Leeds Downtown Folk Festival featuring John Henry Days coming in September

Mark your calendar now for the inaugural Leeds Downtown Folk Festival featuring John Henry Days from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, and 12 noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21. Admission and parking are free to the public.
The two-day outdoor event in Leeds, Ala., celebrating the roots, richness and variety of American culture will feature folk music, craft exhibits and demonstrations, children’s activities, food, storytelling and Leeds’ second annual celebration of John Henry Days.

The two-day outdoor event in Leeds, Ala., celebrating the roots, richness and variety of American culture will feature folk music, craft exhibits and demonstrations, children’s activities, food, storytelling and Leeds’ second annual celebration of John Henry Days.


The festival is being produced by the Leeds Arts Council in conjunction with the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, the Leeds Historical Society, the Leeds Scenic Byway Management Team and McMillan Associates. This program/project has been made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel, and the City of Leeds. Corporate sponsors include Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Covenant Bank and the Monkey’s Uncle.

There will be something for everyone at the festival. You may want to bring a folding chair and stay all day.
A variety of folk musicians and musical groups will perform on Saturday and Sunday. A storyteller and a street dance are planned for Saturday.

At least 27 artisans will display and demonstrate their craftsmanship during the festival. You can watch basketweavers, a metalsmith, felters, woodcarvers and potters at work and take home one-of-a-kind items.
Children ages 4 to 12 can make crafts to take home. The festival will sponsor an interactive creation opportunity for parents and children to work together. Children also can visit agricultural events, see tractors, listen to stories and play games.

John Henry Days will feature a display of artwork sponsored by the Leeds Board of Education and two performances of the play, “Listen to that Cold Steel Ring,” presented by the Leeds Historical Society. The play depicts the life of local legend John Henry and the contest he waged with a steam drill at Oak Mountain tunnel in the 1880s.

A food court will open on Saturday and Sunday, and the Leeds Farmers Market will join the festivities on Saturday.
Leeds is located 15 miles east of Birmingham, just two miles off I-20, exit 140.

For more information about the event, see www.leedsfolkfestival.com. For information about artisans, call Regina Arnold at 205-699-1982. For information about sponsorship opportunities, call Joel Corley at 205-324-6881, ext. 101. For information about food vendors, call Andrew Bell, at 205-324-6881, ext. 106.

Artisans and Demonstrators

  • Debbie Scott, Apparel
  • Kelly Seahorn, Beaded Crafts
  • Carlton Beardon, Birdhouses
  • Marie Jeff, Gourd Art and Rugs
  • Annetta Autsolief, Jewelry
  • Rick Long, Musical Instruments
  • Hoyt Farmer, Blacksmithing
  • Tim Scales, Dulcimers
  • Kirk Withrow, Cigar Box Guitars
  • Andrew Davis, Pottery
  • Bryan Jordan, Pottery
  • Tena Payne, Pottery
  • Mariann Jackson, Quilts
  • Susan Crowe, Quilts and Textiles
  • Barbara Mitchell, Art Quilts
  • Marvin Little, Walking Sticks
  • Sharon Brazile, Wall Art
  • Maurice Cook, Painted Rural Scenes
  • Del Dashner, Wood Carvings
  • Steven Febres-Cordeo, Wood Carvings
  • Ken Ray, Nature Carvings
  • Mary Hicks, Baskets
  • She She, Wall Art
  • Ashley Hunter, Primitives
  • Terry Vogin, Silver Jewelry
  • Charlotte Negley, Quilts
  • Dianne Hathcock, Wall Art

Storyteller

  • Susan Webb

Musicians

  • Marc Seymour
  • Shelby Duke
  • Haley Powers
  • Fiddle and Flute
  • Mt. Pisgah Pickers
  • Rick Long and Friends
  • Top Cats
  • Ray Newman
  • Bo Butler and the Nice Boys
  • Voices of Autumn
  • Plantation Heirs
  • Leeding Ladies
  • Ron Dometrovich
  • Flying Jenny

2 Responses to “Leeds Downtown Folk Festival featuring John Henry Days coming in September”

  1. Cvett69 September 10, 2008 1:16 am
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    The John Henry Days part of the Folk Festival is a bad joke played by some local self-anointed historial experts that have absolutley no proof that the legendary John Henry was anywhere within a 100 miles of Leeds, AL 35094.

  2. Promethan2 January 20, 2009 9:59 pm
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    Please be advised that the person posting as Cvett69 above has a long history of writing personal, hateful comments in his crusade against recognizing the legenday steel driver John Henry’s connection to Leeds. He has done this despite local recorded histories by descendants of railroad workers who knew John Henry and knew about his work on the two tunnels on the Columbus & Western RR Extension near Leeds in 1886 until his death at Oak Tunnel. And in addition to interviews conducted with descendants of railroad workers several scholars have contributed the results of years of research that has established the historical John Henry and his work on the tunnels near Leeds.
    Why this man persists in his personal, bitter crusade to discredit anything that ties this iconic figure to Leeds has become a mystery to many residents of Leeds and an embarassment. Also be advised that he has been banned from writing any more letters to the editor of the local newspaper on this subject.