The incomparable oyster shucking sisters Deborah Pratt and Clementine Macon faced off this weekend at the Richmond Folk Festival in a race to see who would be the first to shuck two dozen oysters. For the second consecutive year, Deborah won the battle royal by three oysters. Their much anticipated third showdown, dubbed “Oyster Shucking Smackdown III,” drew record crowds. Though the promoters claimed this would be their final match, much like the historic trilogy of Ali and Frazier, might there be one more throw down in the River Town in 2013? Stay tuned.
To commemorate this epic battle, the Virginia Folklife Program collaborated with the Virginia Arts of the Book Center (VABC) to create a hand-pressed classic fight poster designed and printed by master printer Garrett Queen and his apprentice Lana Lambert. One hundred limited edition hand-printed posters will be on sale at the festival, with all proceeds benefiting the Folklife Program. View the slideshow below to see the making of this poster at the VABC:
Also on the Richmond Times-Dispatch/Virginia Folklife Stage, we will feature Virginia’s winners of the National Heritage Awards, the highest honor the U.S. government can bestow upon a traditional artist. Virginia boasts an astonishing number of Heritage Fellows, and our stage will feature performances by and tributes to Mike Seeger, Wayne Henderson, the Paschall Brothers, John Cephas, Jesse McReynolds, John Jackson, Flory Jagoda, Janette Carter, Joe Wilson, Frank Newsome, and Ralph Stanley. For photos, videos, and more on the Heritage winners, click here.
The Virginia Folklife Craft Area will showcase traditional flavors of the Commonwealth by featuring Virginia’s agricultural traditions from various aspects and uses of such food products as apples, corn, maple sugar, peanuts, hams, and others. Festival visitors will be able to witness firsthand the work and processes behind many of the foods that have graced Virginia tables for generations, and interact with many of today’s masters of these working traditions, including Jay Eagle (maple sugar), Gail Hobbs-Page (cheese), Bill Savage (Indian corn meal), Clyde Jenkins (heirloom apples), Dee Dee and Tommy Darden (country ham), Frances Davis (fried apple pies), Albemarle Ciderworks (hard cider), Jimmy Boyd (moonshine still demonstration), the Virginia Peanut Growers Association (peanuts), and Dudley Biddlecomb (oysters). Deborah and Clementine will be on hand shucking throughout the weekend.
The Richmond Folk Festival takes place October 12-14 in downtown Richmond along the banks of the James River, on Brown’s Island, and at the Tredegar Civil War Center. The festival is free and open to the public.