Folklife Center celebrating Earth Day

via Matt Christian/ Princeton Times

earth dayEarth Day will return to southern West Virginia at the Appalachian South Folklife Center for the ninth consecutive year Saturday, April 26.

“Back in 2004, Robert [Blankenship] and I were working in Hinton and we just had a lot of the same passions and dreams,” Organizer Lori McKinney said Tuesday afternoon. “There was a man named Jack, I can’t remember his last name, he was one of the people that had been involved in the sixties and all throughout the decades.”

Jack was getting older and requested Blankenship, McKinney, and another girl to try to establish Earth Day in southern West Virginia.

“I don’t think we could see that far in the future when we started,” McKinney added.

The first year, the Earth Day celebration was held at a park in Hinton, moved to Concord University’s campus the next year before finding a permanent home at the Folklife Center.

“We knew we wanted an outdoor venue,” McKinney continued.

Now, approaching its 50th year in operation, the Folklife Center, became a perfect fit, offering outdoor activities, but a place to seek shelter should Mother Nature decide to rain on the festival.

In its 11th year, the Earth Day celebration is expected to include a puppet making workshop to help prepare for All Together Arts Week in May, yoga, a drum circle, a green art show and a gardening workshop.

Musical acts will include Option 22, Tim and Maggie Mainland, the Gin Mills, Melissa and Kayla McKinney, Carrie and Michael Cline and Maggie’s kids.

The festivities are expected to begin on April 26 at 11 a.m. at the Folklife Center near the Pipestem State Park. For more information and directions, visit

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