CORBIN — CORRECTION - Published April 15, 2014 - Due to a reporter’s error, a story that appeared on Page 1 of the Thursday, April 10, 2014, edition contained an error. It should have said Monica Crouse is the Union College Coordinator of the President’s Office, Operations, and Events. We regret the error.
By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer
The Redbud Festival is right around the corner for Barbourville.
The festival begins Friday and continues through Saturday on the Barbourville campus of Union College. This year the festival will be known as the “Union College Redbud Festival of Appalachian Culture.”
The Redbud Festival is around nine years old, according to Union College Coordinator of the President’s Office, Operations, and Events Monica Cross. For the past eight years, the festival has been run by the Barbourville community, but this year it has been taken over by Union College. According to Cross, Union College is reinventing the festival with “an educational theme.”
Despite its new moniker, the festival will still feature arts and crafts, music, storytelling, and simple living practices indigenous to Appalachia. However, the festival will offer something new this year — a stronger concentration on academic education and a deeper exploration of the region’s culture.
Cross said all things at the Redbud Festival will be Appalachian; vendors must have handmade goods, demonstrators will share knowledge of traditional Appalachian skills, and the educational seminars will expand on ongoing issues in the region.
The festival kicked off Saturday with the Redbud Color Run at 9 a.m. The 5K run began at the Union College Student Center and its theme was “No Excuse for Child Abuse.” The run benefitted Child Abuse Prevention in Kentucky and was co-sponsored by the Barbourville Junior Women’s Study Club.
The festival will pick up once again Friday with “Re-Imagining Development in Eastern Kentucky: A Symposium on History and Place.” This symposium will be held at 1 p.m. in the Rector Little Theatre and will explore current economic challenges facing eastern Kentucky.
Appalachian Photographer Warren Bruner will also make an appearance at the festival. He is known for his photography of the Appalachian region, most of which is displayed at Berea College. Another educational feature of the festival will be students from various disciplines displaying Appalachian-themed research projects, as well as an art exhibition with pieces done by Union students and the community.
Outside the Rector Little Theatre will be “Simple Living” demonstrations. These include demonstrations of skills such as iron forging, horse shoeing, apple butter cooking and beekeeping. According to Cross, these skills are historically integral to life in Appalachia and allows visitors to see what their ancestors had to do in order to survive.
There will also be music; a total of 10 bands will be playing throughout the weekend. Cross says all of these bands play Appalachian music, and many of them are local. There will also be a Chautauqua performance of Lilley Cornett by David Hurt as well as Appalachian storytelling. Rounding out Appalachian culture is a Biblical quilt display and “Writer’s Row,” which features eight Appalachian authors discussing their work.
Culture isn’t the only thing offered at the Redbud Festival. There will be sports clinics Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in a variety of disciplines, from lacrosse and fencing to golf and outdoor basketball. To participate in these sports, registration is required. Contact Lana Falkner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 546-1236.
Friday will feature the Redbud Ride Warm-Up, with registration beginning at 10 a.m. and the ride begins at noon at 310 College Street in Barbourville. Registration for the warm-up ride is $25, and people can register the day of the ride. The warm-up will feature two route options — the Red Route, which is 50 miles, and the Yellow Route, which is 26 miles long.
More information can be found at www.redbudfestky.com.
THE REDBUD RIDE
The Redbud Ride is also this weekend in London, and it is a part of the Redbud Festival. The Redbud Ride will kick off 8 a.m. Saturday morning at the London-Laurel County Farmer’s Market.
Registration is required. People can register the day of the ride. Registration will be $35 in advance and walk-up registration will be $40.
According to London-Laurel County Tourism Co-Director Rodney Hendrickson, around 1,200 riders from across the United States are expected for the event. Hendrickson said around 900 have pre-registered and he expects a minimum of 200 walk-up registrations.
The Redbud Ride has four routes — the Yellow Route, which is 23 miles; the Orange Route, which is 38 miles; the Green Route, which is 70 miles; and the Red Route, which is 100 miles. The milage for each route is from and back to the farmer’s market. According to Hendrickson, so far 57 percent of riders have registered for the Green Route.
The Redbud Ride will feature rest stops every 20 miles. Some of these rest stops will feature meals for riders such as sandwiches or pizza. Riders will also receive a free Redbud Ride T-shirt, although walk-up registrations are not guaranteed a T-shirt due to short supply. The morning of the ride will feature a pancake breakfast compliments of the London Rotary Club.
Hendrickson said the Redbud Ride is the second biggest bike ride in Kentucky, after the Horsey Hundred in Lexington. He added the Redbud Ride is special because of community involvement — there are more than 200 volunteers willing to help make the ride a success. The Redbud Ride is also one of the most scenic routes in the country, Hendrickson said.
For more information, go to www.redbudride.com.