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23rd Festival for the Eno
The Festival for the Eno began 23 years ago as a celebration of a river that was threatened by damming and development. The festival had one immodest goal: to save the Eno. This year, the Eno River Association has the opportunity to buy a 12-acre tract of riverfront property within view of the Occoneechee Mountain. Funds raised from the fest will help support the purchase of this land and protect the streams that flow through it to the Eno. From July 3-7, along with all its demonstrations, performances and family-oriented activities, the festival brings to the banks of the Eno a hoard of talented bands and artists, including blues, folk, Americana, Latin, old-time and pure country. The fest's three music stages will host acts Thursday through Sunday starting at 10 a.m. and continuing on through early evening. This year, along with returnees and local favorites like high lonesome warbler Thad Cockrell & the Starlight Country Band, Apple Chill Cloggers, the Jon Shain Trio, Bluegrass Experience and hot young pickers The Steep Canyon Rangers, check out Asheville's Scrappy Hamilton.

Led by Scott Kinnebrew, Scrappy Hamilton (pictured) calls their free-spirited swing music "Stomp Rag Boogie." Listen closely to the band's original tunes and you'll pick out references to ragtime, Hot Club-style jazz, New Orleans R&B, klezmer music, shuffle and even "Appalachian snake handling diddies," played by guys who grew up with a rock 'n' roll sensibility. Besides touring up and down the East Coast, when these cats pull into town they'll hit the street and busk, playing a pre-show acoustic set. If you don't catch either of their two Eno Fest shows, they'll be at The Cave in Chapel Hill Friday, July 5, and at The Pour House in Raleigh Saturday, July 13. There will also be a Spoken Word Stage and the Otter Stage at the Eno Festival, featuring perennial favorites storyteller Louise Omoto Kessel and the Alberti Flea Circus. You can also see the wares of North Carolina potters, jewelers, painters, welders and carvers. Special activities include Vertical Edge climbing walls, hands-on clay making, and face painting. For tickets and information call 477-4549 or visit festival@enoriver.org. (To volunteer to work the festival, call 471-5008 or e-mail volunteer@enoriver.org.)

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