Alice Phillips turns 90 today, and the nonagenarian is as sprightly as ever. She drives, lives independently and volunteers twice a week at the St. Petersburg Museum of History. The retired technical writing editor and chemistry major is doing quite well, thank you, but when it comes to the future of her favorite hobby, well, that's a concern. People are too busy these days, and too into technology.
"So many people say embroidery is a lost art," she said, "but it's not lost yet. We'll happily teach anyone how to do it."
Phillips is a member of the Heritage Stitchers, a group that meets weekly at Heritage Village to create designs and share techniques passed on by their foremothers.
Their delicate, detailed works, along with many other mementos of early Americana, will be on display Saturday as the 18th annual Pinellas Folk Festival returns to Heritage Village, a 21-acre living history museum operated by the county.
The embroidery show is just the tip of the needle when it comes to offerings at the festival, sponsored by the Pinellas County Historical Society. There are blacksmithing demos to watch, vintage games to play and antique cars to see.
Spinners and weavers will demonstrate their traditional crafts as music, song and the aromas of smokehouse meats fill the air.
"It's a full day of entertainment and activities for young and old," said Fran Johnson, president of the Pinellas Historical Society.
At the log cabin stage, children will be entertained by storytellers, musicians and Shana Banana. They can also learn to rope "cattle," make palmetto fans and build a fence.
Bluegrass, gospel and traditional folk music will emanate from a barn, church and schoolhouse and on the porches of historical buildings scattered throughout the village.
Shelley Eckert, the festival's music coordinator, said the entertainment "will be a combination of traditional and contemporary folk music. Each year we try to mix it up."
Enjoy the soothing sounds of an American Indian flute circle and dances by members of the Native American Dance Society of Florida in traditional attire.
New acts also include Mindy Simmons, 2PM, Doug Spears, Still Friends, Jubal's Kin, Windell Campbell, Dennis Devine and Mike Jurgensen.
Returning to the festival are Frank Thomas, Susan Boyer Haley, Bill Schustik, Juniper, Sweetwater Sisters, the Earthlings, Billie Noakes, Tymes Past, and the Remnants of Judah Ensemble.
Bring your banjo or other musical instrument for a finger-pickin' good time. Folk and bluegrass jam circles run all day long.
Food, drinks and recordings of performers' music will be for sale. The Heritage Village Gift Shop will also be open.
Don't forget to stop by the Pinellas Room and wish Phillips a happy 90th birthday. That's where she and her fellow stitchers will share their works and passion for embroidery.
"People think (embroidery) requires a lot of patience," Phillips said, "but it's really so interesting that once you start, you love it.
"You can't stop."