JOHN ROGER SIMON SORGHUM FESTIVAL
Festival Details - "JOHN ROGER SIMON SORGHUM FESTIVAL"...
Start: Saturday, October 1, 2022 10:00AM
End: Sunday, October 2, 2022 4:00PM
Arc of Appalachia (nonprofit nature preserve system)
Nancy Stranahan (937) 365-1489
JOHN ROGER SIMON SORGHUM FESTIVAL RETURNS TO SCIOTO COUNTY
Portsmouth, Ohio – The Arc of Appalachia is pleased to announce the return of the John Roger Simon Sorghum Festival. After running for 37 years, the annual festival was thought to be permanently retired as an inevitable consequence of its aging organizers. After a three-year hiatus, the non-profit Arc of Appalachia and festival founder, John Simon, have collaborated to bring the Sorghum Festival back to life for its 38th run, to be held on the weekend of October 1 & 2, 2022, outside West Portsmouth on Carey’s Run-Pond Creek Road.
The Appalachian celebration takes place on Simon’s historic well-preserved 5th-generation French homestead on the banks of Pond Creek, framed by the farm’s 500-plus acres of forested Appalachian hills. The event features the making of sorghum syrup, heritage crafts demonstrations, country food, and musicians playing traditional Appalachian music.
“We are thrilled to team up with John to resurrect this beloved event,” said Nancy Stranahan, Director of the Arc of Appalachia. “John has spent his entire life building pride and raising awareness of the richness of our Appalachian culture, and we are proud to continue the legacy of his work.”
The heart of the festival is the making of sorghum syrup, an Appalachian tradition since the 19th century. Festival-goers will see the entire process, from the cutting of the cane in the field, to the pouring off of the finished syrup. John Roger Simon, now 86, shared, “Sorghum-making is a sensory experience. The smell of sweet sorghum steam rolling off the evaporator pan transports many of our older visitors right back to their childhoods.”
Old-time musicians from around the region will once again wend their way to the festival to linger for just a few hours or stay the entire weekend. Music erupts unpredictably from impromptu jamming circles, showcasing all kinds of traditional stringed instruments. Artisans will also gather at the farm to demonstrate rural heritage crafts, like corn husk dolls and wheat weavings, and rural life skills that persisted longer in Appalachia than the rest of the nation, such as spinning wool and quilting.
Stranahan encourages visitors to the farm to tune in to the deep connection between nature and Appalachian culture. “The Sorghum Festival also honors the splendor of the Appalachian forests and landscapes that inspired the Appalachian peoples,” says Stranahan. “John Simon’s farm is extraordinary in that he has preserved hundreds of acres of mature white oak woodlands, Forests in Ohio are hardly ever this old. In every context, John has dedicated his life to preserving the past.”
Simon hopes people will come hungry! Hot dogs with Bea’s homemade hotdog sauce and chips, bean soup with cornbread, and a variety of sorghum-sweetened baked goods will be available throughout the event. Sorghum syrup will be sold as long as supplies last.
Parking and admission are FREE.
Address: John R. Simon Farm, 8721 Pond Creek-Carey's Run Road, West Portsmouth, Ohio 45663
Farm Hours: Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, visit our website at www.arcofappalachia.org.
About the Arc of Appalachia: Founded in 1995, the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System is a non-profit organization dedicated to land preservation. Their work includes acquiring and stewarding wildlands in the Ohio region; creating sanctuaries where people can connect with the natural world; teaching about our forest heritage to inspire a global conservation ethic; and honoring our indigenous legacies. The Arc protects and manages more than 8,000 acres of nature preserves in 24 preserve regions in Appalachian Ohio.
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