Wednesday, October 17, 2018

TAUNY Marking 25 Yrs of Heritage Awards at Folklife Festival

Frasiers ConcertTAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, is set to host their TAUNY Folklife Fair: Celebrating 25 Years of North Country Heritage Awards on Sunday, October 28 from noon to 5 pm, with a closing concert by the Fraser Family Friends at 4:15 pm, at The TAUNY Center in Canton.

Over 25 years, TAUNY has recognized 129 individuals, groups, places, and events representing the array of traditions that make the North Country special. The Folklife Fair, held this year in place of TAUNY’s annual Salute event, will feature over thirty past award recipients and friends sharing their traditions with the community through demonstrations of material, visual, food, and musical arts, award-themed refreshments, and further hands-on activities and learning experiences.

Visitors will have a chance to square dance with the Adirondack Playboys; watch a live portrait-painting by Tug Hill artist Loretta Lepkowski; learn to take tricks playing Pedro with the Cooks Corners Schoolhouse crew; trace the intricacies of custom inlay work with Dave Nichols; sleuth the secrets of a perfect loaf of challah bread with Laini Kavaloski from Potsdam’s Congregation Beth El; and more. Kids will have a chance to learn about traditional arts from beadwork to fungus art through hands-on crafts. Musical and material arts presentations will abound, and guests can refuel throughout the event with North Country traditional foodways-themed sweets and savories. In the Folkstore, there will be features of Heritage Award-related products and publications. TAUNY is also publishing a special commemorative booklet – featuring the history of, reflections on, and a visual tour of the awards – that will be distributed to visitors at the event.

Featured intergenerational arts demonstrations will include Akwesasne Mohawk traditional artists Nanci Ransom and Carrie Hill (fancy baskets) and Glenn Swamp (utility baskets) demonstrating black ash splint and sweetgrass basket making. Eli Tracy and grandson will demonstrate blacksmithing alongside James Gonzalez, sharing his work in honor of the late John Scarlett. Historian Hallie Bond will show an Adirondack guide boat. Performances will include ballad singer Colleen Cleveland, storyteller Bill Smith, and fiddlers from NYS Grand Champion Don Woodcock, the Perkins Family, and Vince and Louise Boyea, to the rising talents of the Madstop Fiddlers (Potsdam) and the Osceola-based Fiddlin’ Future group. The afternoon of demonstrations and performances will culminate in a concert with the Fraser Family and Friends from 4:15 to 5 pm.

Alongside demonstrations and displays presented by award recipients and friends, there will be ongoing community-based activities including a knit-in, a wood-carving circle, and a traditional music jam; any who do these activities are invited to take part, and all visitors are invited to stop by during the event to watch, listen, or get a quick demo. Those interested in participating in one of these activities, should RSVP by Wednesday, October 24th to Camilla Ammirati at or (315) 386-4289.

This Folklife Fair kicks off a year of celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the North Country Heritage Awards program. For 25 years, much of the activity at TAUNY each year has been associated with the North Country Heritage Awards, a signature program started by TAUNY Founding Director Varick Chittenden in 1993 and inspired by TAUNY’s respect for the deep skills and knowledge of our region’s tradition bearers. The Folklife Fair will be followed by a 2019 major exhibit at The TAUNY Center exploring change and continuity in the traditions recognized by the North Country Heritage Awards program; a publication; updated digital presentations and productions; and additional programs featuring award recipients and others carrying on their traditions.

The TAUNY Center is located at 53 Main Street, Downtown Canton.

For further details and updates about the Folklife Fair, click here. If you have further questions or are interested in volunteering at the Fair or to help with preparations including refreshments, contact TAUNY Director of Research and Programs Camilla Ammirati at or (315) 386-4289.

Photo of Frasiers Concert provided.

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