Galax tunes up for Leaf & String

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Festival showcases the region's best music, art and literature.

By April Wright, Reporter


The 11th Annual Galax Leaf & String Festival highlights the area’s rich cultural heritage by showcasing local musicians, artisans and authors on Friday and Saturday in downtown Galax.
The festival highlights the past and future with old-time music, antiques, traditional arts and crafts and today’s best-selling regional authors.
“The festival just gets better and better each year,” said Galax Tourism Director Ray Kohl.
More than 20 bluegrass and old-time bands will be featured during this year’s Leaf & String Festival.
Musical performances will be held throughout Friday and Saturday at the outdoor Grayson Street stage and the Main Street stage, located in front of Barr’s Fiddle Shop.
“Whether you like bluegrass or old-time, there’s a mix of it all,” said Kohl.
Jeff Little Trio will perform at the Rex Theater on Friday at 8 p.m. for $5. Following the performance, at 9:30 p.m., festival-goers can dance the night away with the square dance, featuring music from the Slate Mountain Ramblers and a square dance caller.
The square dance had been featured annually until five years ago, Kohl said. After many requests, organizers decided to return the square dance to the Grayson Street stage.
“Square dance is fun and good exercise,” said Kohl. “And if you don’t know how to square dance, you’ll learn the basics.”
Admission to the square dance is free.
Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out will be a highlight for this year’s Leaf & String Festival, performing Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Rex Theater in downtown Galax. Moore, named male vocalist of the year, and his band have won seven consecutive International Bluegrass Music Association awards for Vocal Group of the Year.
The Georgia band has recorded the song “Pretty Little Girl From Galax,” and the music video features Galax teens Ashley Nale and Jordan Vaughan. Nale is a member of the band Loose Strings.
The video will be shown at the Rex, and the night also will include a performance from Stevie Barr & Friends and Loose Strings. Tickets are $15.
Also, fans will have the chance to meet and mingle with Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out during a dinner with the band at The Galax Smokehouse before Saturday’s performance.
Tickets are $25 and includes dinner and the performance.
For ticket information, call 238-8130.
“With Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out performing in Galax, it gives Galax a high profile,” said Kohl, who is also featured in the “Pretty Little Girl From Galax” video. “They’re a nationally-acclaimed group that have won awards and are raising our status.”
Kohl said the video, featured on Youtube and other websites, is bringing attention to Galax from all around the world.
The Blue Ridge Music Makers Guild will host music workshops at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Book Festival
This makes the seventh year for the Authors on Grayson Street book festival, featuring more than 40 writers under the authors’ tent in front of Chapters Bookshop at 101 E. Grayson St. in downtown Galax.
“Authors on Grayson Street” will be held on June 8 from noon-6 p.m. and June 9 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sponsored by Chapters, the book festival began in September 2006. A couple of years later, it joined the city’s annual Leaf & String Festival when that event became a celebration of music, arts and literature.
The book festival allows readers to meet with their favorite authors, talk about books and writing, hear the authors’ stories and purchase new books.
Some authors also will hold special events and speak about their books.
Upon arriving, individuals will receive catalogs that tell about the authors and their works and list their websites.
For more information, call 236-9703.
Friday at 3 p.m., Talmage A. “Tal” Stanley of Emory & Henry College will host a free demonstration at Chestnut Creek School of the Arts about his book “The Poco: An American Story of Place.”
Friday at 6 p.m., Charles Lytton, author of “New River: Bonnets, Apple Butter and Moonshine — the Raising of a Fat Little Boy,” will host a food and wine pairing and tasting at Chapters Wine Cellar.
Tickets are $10 and space is limited. Tickets may be picked up at Chapters Bookshop or Chapters Wine Cellar.
Saturday from 8 a.m.-10 a.m., “Breakfast With The Authors” will be held at Chapters Wine Cellar. Anyone may attend and the fee is donation only.
Homemade breakfast items will be provided by Sara Price, and donated breakfast items will be served.  
The breakfast will be held in honor of visiting authors for the event. This is a time to meet and talk to authors about their books.
Saturday at 11 a.m., Sweet Potatoes Restaurant owners Stephanie Tyson and her partner Vivian V. Joiner will perform a cooking demonstration.
They plan to show how to make sweet potato biscuits and will distribute sweet potato biscuits and country ham.
The owners of the restaurant in Winston-Salem, N.C., are authors of the book, “Well Shut My Mouth! Sweet Potatoes Restaurant Cookbook,” published by John F. Blair of Winston-Salem.

The Arts
On Friday and Saturday, Iris Medina will showcase her beaded jewelry techniques at Chestnut Creek School of the Arts.
Visitors to the art school will see Medina creating necklaces and earrings using a variety of glass beads and semi-precious stones and crystals.
Also, CCSA is working to create a collaborative art project made up of bottle caps. Anyone can participate.
An information booth will be set up to discuss the mission of the art school and the classes that are offered.


Main Street Stage

11:30 p.m. — Somewhere In Between
12:30 p.m. — Loose Ends
1:30 p.m. — Highlands Crossing
2:30 p.m. — Sugar Creek
3:30 p.m. — Fishers Peak Timber Rattlers
4:30 p.m. — Adam McPeak & Mountain Thunder

Grayson Street Stage
11 a.m. — Loose Ends
Noon — Galax Five
1 p.m. — Somewhere In Between
2 p.m. — Fishers Peak Timber Rattlers
3 p.m. — Galax Five
4 p.m. — Sugar Creek
5 p.m. — Highlands Crossing

Rex Theater/Blue Ridge Back Roads
8 p.m. — Jeff Little Trio, admission $5 at the door

Main Street Stage

9:45 a.m. — Somewhere In Between
10:30 p.m. — TrueGrass
11:25 p.m. — Crooked Road Ramblers
12:10 p.m. — Footloose Express Cloggers
12:30 p.m. — Whitetop Mountain Band
1:30 p.m. — Zephyr Lightning Bolts
2:30 p.m. — Slate Mountain Ramblers
3:30 p.m. — Mountain Park Old Time Band
4:30 p.m. — Wolfe Brothers
5:15 p.m. — Highway South

Grayson Street Stage
10 a.m. —  New River Bluegrass
11 a.m. — Zephyr Lightning Bolts
12 p.m. — TrueGrass
1 p.m. — Crooked Road Ramblers
1:40 p.m. — Footloose Express Cloggers
2 p.m. — Whitetop Mountain Band
3 p.m. — Wolfe Brothers
4 p.m. — Slate Mountain Ramblers
5 p.m. — Mountain Park Old Time Band

Rex Theater
Stevie Barr & Friends at 7:30 p.m.
Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, with Loose Strings, 8:30 p.m. — featuring music video for “Pretty Little Girl From Galax.”