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Vandalia Gathering returns to Charleston this weekend

By Bill Lynch, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Vandalia Gathering returns to the Capitol Complex this weekend.

Each year, the state’s traditional Appalachian life festival rounds up everything from cloggers and roasted ears of corn to semi-professional liars and crafters.

Along with arts, crafts, storytellers and food, the festival attracts some of the state’s best string band players. There are concerts Friday and Saturday night, contests all weekend long and plenty of old-time musicians sitting under the shady trees on the Capitol grounds jamming with friends old and new.

Adam Jones, event manager at the Department of Arts, Culture and History, said he could hardly wait for this year’s event. This past year, he bought a banjo.

“I haven’t started learning yet,” he said, “but I do have a banjo.”

Call it inspiration, but after years of watching young musicians come to the festival to play, compete and learn, Jones decided to give it a try.

“I think it’s just cool,” he said. “It’s a tradition I want to see passed on.”

Musicians will often share and teach each other tunes at Vandalia. Jones said he hoped that maybe, someday, he’d get to take part in the tradition.

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