The Party Has Started!!
Friday night the Tremé Brass Band got a great party started in Salisbury, Maryland. But don’t just take my word for it. Festival goer Lori Carter described the opening parade this way: “The music! The sound! The excitement, the people just enjoying themselves. And the band, the Tremé Band was just fabulous. And the dancer was awesome. It was a beautiful thing to see, everyone just coming together, and just walking down the street of North Division, just having a ball, a great time. The great American community we are!”
Mayor Jake Day welcomed the crowd to Salisbury, Maryland – capitol of the Eastern Shore. Then with the introduction of dignitaries like City Council President Jack Heath, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and First Lady Yumi Hogan, and Perdue Farms Chairman Jim Perdue and Jan Perdue who served as Honorary Festival Chairs - the National Folk Festival was in full swing when it opened last night.
Today (Saturday) from noon to 10pm, you will be able to see the work of talented artisans and hear about Maryland traditions from folks like Janice Marshall who is a sixth-generation Smith Islander. Today and tomorrow you will find her in the Maryland Folk Life Traditions area of the festival talking about crab picking and the famous Smith Island cake.
Life on the water is on full display at the festival, with beautiful skipjacks along the waterfront and storytellers talking about the heritage of the waterman. One such man is Captain Kermit Travers a much respected African American skipjack captain.
Today you will be able to hear the musical wisdom shared by the Singing & Praying Bands of Maryland and Delaware which is led by Rev. Samuel Colbert and who are also performing today. Reverend Colbert says this public revival of a continuing gospel tradition has influenced every American musical genre from jazz, pop, R&B, to rap, and hip hop.
There will be many demonstrations of our regional folk traditions at the festival. Anna Pasqualucci is a master of Baltimore screen painting. At 4pm today she and Lisa Marie Penn will be demonstrating their craft. They are one of several Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Team award winning pairs performing or demonstrating their craft at the festival this weekend.
Jay Armsworthy is a school bus driver by day, but bluegrass is his life. With his band Eastern Tradition, Jay has performed throughout the Chesapeake Bay region and along the East Coast. He has also invested quite a bit of time documenting the musical heritage of Southern Maryland. So they are here to represent bluegrass.
There is lots to see and learn at the festival today: scrapple making, how to prepare muskrat, how to make crab cakes and fried oysters. There are square dance and salsa dance lessons. There will be a Junior Ranger Swearing-In. And, the Greenbelt S.I.T.Y. Stars a champion jump rope team will demonstrate their acrobatic dance moves.
There is plenty for everyone to celebrate the great American community today and tomorrow in downtown Salisbury.