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Guest Jeffrey

Mountain Days (Dayton's larger Appalachian Festival)

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I usually don’t do festivals outside of the city, but wanted to make a return trip to this one.  I was here once before, years ago, and it has gotten a lot bigger, and they charge admission (for a scholarship fund)..  It is in Eastwood Park, in the heart of Dayton’s heavily Appalachian eastern suburbs.

 

The place was pretty crowded, or at least the parking was.  They had to take people in with this wagon thing from the farther lots

 

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The big event was on the main stage where they had some big name country acts…Kentucky Headhunters, Rhonda Vincent, some other folks.

 

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The MC was this DJ from the “I” stations..WBZI..classic country and bluegrass

 

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This is not “Martha White” but bluegrass star Rhonda Vincent

 

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one of the country stars (Eddy Raven?) signing autographs

 

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Arts & Crafts tents, beer truck, and trad foods

 

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Clogging stage…they had audience participation clogs as well as groups

 

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UofK visibility. You really see this in the area if UofK makes it into the later rounds of the NCAA playoffs, with the flags on peoples houses and cars.  One can also see WV alum stickers on cars in the area, not so much Tennessee, though.

 

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There is a big union presence here, which is something I’ve never seen in a festival here in Dayton.

 

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It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a raffle like this.

 

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Classic car show in the background

 

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More crafts and a food area

 

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…which leads to the Bluegrass Stage

 

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The lady at the mike is Lela Estes, who is one of the heads of the group that puts this on..”Our Common Heritage”…she is also a neighborhood activist &  lives in Twin Towers or Walnut Hills. Her house was recently arsonized (maybe because of her activism?).  The older folks to the left are veterans from the Riverside VFW…the guy on the far left in the white hair was at Omaha Beach.

 

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This band, Rum River, is actually from up in the Troy area, and the leader is that lady to the left, on the banjo.  She got started in the California bluegrass scene, and you can here that a bit in her band.

 

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Even more clogging, and the audience

 

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Beyond the band was the re-enactors camp…and they had a lot.  These are frontier life re-enactors, but I notice this Scots thing going on, too, which sort of makes sense given the prevalence of Scots-Irish ancestry in Appalachia and the Ohio Valley in general.

 

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And next to this was the singer-songwriter stage, which is where I spent most of my time.  I was surprised there was this much going on here…they were able to put on at least (maybe more) 3 sets of 4 or 5 performers a day, for two or so days.  These guys all did country or bluegrass style

 

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….closing with the shade tree look & feel of the event:

 

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I wouldn't know, as I've never been to Traders World.  Is there a big appalachian presence there?

 

I recall they used to have somehting on the radio up in the mountains back in the 1970s called "Trade-io", which which sort of an call-in swap meet/flea market.

 

 

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"Dayton’s heavily Appalachian eastern suburbs"

 

Huh? That far west?

 

Great photos and write up! I've begun an appreciation for festivals, and have attended quite a few over the summer -- up from practically nil last summer. A great place to relax, unwind, and get some great photos :-)

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"Dayton’s heavily Appalachian eastern suburbs"

 

Huh? That far west?

 

That demographic trend extends as far as Central Indiana, I think. Go very far south of Indianapolis, and with the exception of the university-connected population around Bloomington, the character of the towns and the heritage and traditions of the people reflect Appalachian roots. Martinsville is a pretty good example. Farther north, in the eastern part of the state, that same character is very visible almost as far north as Berne. Forty or fifty years ago there seemed to be a fairly obvious boundary roughly along the east-west road through Berne now known as Indiana 218; the dividing line has become more blurred over the years.

 

Families south of there were largely Scots-Irish, some from eastern Kentucky and Virginia/West Virginia, and they had a pretty casual attitude about improving their farms and taking care of their property. The incidents involving disordliness, domestic abuse and alcohol reported in the local newspaper were more likely to occur there than in the northern part of the county. In the fifties, federal agents raided a couple of large moonshine operations based there and run by people from Harlan County, Kentucky. Not to tar all Scots-Irish with the same brush; that would be an unfair and inaccurate stereotype. There's also a strong Quaker presence, and the Underground Railroad had a lot of support there.

 

In the northern townships more of the families were/are of German and Swiss heritage, with a few French descendants who had come there via the German/Swiss settlements in Pennsylvania. Their farms appeared, and still appear, to be prosperous and well run. Their church affiliations were mostly Mennonite, Apostolic Christian and Reformed, and to a large extent that's still true.

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That demographic trend extends as far as Central Indiana, I think. Go very far south of Indianapolis, and with the exception of the university-connected population around Bloomington, the character of the towns and the heritage and traditions of the people reflect Appalachian roots. Martinsville is a pretty good example. Farther north, in the eastern part of the state, that same character is very visible almost as far north as Berne. Forty or fifty years ago there seemed to be a fairly obvious boundary roughly along the east-west road through Berne now known as Indiana 218; the dividing line has become more blurred over the years.

 

.....pretty good call on cultural geography, there, Rob.  I've heard the dividing line referred to as the "US 40 Line", but your Indiana highway is a ways north of that.  Some have called this Midwest transition area "the Middle Border". 

 

When I made the comment that Seicer was referring to I was referring to more direct immigration from Appalachia, not so much the old Scots-Irish ancestry.  Though there was a bit of Kentucky connection here in pioneer Dayton...an example being one of the founders of Lexington becoming one of the early settlers of Dayton.  The Scots-Irish settlers in this area came mostly from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

 

 

 

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