Annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival, time for reunions, good food and music

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Lemon Harper of Sumter County shows off his dance routine at Annual Festival.  and John Kennedy Byrd prepares his famous Barbecue ribs at annual festival

Where else can you smile and sway to ole timey blues, enjoy the delicacies of right-off-the grill barbecue and polish sausages, feast on freshly cooked country dinners with assorted pies and cakes and then top it all off with hand churned homemade ice cream.
All this and more is happening at the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival on Saturday, August 25 and Sunday August 26 on the Old Courthouse Square in Eutaw, AL.
The festival features down home blues music, old timey gospel, traditional foods, handmade crafts. Saturday’s events are scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with Ole Timey Blues and dancing featuring musicians Clarence Davis, The Liberators, Jock Webb, Davey Williams, Russell Gulley, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, and others.
The handmade crafts available at the festival are traditional quilts and other needle works; baskets from white oak, pine needles and corn shucks. The assortments of down-home foods include soul food dinners, barbecue, fried fish, chicken and skins, homemade ice cream, cakes and pies; snow cones, Italian ice, and more.
Ole Timey Gospel is reserved for Sunday’s festival beginning at 2:00 p.m. and featuring the
The Echo Juniors, The Melody Kings, The Mississippi Traveling Stars, The Golden Gates, New Generation Men of Promise, Greene County Mass Choir, Glory Gospel Group, Angels of Faith, The American Gospel Singers and many others.

“The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is home coming time in the region. Many families, class reunions and social clubs plan their annual activities to coincide with the festival’s schedule,” stated Dr. Carol P. Zippert, festival coordinator. “The festival brings together musicians, craftspersons, storytellers, food specialists, community workers – all who are considered bearers of the traditions and folkways of the West Alabama region,” she explained. “This is a festival where people truly celebrate themselves – their joys and struggles and especially ‘How we made it over,’” Zippert states.
According to Dr. Zippert, the two day festival is open to the public free of charge. The hours are Saturday, August 25, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday August 26, 2:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is supported in part by the Black Belt Community Foundation, Alabama Power Foundation, Alabama Department of Tourism and other local contributors.
The festival is produced by the Society of Folk Arts & Culture.
There is no admission fee for the Festival events.
For more information contact Carol P. Zippert at 205-372-0525;
Email: carolxzippert@aol.com

Retiring Revenue Commissioner, Goree, presents final report to County Commission

The Greene County Commission met in regular session Monday, June 11, 2018 and approved the year-end report from outgoing Revenue Commissioner, Brenda Goree. Goree stated that the document pointed out some minor errors in her operations and appropriate adjustments would be made. She also noted that this would be her last year-end report to the commission, since she is leaving office by the end of June. Barbara McShan will assume the position on July 1, serving the remainder of Goree’s term, which expires in 2020. Goree requested her retirement in 2017 and it will go into effect on June 30.
In other business the commission acted on the following:
*Approved a contract with Alabama Department of Transportation for preliminary engineering for bridge replacement on County Road 69 over McConnico Creek, with ALDOT paying 80% and the county paying 20% of the cost.
* Approved ABC License for Green Track Side Plaza (Chevron Service Station).
* Approved the placement of two high school interns for the summer. Commissioner Cory Cockrell proposed this arrangement at the commission’s work session, wherein he will pay the students through Next Level Leaders non-profit organization.
* Approved hiring one part-time bus driver for the Eutaw Nutrition Site.
* Approved Blue Cross Blue Shield contract for 2018-2019.
* Approved request from Society of Folk Arts & Culture for access to the courthouse restrooms for the 2018 Black Belt Folk Roots Festival.
* Approved resolution to add lodging tax collection to services of RDS, which is the Revenue Discover System that collects various taxes for the county, including sales and use, and beer and tobacco taxes.
*Approved the clean-up and re-purposing of the Montgomery Recreational Center in the Knoxville Community.
*Approved staff travel to various workshops and training.
*Approved payment of claims and budget amendments presented by the county’s CFO, Paula Bird.
Bank balances as of May 18, 2018, reported by Ms. Bird included the following: Citizen Trust Bank – $2,787,828.27; Merchant & Farmers Bank – $2,616,703.76; Bank of New York – $918,088.04; CD Bond Sinking Fund – $805,753.35

BBCF awards $80,000 in arts grants across Black Belt region

L to R: Carol P. Zippert and Darlene Robinson, BBCF Board President,accept grant award for annual festival

The Black Belt Community Foundation awarded $80,000 in arts initiative grants to 29 community based organizations in its 12 county service region. The awards ceremony was held Saturday, May 5, 2018 at the Hank Sanders Technology Center at Wallace Community College Selma.
Community projects benefiting through the awards include museums, community theaters, festivals and youth organizations offering concentrated arts programs. Through these individual projects, it is anticipated that nearly 22,000 Black Belt residents will be inspired, affected, or touched in some way – whether by taking a local art class, by viewing a musical or theatrical performance, or by visiting a local folk arts festival.
In Greene County, the Society of Folk Arts & Culture was awarded $2,500 for the production of the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival. Other awards throughout the Black Belt region included: In Bullock County, a total of $3,500 was awarded; in Choctaw County, $1,655; in Dallas County, $11,500; in Lowndes County, $2,500; Macon County, $8,500; in Marengo County, $2,500; in Perry County, $2,500; in Pickens County, $4,975; in Sumter County, $4,500; and in Wilcox County, $15,370.
Two organizations received Art Education grants of $10,000 each – Coleman Center for the Arts and Tuskegee-Macon County CDC.

BBCF President Felecia Lucky stated, “Our arts grant review committee has been incredibly impressed with the diverse spectrum of inspiring arts programs presented to us in application for 2018 grants funding. Being able to reach nearly 22,000 people across our service counties through these grants is a testament to the support we receive from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.“
BBCF was established in 2004 to support community efforts in the Black Belt that contribute to the strength, innovation, and success of all the region’s people and communities. A partnership formed in 2006 with BBCF, the Youth & Cultural Committee of the Black Belt Action Commission, and the Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA), which established the Black Belt Arts Initiative.
The goals of this project are; to work in partnership with local community based organizations, to forge collaborations with local schools to advance arts education, to document and promote the region’s artistic assets, to assist arts organizations in becoming more efficient and effective and to Provide opportunities for citizens of the Black Belt region to be exposed to and participate in the arts.
Since 2006, $1,400,671 has been awarded through BBAI Arts Grants to support various arts activities across BBCF’s twelve-county service area. In total, BBCF has invested over $3.8 million from BBAI Arts, Community and other grants into regional nonprofits, based in and serving Alabama’s Black Belt.

Black Belt Folk Roots Festival celebrates 42nd year

festival story.jpgWhere else can you smile and sway to ole timey blues, enjoy the delicacies of right-off-the grill barbecue and polish sausages, feast on freshly cooked country dinners with assorted pies and cakes and then top it all off with hand churned homemade ice cream.
All this and more is happening at the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival on Saturday, August 26 and Sunday August 27 on the Old Courthouse Square in Eutaw, AL.
In its 42nd year of community celebration, the festival will again feature down home blues music, old timey gospel, traditional foods, handmade crafts and special events for the young people.

Saturday’s events are scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with Ole Timey Blues and dancing featuring musicians Clarence Davis, The Liberators, Jock Webb, Davey Williams, Russell Gulley, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Jock Webb, Lil’ Jimmie Reed and others.
The handmade crafts available at the festival are traditional quilts and other needle works; baskets from white oak, pine needles and corn shucks. The assortments of down-home foods include soul food dinners, barbecue, fried fish, chicken and skins, Polish sausage, homemade ice cream, cakes and pies; snow cones, Italian ice, and more.
Ole Timey Gospel is reserved for Sunday’s festival beginning at 2:00 p.m. and featuring the The Echo Juniors, The Melody Kings, The Mississippi Traveling Stars, The Golden Gates, New Generation Men of Promise, Sons of Zion, Greene County Mass Choir and many others. “The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is home coming time in the region. Many families, class reunions and social clubs plan their annual activities to coincide with the festival’s schedule,” stated Dr. Carol P. Zippert, festival coordinator. “The festival brings together musicians, craftspersons, storytellers, food specialists, community workers – all who are considered bearers of the traditions and folkways of the West Alabama region,” she explained. “This is a festival where people truly celebrate themselves – their joys and struggles and especially ‘how we made it over,’” Zippert states.
According to Dr. Zippert, the two day festival is open to the public free of charge. The hours are Saturday, August 26, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday August 27, 2:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is supported in part by the Black Belt Community Foundation, and other local contributors.
The festival is produced by the Society of Folk Arts & Culture. There is no admission fee for the festival events. For more information contact Carol P. Zippert at 205-372-0525;
Email: carolxzippert@aol.com