Appalachian Trail group celebrates 80 years
NEW YORK -- The organization that oversees the Appalachian Trail is celebrating its 80th anniversary with a new name and an invitation to the public to enjoy and help preserve the famous footpath.
Formerly the Appalachian Trail Conference, the group is now calling itself the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to better reflect its mission of preserving the trail.
The trail was conceived in 1925 by forester Benton MacKaye as an outdoor refuge from urban life. It runs 2,175 miles from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Mount Katahdin, Maine, offering escapes for hikers of every ability, from children and novices to long-distance hikers who may spend six months walking the entire route.
The conservancy can help you plan a day hike or longer trip, whether you're a beginner or an expert. The organization is also looking for hikers interested in short-term volunteering to clean campsites, relocate footpaths and monitor water quality. Visit www.appalachiantrail.org or call (304) 535-6331.
In addition, the ATC is collecting stories and photographs that capture visitors' favorite moments on the trail. E-mail your contribution to firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Folk Festival to be held in Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. -- The National Folk Festival will be held this year in Richmond, Va., from Oct. 7-9.
Mariachi music, Cambodian dance and a Jewish klezmer band are part of the festival's diverse program. However, the emphasis will be on local traditions, including the Piedmont blues, which originated among Colonial-era slave performers who used European violins along with wood and gourd African instruments.
The National Folk Festival was first held in St. Louis in 1934. Its location changes every three years. This will be its first year in Richmond. For more information, go to www.nationalfolkfestival.com or call (804) 788-6466.
For the past three summers, the festival was held in Bangor, Maine, where it was such a hit that local organizers are launching a new performing arts event for this year -- the American Folk Festival, scheduled for Aug. 26-28. Details at www.bangorfolkfestival.com or (207) 992-2630.
Capitola hosts Labor Day Begonia Festival
CAPITOLA, Calif. -- Flower festivals are usually associated with the start of spring, not the end of summer.
However, the Begonia Festival has been held Labor Day weekend for 53 years in Capitola, Calif., in honor of the town's unique floral heritage: From the 1930s to the 1970s, about 90 percent of the world's begonia plants were grown in Capitola.
Activities at the festival, which takes place Sept. 3-5, include a sand sculpture contest, live entertainment, a floating parade on Soquel Creek, a fishing derby and rowboat races.
Details at www.begoniafestival.com or call the Capitola Chamber of Commerce, (831) 475-6522. Capitola is located about 75 miles from San Francisco, near Santa Cruz.
Wales celebrates mud with national festival
LLANELLI, Wales -- Remember the mud pies of your childhood? The National Wetlands Centre in Wales is holding a festival for grown-ups who like to play with mud, featuring everything from mud masks to muddy tug-of-war competitions.
The National Mud Festival, Sept. 10-11, will also offer mud sculptures, edible mud (actually chocolate) cakes and even a serious educational component -- talks on the vital role that mud plays in the ecology of the South Wales coastline. Llanelli is five miles from Swansea.
For more information on the mud festival, visit www.wwt.org.uk/visit/llanelli.