Dardens to host annual Bluegrass Festival

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 15, 2004

MURFREESBORO – The rural farmlands of Mapleton will come alive with plenty of &uot;picking&uot; and singing beginning here June 17 when the Darden Family presents their 14th annual Bluegrass Festival and Picking Party.

This year’s event will be held in the cherished memory of Roy &uot;Bear&uot; Darden.

Three full days (June 17-19) are in store for Bluegrass enthusiasts at the Darden Farm, located just off US 158 between Murfreesboro and Winton. The Festival grounds open at 8 a.m. on Thursday (June 17) with the music beginning at 5 p.m. Friday’s schedule calls for the musical acts to begin at 10 a.m. On stage performers will follow a schedule until 11 p.m. Saturday’s agenda calls for the bands to perform from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Also on Saturday, the younger crowd can take advantage of the Children’s Stage, on the hour from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Contests, for children ages 12-and-under, will include pie eating, peanut sack racing, hollering, hog calling, watermelon seed spitting and greasy pole climbing. In addition, there will be Meherrin Indian story-telling and ceremonial dancing. The children’s stage area will be managed by Mel and Bob Hitt.

Continuous entertainment on the main stage will include: the Bluegrass Brothers, Low Profile, the Darden Family, Code Blue, Al Batten and Bluegrass Reunion, Mark Templeton and New Vision, In the Tradition, Eddie Gill and Grassmaster, Haley and the Boys, Southland and New Creations.

As usual, some of the best &uot;picking&uot; can be found off the stage in the parking lot or nearby campsites.

Hot and cold food, beverage and ice will be offered for sale. Craft, music and miscellaneous vendors are welcomed by calling Sue Darden at (757) 488-4886.

Being in the spirit of a true family festival, there will be no display of alcohol. Also, drugs and profanity are not allowed.

A three-day pass is priced at $50, or patrons can take advantage of one-day ticket prices ($15 for Thursday or $20 each for Friday and Saturday. There will be a $10 charge for those arriving after 7 p.m. on Saturday. Children, ages 12 and under, are admitted free with a paying adult.

Free camping (in the rough) is offered. There are limited electrical hook-ups offered for $12 per day. No pets are allowed in the concert area. Pets are permitted on the grounds, but they are to be on an attended leash. No ATV’s are allowed, but golf carts are okay.

Patrons are urged to bring lawn chairs. Tents will be provided for protection against the sun.

A portion of the net proceeds will be donated to Hertford County Rescue.