The Tusculum College Old Oak Festival is a treat for the senses, with stimulation for the eyes, nose, ears and taste buds, through music, fine arts, theater poetry and a wide variety of edible treats. The festival returns to the Tusculum College campus on April 17-19.
The fine arts and music festival will span three days and will feature something for everyone, including festival food and drink, crafts, music, art, theater, storytelling and poetry, as well as gallery and museum exhibits.
“This festival is fun for the whole family. Stay for a meal or maybe two, while experiencing a wide variety of artists, including painters, craftsmen and sculptors,” said David Price, festival coordinator and director of music at Tusculum College.
Among festival offerings for the palate this year are favorites such as homemade strawberry shortcake, Philly cheese steak and Mennonite doughnuts. Food vendors will include Rural Resource’s sandwich wraps; Mr. Turkey Leg’s signature turkey legs and barbeque; Mac’s Fine Food’s potato swirls with toppings and fruited lemonade; Creamy Cup’s coffee, funnel cakes and ice-cream; TopDog HotDog’s hotdogs and polish sausages; Cold Water Farm’s deep fried Oreos, hamburgers, ham biscuits and other deep fried delights; Auntie Ruth’s pretzels and Mennonite doughnuts, and Carly’s Kettle Korn. Music and food will be available until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and until 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Ella Price, the festival food coordinator, said, “There will be a tremendous variety of food, including sweets, hamburgers and fruited lemonade. Enjoy kettle korn or deep fried Oreos while you stroll around the festival and then stay for a meal with your family and ours.”
The festival will feature an extensive variety of crafted products, from walking sticks and wooden puzzles to Christmas ornaments, soft sculpture, pencil drawings and llama fiber products. Other crafts include scrollsaw wood art, dolls, baby items, tobacco stick art and signs, polymer jewelry, lotions and soap, quilts, needlework, baskets, stained glass, crochet items, bath and body products, handmade ironworks and dulcimers, gourds, rustic art, herbs, handprints, photography, bows, scarves and purses.
Demonstrations will also be conducted in pottery, blacksmithing and carving by the Evergreen Woodcarvers.
Handcrafted wood items from the Evergreen Woodcarvers are among the items on display during this year’s Old Oak Festival at Tusculum College. The Evergreen Woodcarvers will be demonstrating their craft during the festival.
Musician Sharon Babb will be hosting mountain dulcimer workshops each day of the festival outside of Old College. Babb has been teaching dulcimer for many years, and there is no fee to attend the workshops. The workshop schedule will be Friday, April 17, 2-3:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 18, 10-11:30 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 19, 2-3:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Pioneer Arena. She will be teaching traditional and modern songs, with some in-between. Babb also builds mountain dulcimers, which she will have available for purchase at the festival.
Anyone with dulcimer in need of strings or minor repair may stop by the blacksmith/dulcimer booth before class. There will be a small fee for repairs and strings. For those wishing to participate who do not have a dulcimer, there will a few available for loan; however, supply is limited. For more information, contact Babb at 865-919-7214.
Several fine arts-related workshops will be hosted at the festival on Friday, April 17, and will be held at various locations on campus. Morning workshops will be held from 9-11 a.m. and afternoon workshops will run from 12:30-2:30 p.m.
High school students will have the opportunity to win one of five, $500 college scholarships through participation in one of the fine arts workshops. The workshops are free and materials and lunch are provided.
Drawing workshops will also be held at the Shulman Center. The poetry and fiction workshop will be in the Hurley Room in the cafeteria. The playwriting and acting workshops will be held in the Behan Arena, below the Annie Hogan Byrd Theater. The papermaking workshop will be held in the Rankin House Ceramics Studio (house across from the Tusculum Arch and next to the Whistle Stop). Music classes will be held in the choir room, which is downstairs from Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Center. To sign up or for more information, contact Jan Matthews, assistant professor of English, at email@example.com.
Dr. Clay Matthews, assistant professor of English and author of three poetry collections, will teach a contemporary poetry workshop, and there will be a music theory and songwriting workshop. The session will be taught by Jack Furnari, who holds two music degrees from the University of Tennessee. He is a band director, a full time private teacher and a woodwind instrument repairman. Ashley Gregg, a senior art major at Tusculum, will teach a drawing workshop.
Wayne Thomas, interim dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of English, and Forrest Richards will teach a playwriting workshop. Thomas’ plays have been produced in various community, collegiate and professional settings. Richards has performed in many prestigious venues around the country.
Afternoon workshops will include a flash fiction workshop will be taught by Jan Matthews, the author of a fiction chapbook, “Hush.” Furnari will host a music improvisation and the music business workshop. Kate Kolodi, who graduated from Tusculum in 2014, will teach a papermaking workshop. Frank Mengel, Arts Outreach technical director, and Brian Ricker, assistant director of the Arts Outreach program and a 2010 graduate of Tusculum College, will teach an acting workshop.
Sam Crowe, visiting assistant professor of fine arts, will teach a digital media workshop. This will be an introductory to intermediate level workshop focused on professional use of Adobe Photoshop. Projects will include high frequency separation for both photo retouch and photo repair, how to work with low quality images to achieve a high quality look and Basic Digital Illustration techniques. Crowe will provide all files. Space is limited to 15 participants only.
In addition to these workshops, the Doak House Museum will sponsor a batik workshop during the three days of the festival. Participants will learn how to make stunning designs on natural fiber cloth using the wax-resist dyeing method. Reservations and advance deposits are required. The workshop will be held in the heart of the festival on the main campus. Contact Leah Walker, site and events manager, at 423-636-8554 or firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations and more information.
“With three stages and special performances at the Doak House Museum, the musical acts this year will provide a wide variety to suit all musical tastes, with some top rate performances on all three days,” said Price.
The Fiddlin’ Carson Peters Band and the Old Time Travelers, a duo from Chattanooga, will perform on the Doak House lawn on the Saturday of the festival, and will be featured during the festival on the main stage.
Other scheduled performers include Richard and Eva, Stem Winder, Charles Tunstall, Thursday Night Boys, Steve Brown, Mike Joy – a 2003 graduate of Tusculum College, Shiloh Road, the Tusculum College Alumni All-Star band, My New Favorites, the Threetles, the Tusculum College Jazz Band, the Tusculum College Concert Band, the Tusculum College Handbell Choir, Jim and Curtis Moneyhun, John Vandiver, the Step Cousins, Fuse Worship, Josh Miller and Joyce Carroll.
The Acoustic Jam Session will be in the Shulman Center on Saturday at 7 p.m. where students, faculty, staff and community members can come together and bring their acoustic instruments for an informal jam session.
In addition to artist vendors and music performances throughout the day on Friday and Saturday, there will be three performances during the festival of “5X10,” presented by Tusculum students under the direction of Thomas, Mengel and Ricker. Performances will be held in the Behan Arena Theatre in the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Center. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. To reserve tickets, contact Arts Outreach at 423-798-1620.
The college’s Allison Gallery will be open throughout the weekend, featuring a faculty and family spotlight exhibition by Dr. Deborah Bryan, associate professor of art at Tusculum.
Thursday, April 16, writers Susan O’Dell Underwood and Justin Phillip Reed, a 2013 graduate of Tusculum College, will present poetry on stage to launch the eleventh volume of “The Tusculum Review.” Readings will start at 4 p.m. in the Shulman Atrium.
On Saturday, “The Tusculum Review” contributing editors Brent House and Charles Dodd White will be reading poetry and fiction with Curtis Owens Undergraduate Literary Award winners, selected by Julija Šukys. Charles Dodd White will be reading with student Cynthia Conte at 12 p.m. and Brent House will be reading with students Jennie Frost and Carnes White at 4:15 p.m. These readings will take place on the main stage.
In addition to these literary presentations, several other writers will be presenting works throughout the festival weekend. Authors include Carolyn Gregg, Emory Rhea Raxter, Joe Tennis, Keith Bartlett, Lisa Hall, Matilda Green, Shirley Butler, Claudia Ware, James Campbell, Tom Yancey, Rick Toomey, Bill Nance and George Ryan.
Both the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library and the Doak House Museum will be open to visitors during the festival and will have special activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday.
For the length of the festival only, the museum will open its collections storage to display never before exhibited Appalachian chairs and other furnishings, titled “Sittin’ Pretty: Selections from the Doak House Furniture Collection.” Admission is free and donations are appreciated.
The President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library will sponsor a 19th Century Toys and Games booth in the children’s area. Come and play with traditional folk toys and make-and-take your very own toy as a souvenir. In addition to the museum’s activities, the education department at Tusculum College will be hosting children’s activities, which will be led by Kathryn Crumm, assistant professor of education.
The festival will feature children’s activities on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and again on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Tusculum students will be participating in a Marble Pursuit Board Game Tournament hosted by the Tusculum College Band Program. The first round begins Friday April 17, at 6:45 p.m. in the Pioneer Perk in the Niswonger Commons. Spectators are welcome.
There is no fee to attend the festival. Art vendor hours will be Friday from noon until 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, contact Price at 423-636-7303.
Coolers and alcohol are prohibited during the festival.
The festival is being coordinated by a committee of college and community representatives who are working to promote arts and music in the East Tennessee region.
According to Price, corporate and VIP sponsors are still being sought. On opening night of the Old Oak Festival a dinner for corporate sponsors and VIP supports will be featured. Along with the opening dinner, sponsors will receive an Old Oak lanyard, Old Oak t-shirt, recognition on the Old Oak website and program, announcements on Friday night and premium seating on Friday night during festival entertainment. To learn how to become a corporate sponsor or VIP supporter, email Blake Cantrell at email@example.com or call 423-636-7303.
For updates and more information, visit the website at www.oldoakfestival.org or on Facebook at www.facebook/OldOakFestival.