By Crystal McGough, Editor
TRUSSVILLE – Despite cold weather and the looming threat of rain, the inaugural Pinchgut Revival Bluegrass and Folk Art Festival boasted a large turnout of both vendors and attendees on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023.
With a stage lineup that included local bluegrass bands Cheshire Possum, Random Mountain Ramblers and The Yellow Dandies, as well as educational animal presentations from Urban Turtle Project and Fresh Air Family, adults and children of all ages seemed to thoroughly enjoy the four hours of nonstop entertainment.
“It was incredible,” said Brett Martin, Friends of Pinchgut Creek (FoPC) board member and head of the Revival Committee. “I’d like to say thank you to all of the artists and musicians who toughed it out during setup in the dreary rain and wind, and for all of the people of the community coming out and supporting us. It looked like everybody was having a great time.”
An art festival wouldn’t have been an art festival without vendor booths selling the creations of local artists. This event provided a wide variety of arts and crafts, from pottery to paintings, handmade lotions and soaps to locally harvested bee honey. There were also wood crafts and hand-sewn stuffed animals available, among other commodities.
Food trucks were present offering a variety of food, from street tacos to Maine lobster, and free entertainment was provided for children including inflatable jump houses and activities, face painting, balloons and a bubble station.
Door prizes were awarded, which included a fly rod from Calico Fly Fishing, assorted gear and a gift certificate from Alabama Outdoors, a kayaking and camping trip from Big Canoe Creek Outfitters, a gift basket from BeeHam Honey, as well as art and other items.
Since one of the main purposes of this event was to raise awareness for the preservation of the Cahaba River headwaters, several booths were also dedicated to watershed and native flora and fauna education.
Cahaba River Society retiree Dr. Randy Haddock had a booth displaying native fish, as well as Dobson and Damsel fly larvae, caught that morning from the Cahaba River. Among the fish on display was the Rainbow Shiner, a fish that is endemic to the Cahaba headwaters.
“I actually call them one of the world’s most diverse fish because it’s spread throughout the world for aquarium people,” FoPC President Alexander Dowell explained. “They’re one of the top aquarium fish to keep in freshwater aquariums.”
A large artistic rendering of the Rainbow Shiner was on display beside the stage area, where FoPC founder and vice president Jean Cox paused the entertainment for a few minutes to present citizen Steve Guerdat with a “Trashy Trophy,” made by Girl Scout Troop 679 entirely from trash collected on cleanup days.
“When we had our Earth Day cleanup event that was organized by Cahaba River Society, we had two shifts, a morning and an afternoon shift; Steve was the only person that showed up to both shifts,” Cox said. “This is the man. Steve, you totally deserve this Trashy Trophy.”
According to Revival Committee head Brett Martin, the Pinchgut Revival Bluegrass and Folk Art Festival will “absolutely” become an annual event.
“We’re just getting started,” he said.
Sponsors of the Pinchgut Revival Bluegrass and Folk Art Festival included: Alabama Scenic River Trail, Whistle Stop Garden Shop, Sanitary Rug Cleaners, The Nature Conservancy, S&B Contractors, Fresh Air Family, Alabama Outdoors, Blue Spring Living Water, Clayne Crawford Foundation, Big Canoe Creek, Thai Basil & Sushi, Icon Trussville, Cahaba Sign & Design, Cahaba Riverkeeper, Urban Turtle Project, BeeHam Honey, Cahaba River Society, Calico, Guitar Pros and the City of Trussville.