Unemployment Rate In Appalachia
Choking Out The Whippoorwills

Mountain Folk Festival, Berea KY


Over the weekend, me and the girls went to Berea, KY to welcome spring-in a way we had never done before.


A few months ago Chitter and Chatter were invited to attend the 73rd Annual Mountain Folk Festival, which takes place on the campus of Berea College. The festival celebrates youth who have an interest in both traditional and folk styles of dance. During the weeks leading up to the festival participants learn predetermined dances to perform together as a group. The participants also attend workshops at the festival where they learn new dances to take back home with them.

While we were there, the girls were asked to perform a clogging routine. They did a great number to Ricky Scaggs' Road To Spencer. (don't forget to stop the player on the top right of the page before you watch the video)

My favorite part of the festival took place on Saturday night. The folks who attended the festival danced the Gisburn Processional into the auditorium.

Branch Of May 

Each person carried a "Branch of May"-the dancers were pretty neat on their own-but seeing each person with their "well budded out branch" of Spring was truly spectacular-and even better-I got to be part of it.

Jennifer Rose, a Co-Director of the festival, spoke of how much the centuries old dancing in with branches meant to her. Jennifer has been at the Mountain Folk Festival, to welcome in Spring, each year since she was a small child. She talked of the connection she feels with the folks who have took part in the processional since it first started in 1935-of how important it is to continue the tradition each Spring.

Even though this was our first Mountain Folk Festival-the girls and I totally agree with her-we are still humming the songs, dancing the steps, and greeting the Spring.



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Chitter and Chatter did such a great job. I used to tap dance as a child and some of those steps reminded me of tap dancing. The girls are becoming such beautiful young women.

Just had a chance to view this great video of Chitter and Chatter and the clogging. They are wonderful! Such cute girls and talented, to boot.
I remember when I learned to clog and it was such fun. I still cut loose in my kitchen once in a while, but can't last too long.
That is a workout. The girls do a great job.

Long time reader, first time poster, my mom Terry turned me on to your site and i absolutely love it. Your girls are so talented. I got goosebumps watching them. I really enjoyed it and thank them for sharing with us.

I wish I would have know about this as I would have wished them luck! :) Looks like they did great and didn't need luck!!

Wow, absolutely enchanting to watch! Your girls were amazing and what a treasure to have this recorded.

Love the post about Berea. The girls are beautiful!!!!

That sounds like a marvelous festival with real and meaningful activities on offer. I enjoyed reading this.

This sounds like a really nice festival. Your daughters are very talented and great dancers. Thanks for this great posting about Berea College

Tipper: The girls did a really neat job with the clogging. It is wonderful that they are willing to share their talent.

that video made my day, your girls are great! what a fun and wonderful thing. Chitter and Chatter will remember that all their lives.


Great job girls - I'm impressed. Pappy

Chitter and Chatter were stupendous! My smile could not have been as grand as yours while watching them perform so beautifully and yet, there I was watching with huge a grin, tapping my feet! I couldn't help myself from clapping and cheering!
The best way to start spring and keep up this exhuberant tradition for sure, Tipper! :))

WOW, that was some great clogging. I really enjoyed it, twice! I went to an October fest nearby last year, and they had some cloggers there that were very talented. I stayed for the whole show.

What good dancers your kids are. You have every right to be very, very proud of them. They are very synchronized with each other, too. A joy to watch them.

Berea is a special place. We stop there often as we travel down I-75 from Indiana to Kingsport. It's good to hear the amount of appreciation your site visitors have for Berea.

I've included the link for the Tennessee Fall Homecoming again and The Museum of Appalachia. It is a wonderful place, so good and great that words can't describe it. It's outdoors and it can rain but we love it so much we happily endured the one year it did rain.

I hope your readers will open the link and consider visiting this very special place.


Look at how fast their feet go! Fun new tradition :)

Greet The Spring! So glad you and the girls got to go. I had the speakers turns up high so I could listen to the music and hear their shoes click on the wood. Bravo Chitter and Chatter, you did such an amazing job! Always nice to go to something that involves music and dancing. Great video Tipper! Thanks for sharing with us. xxoo

They did a great job. I love to watch clog dancing. One of our former congressman used to clog in our 4th of July parade every year.

Those girls can dance! It sounds like it was such a fun trip! My kids were never dancers - but we have done our sharing of watching basketball games, karate tournaments, and swim meets!

Berea is not too far from me. I love the town and all of its art. Chitter and Chatter did a great job.

Wow look at those girls go! That was terrific!

That looks like so much fun! They did great! We went to the Los Islenos festival in St. Bernard Parish this weekend. (St. Bernard was colonized by the Islenos people sent by the King of Spain in the 1700's.) It was so much fun watching them play and dance to their traditional music in their traditional dress. Loved it.

Daughter and I were this close (holding up my finger and thumb together) to going there too, but we had a birthday party to attend that knocked it out. Oh, if I had known! We were only an hour away.

Tell the girls they did great, makes me miss my tap shoes!

BRAVO! Look at those girls cuttin' a rug! In Middle Tennessee where I grew up, we would have called that "buck dancing." Gracious, I can remember the days when I and my brother put on our shoes with the taps on 'em and would go with Mama to the square dances every Friday night.

Chitter and Chatter sure did a great job! It's so wonderful to see the traditions carried on.

They are so talented - I know you had a great time. Travelling to sporting events with my girls remains a favorite in the time I have spent with them.

Have a wonderful day.

They did great! And what a fun time ya'll had.

Well, Tipper, you made me cry with this one. Chitter and Chatter did such a great job. Your daughters are beautiful as well as talented and so wonderfully full of the energy and life of spring.
Thanks for being such a good mother to my granddaughters!
And thank you for sharing this beautiful tradition of spring.

Wow! They are good! I could watch them dance all day.
I'll bet that is an adventure you were glad you attended!
How did you participate? Just by being there? Or did you dance, too?

Wow! I love seeing the girls in action- they're good!
I hate that we missed that- Berea is just up the road from us (about an hour) and we went to an arts and craft festival they had there once and it was pretty awesome.

Wow, Chitter and Chatter did a bang-up job dancing! Great job, girls! It's interesting how similar clogging is to Irish folk dance which makes sense as that region was settled by Scots and Irish. Am I right in thinking that? I know there's a big Scottish influence, not as sure about the Irish.

My friend Cindy and I have taken two girls' weekend trips to Berea. We love it there. The last time 2 years ago we went to an English traditional dance demonstration that was very interesting. They kept trying to get us to join in, but I have two left feet when it comes to patterned dancing and Cindy's knee was recovering from surgery so we just watched.

A great job, girls! Glad you were able go to go.

thats fantastic! its great young people are keeping with traditions that would otherwise die out. over here we have had a resurgance of folk music (not sure how morris dancing is going) and of course irish and scottish dancing. i just love clogging! i have a song by eliza carthy and she has someone clogging in the back ground. i had a pair of proper english clogs made for me years ago, with the horse shoe bottoms and brass toe caps...i quite miss them!

How cool! They did awesome! I haven't seen clogging in forever.

The girls are FANTASTIC, Tipper! I thoroughly enjoyed watching them dance. :-D

I loved the video. You must be so proud of chitter and chatter. The festival sounds so neat to attend. I bet you will go again for sure!

What fun! How long have your girls been dancing?

What a sweet time in their lives right now. I would never trade a moment of the now in but I do relish pictures and memories of my oldest two at this age. And of course my youngest are in this age now. When a child really starts to come into their adulthood and hanging out with them or working with them is just plain fun.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)