair caning, wood carving, candle dipping, broom making and blacksmith trades. An old sawmill attracts people of all ages and is one of the most popular demonstrations.

Algonquin Mill Barn

This is the last original work of Mail Pouch Barn painter, Harley Warrick. There are two other Mail Pouch Barns Warrick painted at the complex.

Don’t forget, all day long old-time entertainment takes place. There’ll be cloggers, banjo and fiddle players and gospel groups performing. Local high school bands and choirs also enjoy participating. If you want, you could sit there all day and be entertained.

Algonquin Stagecoach Inn

On the hillside behind this old stagecoach inn, Perry J. Vasbinder Arboretum has been established with over 400 different plantings.

If you should happen to want to visit Algonquin Mill at a time other than the festival, Thursdays are the perfect time as volunteers are always there to answer questions. Of course, you can walk around the grounds 365 days a year and learn about the complex from literature available on the wall of their information center, but buildings will be locked.

This festival is the perfect place to step back in time and enjoy all those old fashioned tastes, crafts, and entertainment. Entry per vehicle is $8.00 so load up the van and have a day of fun and learning. You’ll be glad you stopped by.

The Algonquin Mill Complex is located south of Carrollton along OH 322, which is east of I-77. There are several bends to make on this scenic adventure no matter what direction you are coming from, so it’s best to place their address in your GPS system. Find them at 4296 Scio Road SW. 

 

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Ohio River Ferryboat Festival – 200th Anniversary Fly-Sistersville Ferry

Fly Ferry

The Fly-Sistersville Ferry provides a relaxing way to cross the Ohio River.

Floating by ferry on the Ohio River brings pictures to mind of days gone by. Drive your car onto the ferry, or walk on – either way you’re sure to enjoy a ride to the other side. No bridges exist close by.

Fly Sistersville Vendors

Vendors line the streets on the Sisterville side of the river.

During the Ohio River Ferryboat Festival on July 28-30, crowds fill both sides of the Ohio River at Fly, Ohio and Sistersville, West Virginia. For only a dollar, you can walk on the boat, float across and check out the activities on the other side. Or you can drive on board for five dollars. The ride across takes about eight minutes.

This ferry began many years ago in 1817 so this happens to be the 200th Anniversary of a ferryboat crossing at what everyone calls the “Long Reach”. This is one of those rare places on the Ohio River where there’s a twenty mile stretch of river without any bends.

Fly Kiwanis

The Kiwanis was one of many ferries used on the Ohio River.

In those early days the Ohio River wasn’t nearly as deep as it is today. At that time horses pulled the ferry, which was basically a wooden platform, across the Ohio while guided by a rope. If it was an easy load, only one horse was needed, but larger loads of stagecoaches and animals might require two horses. Thus our present term of one, two, or four horsepower.

Today the Sisterville-Fly Ferry is the only ferry still operating on the Ohio-West Virginia border. Now it’s only open from the first of May until the end of September from Thursday thru Sunday. Bo is the only operator but he enjoys his retirement years as captain of the ferry.

Fly-Bo

Bo always serves as pilot on the only ferry on the Ohio-WV border.

They got lucky at finding their latest captain, as Bo is a former member of the United States Coast Guard. After the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Ohio River must seem fairly calm. He especially enjoys letting children come up in his cabin and let’s them “drive” the ferry for a little while.

Fly Ferry close up

Take a peaceful ride on the Ohio River during the Ohio Ferryboat Festival.

During last year’s festival over a thousand people walked onto the ferry for crossing and nearly seventy-five cars. The ferry can hold eight cars or trucks at a time if they’re parked bumper to bumper. Motorcycles find it a great shortcut and once in a while even a tractor trailer gets on board.

Fly Sistersville Wrestling 2

Wrestling provides entertainment on the Sisterville side.

While the ferryboat is the main reason for the festival, there are many other activities on both sides of the river. Each town does their own promotions and plans their own entertainment. But they visit back and forth. The mayor of Sistersville often rides across on the ferry to Fly.

Fly Dick Pavlov

Dick Pavlov with his banjo traveled to Fly last year to join in the entertainment.

Fly Price Sisters

The Price Sisters, Leanna and Lauren, of Bluegrass fame from nearby Sardis draw large crowds of friends and fans.

On the Fly side, many groups perform throughout the day with everything from Bluegrass music to Steel Drums and accordion. A couple special highlights are the Clark Family of Ohio Opry and local girls, the Price Sisters, who are Bluegrass stars.

Fly George Washington

George Washington & Co. describes life during Washington’s trip on the Ohio River.

George Washington & Co explain the story of George Washington’s camp at the edge of what is today Fly, Ohio. He camped there during a survey trip back in 1770. They dress in costumes of the 1770s and tell of riding down the Ohio River in two canoes with two Indian guides. It took a couple weeks to paddle from Fort Pitt to Mount Pleasant.

Fly children

It’s a great day for families to acquaint their children with the Ohio River stories.

Join Fly and Sistersville for the 200th Anniversary of the ferry this July. Not only will you enjoy a ride on the ferry, but you’ll find delightful vendors and entertainment on both sides of the Ohio River

It’s definitely the only Ferry to Fly.

Fly, Ohio is located in southern Ohio along Route 7. From Wheeling, it’s about 47 miles south on Route 7. The fastest route would be off I-77 and take Route 7 North at Exit 1. It’s a scenic route anyway you travel!

Spinners & Weavers in the Ohio Hills

Spinners Logo

A banner with their logo appears at many festivals.

In the hills of southeastern Ohio near Senecaville and Lore City, a group of locals gather to spin their yarn and their tales. Quite often you’ll hear them telling stories of a particular time in history as they spin their yarn for weaving.

Spinners at work

Spinners and weavers demonstrate under a tent at a local festival.

Members of Ohio Hills Spinners & Weavers Guild are a friendly and happy group, eager to share knowledge about their hobby, which many have pursued for over twenty years. The items they create are beautiful as a result of their artistic abilities.

For members, meetings bring total relaxation as it takes their mind off any troubles while they sit and spin or knit. They find it fascinating that they can “make something from nothing”. Imagine starting with a sheep in the field and ending up with a sweater.

Spinners yarn

Sally spins wool that she sheared from sheep at their farm.

Most of the wool comes from the sheep on the farm of Sally Mehler. Sometimes they use alpaca wool from a neighboring farm as well. This local wool then progresses through the steps of washing, picking, and carding, before it’s spun into yarn. Then often it’s dyed.

Spinners pot holders

Jo Ann finds it more relaxing for her hands to use an electric spinning machine.

Everyone has their own touch when it comes to spinning and weaving. Some prefer a traditional spinning wheel, while others try a more modern touch. A few of the members have an electronic spinner, Hansen miniSpinner, which eases the tension on their hands and most likely produces a more even yarn.

Spinners making cloth

Mary demonstrates how to use the drop spindle.

It’s a great feeling to take the wool and spin it into yarn so it can either be woven or knit into something special. It’s not difficult. Take a section of wool and start spinning from one end on a spinning wheel. Pull little snippets of the wool roving back as the twists of fiber start around the bobbin’s original yarn. The bobbin fills up with the newly formed yarn.

Members carefully choose the type of wool used especially in garments. Merino wool claims to be the softest wool in the world. The merino sheep raised in Australia and New Zealand give us most of the wool used in the United States. If wool makes you itch, you’ve got the wrong kind of wool. “That kind should have been a rug on the floor.”

Spinners yarn samples

These are just a few of the beautiful balls of yarn created by the spinners.

These spinners insist that the more you do, the smoother the yarn. But it’s done from the heart, as one spinner commented, “You don’t get enough in sales to pay for the spinning.” That doesn’t count for all the time spent afterwards creating beautiful items. But it’s still worth-while as people enjoy what they make, while they’re relaxing.

Spinning Mittens

One winter meeting, their project created some practical mittens.

Newcomers will be first taught to spin and then encouraged to move forward with using that yarn to create something they can use. The first thing they learn to knit is usually a basic dish cloth. As they progress, more difficult patterns are introduced.

Shortly, they’re spinning the yarn, then knitting gloves, hats, socks, sweaters and even rugs. This creative process makes people want to return again and again. The woolen items they make will keep a person warm even during wet weather.

Spinners rug

Bill prepares the pieces for twined rug weaving.

Others enjoy rug twining. Three layers of fabric are braided together to form a sturdy rug for use inside or out. It takes a couple of weeks to complete a rug and then they’re usually given away. One rug maker doesn’t even have one of his own…and people are waiting for the next one to be finished.

Spinning grape kool aid

This scarf, created by Sue Sherby, is being made by yarn dyed with grape Kool-Aid.

This group meets the second Thursday of every month at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Lore City. They can also be found displaying their methods and products at many area events during the year. One week they might make mittens or perhaps use Kool-Aid for dying. There’s always an interesting project happening.

Homespun yarn won’t be perfect, but one of the spinners remarked with a smile, ” If you wanted perfect, you would go buy your yarn at the fabric shop!”

Walt Taylor: Creative Inspiration to the Community

walt-student

Walt instructs one of his students in the proper way to use a pottery wheel.

One of the areas where Walt Taylor excels is passing on his love for art. That’s why he enjoys sharing his knowledge with adults and especially young people, as they’re our future artists.

As a small child he lived on a farm in Lebanon, Ohio where  he attended a one-room school that was very typical of schools in those days: no running water, out door toilets, a pot bellied stove, and a paddle hanging on the wall behind the stove.

Walt had a story to tell about that paddle. A school bully pushed him around one day and Walt swung his lunch bucket, and hit the bully in the head knocking him to the ground. Both were taken inside and leaned over a desk for a paddling. First, the bully received a stern thrashing while Walt quaked. When it was Walt’s turn, the teacher swung the paddle one time so hard it hit the side of the desk and broke in two. No paddling for Walt that day. Doesn’t sound like an accident on the part of the teacher to me.

vases-with-applique

He enjoys creating one of a kind vases with floral applique.

The family moved often. His father said, “A rolling stone gathers no moss, but it gains a great polish.” At one time they lived near Fort Ancient and Walt followed his dad around the field when he was plowing, and found many arrowheads. 

Woodcrafting has been a hobby since he was a young man. His building skills still go on today as he makes cabinets, chairs, and recently a communion stand for a local church that had just rebuilt.

walt-cabinet

This talented man made these oak chairs and the cabinet behind them.

For the past few years, he has been making one new chair for their dining room each year. But he said he has been procrastinating about finishing the last two. He even joined the Procrastinators Anonymous, but they haven’t had a meeting yet.

He also enjoyed working on automobiles so developed mechanical skills as well.  That came in handy as he and his wife, Sheila, motorcycled all over the country. His favorite places to ride were in the mountains out west. It was in those mountains of Montana, where they saw the work of western potters, that an interest for making pottery began.

They also discovered many things on those back roads that you just can’t see from the interstate. He thought he noticed something that looked like Stonehenge on one such road, but it turned out to be Carhenge. Here cars were buried front first in the ground. Then there was the House on a Rock, a motel on an Indian reservation, and the list goes on.

walt-first-piece

Walt holds the first piece of pottery he ever made…out of kitty litter.

It wasn’t until 1992 that Walt tried his hand at pottery. At Octoberfest, he purchased his first kiln and making pottery has become his passion ever since. The first bowl he made was out of ‘unused’ kitty litter! He learned that kitty litter had a clay base and when mixed with a little bit of water could be worked into shape. That bowl still sets on his bedroom stand today.

walt-sheila-001

Walt and Sheila  have attended many festivals in the area to display and sell their creations.

To begin with, he made pottery items just because he enjoyed doing it. Then he began giving them to his friends, who told him that he should be selling them. That began a business they ran until last year, Taymoor Pottery…a combination of his last name and his wife, Sheila’s maiden name.

walt-at-salt-fork-festival

Walt has a smile on his face while working with youngsters at Art in the Park during the Salt Fork Festival.

Walt and Sheila, hope to teach youngsters to enjoy art as much as they do. They’ve helped teach children’s art classes at the Salt Fork Festival for several years. Wherever Walt is making pottery, children can usually be found watching. Talking about children always brings a smile to his face as ,“They are fun to work with. If you treat them as equals, they accept you as you are.”

father-christmas-and-wife-2

Walt greeted visitors as Father Christmas for ten years, with help from Sheila.

For the last ten years, Walt has portrayed Father Christmas for Dickens Victorian Village. He would meet buses on the street or in the Welcome Center and probably has his picture in many family albums as a result. He’s not sure if he’ll be able to do that this year at the age of 91.

Even though the business is closed, they still enjoy making pottery. Now they make just what they like. Right now Raku, a Japanese style is a favorite. It was first used by the Japanese Emperor and was known as a ‘throw away pottery’. The emperor would drink his tea, then throw the cup against the wall.

walt-raku

His current favorite project centers around Raku, a Japanese form of art.

Raku is a ‘quick fire, quick cool’ kind of pottery so it would be fired and ready for supper quickly. Today in the United States a glaze is added and it’s no long a throw away. Actually it’s so attractive you wouldn’t want to throw it away.

walt-fishing

Walt still enjoys a day on the lake with his fishing pole.

Walt is just ‘a good old boy’, who has taken an interest in the community in many different ways. Thoughts of travel still skip through his mind and he often dreams of living in Hawaii or Tahiti…or at least visiting. Our world could use more of those ‘good old boys’.

Joel Losego Lights Up the Holiday Season

courthouse-light-show-2

This spectacular Holiday Light Show brings visitors back again and again.

One of the main attractions during Dickens Victorian Village’s season is the spectacular Holiday Light Show at the Guernsey County Courthouse in downtown Cambridge. This did not happen overnight. It took over a year to design the first light show – a gift from Grant Hafley, with programming help from Joel Losego.

lite-brite

Joel’s favorite toy as a youngster was Lite-Brite.

According to his mother, Joel has always been interested in lights. In fact, as a child, his favorite toy was Lite-Brite. At a very young age, his parents said that he had the lights on their Christmas tree blinking in rhythm.

When he was six years old, his summers were spent helping his dad on construction. He saved the money his dad gave him that summer to buy a CB radio, which he still has.

avc

These are the AVC stations you enjoy.

As a middle school student at Buckeye Trail, he began working at AVC Communications in Cambridge. He continued working there until he graduated from Ohio University. Helping owner, Grant Hafley, an electrical engineer, Joel learned to design flashing lights with control boards for area dances.

He also volunteered doing sound at his church, the State Theater, and Living Word during that time. Sound intrigued him, Joel remarked, “I always knew what I wanted to do.”

radio-station

The radio station sets high on College Hill.

Then Joel headed off to work in various states on national television networks developing internet and website experience. Basically a home body, Joel served as a beta tester for new software in his spare time. While working for ESPN at special TV events, it became necessary for him to travel all over the country.

Joel missed his family during this time and knew he needed to make some changes. Who should call but his old friend, Grant Hafley. Grant said he was looking for someone to buy AVC Communications. But he wanted a person who would keep the community spirit alive.

joel-losego

Joel conducts much of his business from the computer at his desk.

The moment his life changed was six months later in 2005 at Disney World, a magical place indeed. Joel talked to Grant Hafley during the Disney Parade, and finished the deal for the purchase of AVC. He was on his way back to Guernsey County, a place he never expected to return.

About this time Grant Hafley, who supported Dickens Victorian Village, wanted to do something special to draw more people to town. Lighting up the courthouse to make it a show seemed like a possibility.

Then a year of plans began with help from Grant and a programmer from Arizona. During the second year, the show became Joel’s ‘baby’ and he has been the only person programming it ever since. Right now he is teaching another young person how to continue the operation.

computer-screen

This picture of Joel’s computer screen shows a touch of his planning.

Programming is a tedious process. Every two minutes of light show for the courthouse takes over eighteen hours to complete. Needless to say, Joel spends a lot of time at the computer designing the program. It takes time and patience to synchronize 55,000 lights to over 150 Christmas songs.

courthouse-tree

The Christmas tree was put in place at the courthouse near the end of October.

This year’s light show had a few major changes. For the first time all the lights were LED so the courthouse seems brighter than ever.What appears to be fireworks appears above the courthouse roof.

On the courthouse steps, four lighted trees form Craig’s Christmas Quartet. This is the first time an entire song has been sung and it’s acapella in four part harmony. This is a tribute to Craig, the caretaker at the courthouse, who has been so helpful to Joel and friends over the years.

open-house-quartet

Ctaig’s Christmas Quartet appeared for the first time in 2016.

As a way to get people directly involved with the light show, Joel has used an idea from Disney. A Magical Lightshow Wristband has been designed with a computer chip. When this wristband is at the courthouse, it becomes controlled by the light show and flashes along with it.

This is the first time anything has been sold to raise money for the light show. The cost of the wristband is $20, but you must remember “It’s not a toy. It’s a computer.”

wristband

This Magical Lightshow Wristband flashed with the music.

When asked about his favorite Christmas music, Joel paused as he enjoys so many. Finally, he admitted that Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Carol of the Bells, Gene Autry’s Rudolph, and Andy Williams’ White Christmas were among his favorites.

One of his favorite pastimes will surprise you. He enjoys going to the courthouse light show anonymously to listen to comments about the show. “It’s fun watching other people watch the show.” There he finds ideas for the future as well as improvements that can be made.

open-house-grant-and-joel

Grant Hafley and Joel Losego talk to visitors from the edge of the crowd.

Ten months out of the year, Joel works approximately thirty hours a week on the programming for the Guernsey County Courthouse Holiday Light Show. November and December, when it is running, are his months off from programming. But he’s always handy in case there’s a problem with the program. Most can be fixed from his computer, wherever he happens to be.

When Joel gets an idea, he usually jumps right in and makes it happen. One thing he has put on hold is a trip he wants to share with his wife to Maui. His dream places them at a resort, overlooking the ocean at sunset while having dinner. He even has a video of it on his phone. Someday you can be certain this too will happen. He makes his dreams reality.

light-cd

Remember the evening of the Holiday Light Show with this CD.

Come to Cambridge and watch the Guernsey County Courthouse Holiday Light Show any evening from November 1 to January 2, 2017 starting at 5:30 until 9:00. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to spot Joel watching too.

The Guernsey County Holiday Light Show happens in Cambridge, Ohio at their courthouse square along old Route 40. You don’t want to miss it.

Farmer’s Daughter to Queen Victoria

 

connie-dale-evans-001

During childhood, her cousin, Cheryl, and Connie enjoyed dressing as cowgirls.

Growing up on the farm as a shy young lady, Connie Oliver Humphrey never expected to travel the world, but she always enjoyed role playing. Even as a child, Connie liked to don costumes and pretend to be someone else. One of those earliest ones happened to be Dale Evans. At home she would dress in her cowgirl hat and boots as she became Queen of the West.

The first time this shy young lady ever performed on stage happened at Cambridge High School during the senior class play, with just a small part. Most of her high school years were spent in the bookmobile reading all the books in the history section.

vintage-dress-passed

Always interested in costumes, this Victorian lady helped with the Dickens Victorian Village’s Victorian Tea & Fashion Show.

So when Connie went to Marietta College, it seemed natural to major in history. However, lack of encouragement from the history teacher and a notice of her theatrical abilities from another, had her changing gears. Theater became her major and creating costumes her passion.

Still, when she graduated, Connie wasn’t sure what she wanted to do or where she wanted to live. Before making a final decision, Connie became a stewardess for Piedmont Airlines. Then she met the man who would change her world. Michael worked for the United States Department of Agriculture, which eventually led them on many great adventures.

Before long, Connie didn’t have to worry about where she would live as Michael became an Agricultural attache in the American Embassy in places such as Moscow, Hong Kong, and Jakarta, then moved on to Singapore. Connie was off to see the world.

connie-quilters-001

In the musical, Quilters, Connie’s pioneer portrayal included playing the spoons.

On this amazing adventure, she never knew what was going to happen next. In each country, she joined the local theater group, where she helped with costumes and became an actress.

When on stage, her shyness disappeared as she became a different person. In her words, “I put Connie on a hook in the dressing room.” Only once did Connie and Michael appear on the same stage in a spoof on Robin Hood and His Merry Men. It required Connie to sing off-key, which she said wasn’t difficult for her.

connie-emily-001

In the one-woman play, Belle of Amherst, Connie portrayed Emily Dickinson.

In Jakarta, one of her favorite performances took place in the role of Emily Dickinson. Connie performed a one-woman show on stage there in the play, Belle of Amherst. She learned the poetry from the heart and talked to the audience as though she were carrying on a conversation with them.

Emily spent her life as a recluse, writing poetry and stashing it away because one suitor told her she was not a poet. Still she wrote as if she experienced the joys and sorrows of the human race.

connies-quilt

This quilt made from pieces of her Quilters costume still graces her guest bedroom. The green/white check was from her costume and the beige batik is typically Indonesian.

During their travels, they shared many wonderful experiences with family and new friends. One of those happened at a Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, where they attended a traditional Easter service. Only children and grandparents were permitted to participate, with the militia there to guard again other adult participation. As part of the American Embassy, they were permitted to view the impressive service.

Her favorite place, Hong Kong, overflowed with life and color. Every nationality walked their streets. which held plentiful food and supplies. Something exciting happened frequently wherever they lived. From an elephant ride in Indonesia to the dynamic Fourth of July fireworks in Washington D.C., new experiences created lifetime memories.

SONY DSC

Her role as Queen Victoria adds dignity to Dickens Victorian Village.

Upon her return to Guernsey County, Connie became involved with Dickens Victorian Village working on their Creative Team creating costumes for the mannequins.Then last year, with a bit of encouragement, she stepped into the role of Queen Victoria, queen during the time of Charles Dickens.

“How does someone get to be Queen?”

“You must select your parents with great care.”

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Schoolchildren greeted Queen Victoria with cheers and flags of England.

Her visits to the elementary schools have been well received and she often greets visitors at opportune moments throughout the season. Connie enjoys getting dressed for her role as Queen Victoria, where she holds children under her spell as she tells of life as Queen.In December, there will also be a program, Dickens Audience with the Queen, where she shares the stage with historian, Chris Hart.

In her spare time, Connie’s role as farmer’s wife continues and she works tirelessly for the First Presbyterian Church in Cambridge. Her husband, children and grandchildren always come first, and give her a glow of happiness for all to see.

Connie values the freedom we have in our country after viewing life in some of the places they served. In fact in the near future, they plan an RV trip across the United States, a place they have not yet explored. They have people and places to see on their journey.

But first she must reign as Queen Victoria in Dickens Victorian Village.

 

Judi Tarowsky: Storyteller of Tales: Tall & True

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Judi enjoys telling her stories to a roomful of listeners.

A great storyteller is a rare treat as they connect with the heart and soul of their listeners. One that has been blessed with that talent is Judi Tarowsky from St. Clairsville. Her road to storytelling began with a letter.

judi-2-years-old-2

She was probably even telling stories as a child when she wore a fire hat.

When Judi was in 8th grade, a friend of hers said she had a cousin in Wales, who was looking for a pencil, which we would call a pen pal. Judi was looking for one too. Since Judi comes from a Welsh background, this contact seemed perfect .

Eirwen from Wales and Judi corresponded all through high school. They wrote about typical things like school, music, and activities. For a graduation present, Judi was given a trip to Barry, Wales. As they grew older, correspondence wasn’t as frequent but in today’s world you can always find someone through the computer

Eirwen came over years later with a Welsh dance group to perform in Harrisburg, and the next year came to the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival in Pittsburgh. Judi and her husband went to see them, and it was during those visits that Eirwen said, “You could be a storyteller too.”

Judi thought about it and decided to enter the Adult Liars’ Contest at the Strand Theatre Storytelling Festival in Moundsville, West Virginia. She won!

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This storyteller’s favorite story is her version of “The Three Little Pigs”.

Since then she has even gone to Wales twice to perform as a storyteller. While there, she told one of her favorite stories, her version of “The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Fox”, based on an old folk tale.

While storytelling was new to Judi, she had been involved in writing for much of her adult life. Previously she worked as a newspaper reporter and for an advertising agency. Putting words together is something she has done well for years.

judi-speaking-2

She becomes very involved with her stories.

Today, she tells two kinds of tales: tall and true. Both of them involve extensive research. While she delights in telling old legends, historical presentations have become very popular. After selecting a story from history that is little known, interesting facts are then collected.

This storyteller wants to make certain that all her facts are correct before writing her story. But she doesn’t memorize the story. Judi knows it very well from her research and just tells it. Every time it’s a little different.

When speaking, no props or character costumes are used. She is simply a storyteller. According to Judi, “No special effects are required…just your imagination!”

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The story of the U.S.S. Shenandoah is an audience favorite.

Her story of the crash of the Shenandoah dirigible brought the flight of the airship to life for those present. This original story, “The Heroes of the U.S.S. Shenandoah”, has become one of her most popular presentations in this area since the crash happened near Ava between Byesville and Caldwell in 1925.

Another well-told story, “Burning Springs”, took place during the Civil War along the Little Kanawa River in West Virginia. She adds a touch of humor to her talks, such as calling the fire at Burning Springs:

“a Sodom of Sin anointed with oil” ~Howard Lee, “The Burning Springs”.

Or by pointing out that when fire reached that town, the first thing the tavern keepers  carried to the mountains was their supply of whiskey. They  wanted to keep it from the Confederates, and it was expensive besides.

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Her extensive research captivates the audience.

Humor added to historical facts keeps the audience in her grasp. Following her storytelling, there are always many questions to be asked regarding whatever subject she has been sharing. Her knowledge of her subject is impressive and shows much time spent in research. At the present time, there are over forty stories in her repertoire, but that list is constantly expanding.

She frequently speaks at libraries, festivals and civic clubs. Her programs are so varied that she has something for any age group. One of her special workshops, “The Bones of a Story”, guides people to find their own family stories. For more information, contact Judi at mtarowsky@gmail.com .

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Artist, Charlie Gant, made these sketches while listening to Judi’s stories at Jackson Mill Jubilee. It will soon be her new CD cover.

Judi hopes to continue sharing her research through storytelling and perhaps speaking at some larger festivals in the future. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, cooking and traveling by train – most likely with a tablet by her side to record future story ideas.

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