Hosted on the historic Davis & Elkins College, the campus and the City of Elkins come alive during the summer season. Facilitating cultural education through immersive and experiential workshops relating to music, craft, dance, food, and folklore, the Augusta Heritage Center connects community with culture. And by doing that, there are a variety of ways that you can participate. Currently, Augusta offers both in-person and online opportunities. Here’s what you can experience at this year’s annual festival held in July:
WEEK 1: If dancing on Augusta’s pavilion is your scene, this week might just be for you. The best part about this whole thing is the fact you get to create your own schedule – if you want to soak it all in, the choice is yours! From cooking to accordion, the Cajun & Creole classes will feature masters from Louisiana because that just makes sense when talking about Cajun & Creole. You’ll be playing guitar and dialing in your country vocals with the best of them with the Classic Country programs. Dust off your chops on guitar, brass, vocals, and more with Swing classes. And, to put a cherry on top of week 1, every night the dance pavilion will be hopping with Cajun, zydeco, honky-tonk, and swing dancing.
WEEK 2: You thought week 1 looked like fun? Well, wait until you hear about week 2. Choose from a daytime schedule focusing on Bluegrass music from every instrument, vocals, and songwriting or on Vocal music in a variety of styles. Solo or duet singing? This week is the perfect opportunity to find individuals who have similar interests as you. You can also enjoy everything the week has to offer with the evening concerts, dances, jams, and more. Have you ever wanted to dabble in a craft but didn’t know if you could without guidance? Now is your chance to learn how to blacksmith, stitch, sew, and create collage and textiles.
WEEK 3: During your time spent on campus and throughout Elkins, participants can schedule any combination of Blue and Old-Time classes. You’ll learn how these two genres shaped the very definition of American music. Study one style exclusively or learn how to intertwine these two musical forms. As always, evening will be full of jam sessions, concerts, dances, and so much more. Don’t forget to check out what you can learn from the craft classes this week as well. Perhaps, you might even take up a new hobby.
In addition to these amazing opportunities, each week children ages 5 to 11 can explore craft, nature, and other activities for the Folk Arts for Kids sessions and there will also be evening mini classes instructed by world-class educators.
AUGUSTA FESTIVAL: Vendors and artisans from around the region and state will set up in the canopy covered Elkins City Park adjacent from Davis & Elkins College. This annual celebration is the grand finale of the summer class sessions. Typically held on the last Saturday in July, the Augusta Festival includes free workshops, interactive demonstrations, the West Virginia Open Fiddle & Banjo Contest, jamming, and community singing all day long from 10am to 5pm. To finish out the day, head across the street to El Gran Sabor at the Augusta Block Party for some great food, beer, music, and dancing. We suggest making a full weekend out of it and make plans to check out the Friday night dance at the Augusta Pavilion and jam sessions on the hill.
As you can tell, Augusta really knows how to celebrate summer in Randolph County. Stay in town or find a vacation rental along the Shavers Fork river just 15 minutes from the college. From its week-long classes, concerts, and dances to lifelong memories, we invite you to celebrate our Appalachian culture in Randolph County, West Virginia. Visit Augusta for more information on registering for classes.