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West Virginia State Folk Festival

Music, Heritage, and Appalachian  Culture

2016 Glenville Oral Traditions Tent

Friday Schedule:

12:00pm: Larry Staats

1:00pm: Jo Ann Dadisman 

2:00pm: Susanna Holstein

3:00pm: Cat Pleska

4:00pm: Open Mic



Saturday Schedule:

10:30am:  Kirk Judd

1:30pm: Sherrell Wigal

2:30pm: Wilma Acree

3:30 pm: Judi Tarowsky


Larry Staats kicks off Friday June 16th, at 12 noon with his own unique blend of stories and “annoying instruments.” Larry grew up in the Sandyville, West Virginia area. He obtained BA, LLB, and JD degrees from Ohio State University and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army. Active in percussive dancing for the past 20 years, Larry has performed at Clifftop and many other venues. He plays a wide variety of instruments including Jew’s harp, banjo, bones, and more. As a storyteller he has performed at the Swanannoa Gathering, the Mars Hill Festival, the Hock Hocking Festival and many other venues. His stories are funny, unexpected, and usually based on his years growing up in a small WV community.

A retired educator and active storyteller, Jo Ann Dadisman has been sharing stories about her beloved mountains for more than 40 years. Although she sees herself as an Appalachian teller, she also enjoys telling folktales from around the world and frequently presents programs that combine true stories with tall tales, myths, legends, and family stories seasoned for smiles and sometimes tears. For almost two decades she and June Riffle performed as the Mountain Echoes, a tandem telling duo promoting the culture and heritage of Appalachia, especially in their native state. Dadisman is dedicated to preserving her mountain heritage and promoting an understanding of who we are as West Virginians.

Writer and a professional storyteller Susanna Holstein (Granny Sue) is a frequent presenter of programs and workshops at conferences, festivals, schools and libraries, presenting as both a writer and as a storyteller and ballad singer. Holstein obtained a BS from WV State University and MLIS from the University of South Carolina. Holstein writes the online journal Granny Sue’s News and Reviews, the poetry blog Mountain Poet and a monthly column for Two Lane Livin’. Her work has appeared in four anthologies and other print and online journals, and she has recorded two CDs of her stories and songs, including a ghost story collection titled Beyond the Grave: Ghost Stories and Ballads from the Mountains. Her most recent publication, Love’s Old Sweet Song, was included in the Mountain State Press anthology Diner Stories: Off the Menu, published in early 2015. She has assisted with coordination of the Oral Traditions Tent at the West Virginia State Folk Festival for many years.

Kirk Judd has lived, worked, trout fished and wandered around in West Virginia all of his life. Judd was a member of the Appalachian Literary League, a founding member and former president of West Virginia Writers, Inc., and is a founding member of and creative writing instructor for Allegheny Echoes, Inc., dedicated to the support and preservation of WV cultural heritage arts. Author of 3 collections of poetry Field of Vision (1986), TaoBilly (1996) and most recently My People Was Music (2014), a book and CD compilation of his work that includes music by some of West Virginia’s best-known old-time musicians. He was co-editor of the widely acclaimed anthology, Wild, Sweet Notes – 50 Years of West Virginia Poetry 1950 – 1999 and is widely published.  Kirk is internationally known for his performance work combining poetry and old time music, and has performed poetry in Ireland and across West Virginia at fairs, concerts, and festivals for the past 35 years.

Wilma Acree writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her poems have appeared in various literary maazines including Crazy River, Pudding Magazine, and Algonquin, as well as several anthologies. She has published two poetry chapbooks: About Bee Robbing and Other Things (Tantra Press, 1995) and Wilma Acree: Greatest Hits 1985-2000 (Pudding House, 2001). She has held numerous offices in West Virginia Writers, Inc. and has presented readings and workshops in West Virginia and Ohio. Minnie and Andy, rescued chihuahua mixes, allow Wilma to live with them in Vienna, WV.

Sherrell Runnion Wigal is a poet originally from Roane County, West Virginia, now living in Wood County.  Until 1999, she served for many years as director of the West Virginia Writer’s annual conference, and has been the past coordinator of the literary events tent at the West Virginia State Folk Festival.  She conducts numerous creative writing workshops throughout the area, including the annual week-long Allegheny Echoes Workshops in June of each year in Pocahontas County, WV.  Sherrell is also a performance poet and has performed throughout West Virginia and surrounding states.  Her list of performances includes the Arthur Brandon Humanities Lecture series at Alderson-Broaddus College, the Rhythm and Rhyme series at Kanawha County Public Library, the annual Vandalia Gathering and the Stonewall Jackson Jubilee.  In May 2005 she was one of the featured artists in North Carolina at the Caldwell County Arts Council where she participated in a unique presentation of two and three dimension art and poetry.  Her writing appears in many publications throughout the country.  Much of Sherrell's poetry reflects her love, appreciation and connection to nature, people and the cultural heritage of West Virginia. 

Cat Pleska

Judi Tarowsky

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West Virginia State Folk Festival, Inc.

P.O. Box 362

Glenville, WV 26351

304-462-9644