11.14.2018. Rendevous Festival with Nancy and Stephen by Nancy Siefert

 Overlooking Lake Cumberland.

Overlooking Lake Cumberland.

 John Tierney in Period Costume.

John Tierney in Period Costume.

 Old Time Jug Band.

Old Time Jug Band.


Last week my son, Stephen, and I headed over to the Rhodes Scholar Rendezvous Festival in Kentucky. Stephen was teaching a Dulcimer class there for five days along with two other teachers. Many people call it the Jabez Festival.  They hold it twice a year in Nancy, Kentucky: once in the spring and once in the fall.  It’s a wonderful festival directed by John Tierney and his wife, Lalana.  Its so beautiful there.  One afternoon we carpooled to a high point nearby overlooking Lake Cumberland and John gave us a  history of the area in period costume. With a short walk from the lodge you can also look out at Lake Cumberland.  

John is a really interesting naturalist.  He has done so much for the state of Kentucky that they gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award this year!  He knows everything about nature. On some days he gives walking tours in the afternoon.

In the evening, weather permitting, we jam on the large front porch that has rocking chairs. One evening an old time group puts on a show for us complete with dancing dolls. Another evening you can watch the Jean Ritchie movie “In The Cumberland’s” about her life story. Thursday evening is when the classes perform for us lead by their teachers. Then we have open stage to play something or tell a story.  At the end John leads a jug band handing out unusual instruments such as kazoos, washboards, Jews harp, etc. while John plays an autoharp. We sing along old time songs like Old Susanna or She’ll be coming around the mountain among others.  Sometimes we do a little jamming in the evening. 

One of the most interesting things to see and do is to go to this old-timey store they have nearby where you can find the most usual things that you can’t hardly find any more. At the festival it’s known as the Jabez Mall and they have the best creamy whip ice-cream. But it’s only available in the spring. 

You never go hungry with three meals a day, including a salad bar and snacks in the morning and evening.  Coffee is available 24 hrs. a day. 

When you go to this festival, you stay in a 4-H lodge that has rooms decorated with all different kinds of themes. 

At the spring festival they have four teachers and the fall three teachers. The classes are broken up into levels.

At the open stage Stephen and I were asked to play a duet of the old Hank Williams song, “Kaw-Liga”.  We can’t post it because it’s copyrighted, so I hope you enjoy these photos instead.

 Anne McFie taught the beginners this fall. Stephen watches in the background.

Anne McFie taught the beginners this fall. Stephen watches in the background.

 A picture of John Tierney in modern clothes accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

A picture of John Tierney in modern clothes accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.