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Contact: Carol Borneman, (606) 248-2817, extension 1070
Local Musician, Teacher, and Student to Play Key Roles
Summer is upon us! Americans are packing up their cars for travels near and far! For many, the words proclaimed in 1916 by J. Horace McFarland, president of the American Civic Association will guide their travel: "The parks are the Nation's pleasure grounds and the Nation's restoring places.... The national parks...are an American idea; it is one thing we have that has not been imported."
Memorial Day Weekend visitors to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park will certainly find a pleasure ground and receive a five star visit with numerous family oriented programs being offered. Local musician Larry Goodwin will kick off the park's free campfire program series at the Wilderness Road Campground amphitheater on Saturday, May 28th at 8:00 p.m. as he presents "An Evening of Ragtime and Blues." Park Ranger Scott Teodorski, a musician himself, explains that Larry will lead visitors on a musical journey and chronicle how the fusion of African-American and local music styles heard in the Middlesboro, Kentucky saloons during its boom days of the 1890's led to the genre of Ragtime which influenced the blues. "With his extensive and delightful song repertoire, Larry will definitely entertain with quite a few tunes."
The Wilderness Road Campground is located in Virginia, two miles east of the Hwy 25E and Hwy 58 intersection. Visitors should proceed to the amphitheater, located at the end of loop C where parking is available. In case of rain, the program will be held at the national park visitor center, located on Hwy 25E, just south of Middlesboro, KY. This program is being co-sponsored by the Friends of Cumberland Gap.
"Honoring America's Warriors" to be held in the national park visitor center auditorium on Sunday, May 29th at 2:00 p.m. will showcase many national park areas which commemorate America's memorials and battlegrounds. This short "virtual visit" program choreographed by Middlesboro High School Math Instructor Luke Gilly will be narrated by 13-year old Coby Partin, son of Murile and James Partin and a student at Yellow Creek School Center. Mr. Gilly will begin his second summer in the National Park Service's Teacher Ranger Teacher program. Coby's teacher, Eva Potter, applauds Coby as the perfect choice in narrating such a powerful and provoking program. "Coby has been extremely inspired by President John F. Kennedy. He knows Kennedy's Inaugural Address by heart. When Coby said to me that he would one day be President, I replied 'You should, could and I would vote for you."
Throughout Saturday and Sunday at the visitor center, visitors will be awed by the work of artisan Arnold Moore as he showcases his gift of creating birdhouses. Lynn Stanley, manager of Cumberland Crafts which is hosting the craft demonstration, describes Moore "as a modern day Geppetto." "With a twinkle in his eye and the greatest of care, Arnold takes bark and magically transforms it into fascinating birdhouses. It seems as though even the birds who reside in these bark mansions come under his spell." Moore will demonstrate each day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On Monday, May 30th, all fifty state flags will be flown proudly on the visitor center grounds. These flags were presented to the park by the citizens of Middlesboro, KY in a special parade of youth during the park's July 4th, 1959 dedication.
Park Superintendent Mark Woods extends an invitation to all to participate in the park's programs. "Hensley Settlement and Gap Cave tours are also well underway. Memorial Day weekend is a perfect time to visit the settlement as rhododendron, flame azalea and mountain laurel begin their dazzling blooming display. With the spring's tremendous rainfall, the cave too has been a real treat. Pools are filled to the brim and visitors have been having great views of cave salamanders and other critters." Superintendent Woods reminds visitors that national park programs are but an array of programs being offered in the area. "Folks can easily mesh national park programs with programs being offered at Kentucky's Pine Mountain State Resort Park and Virginia's Wilderness Road State Park. Visit all three 'pleasure grounds' and the weekend will certainly be one filled with memories."
For information on Cumberland Gap's Memorial Day weekend programs and Hensley Settlement and Gap Cave tour reservations, please call 606-248-2817, extension 1075.