From banjos and fiddles to conch shell horns and Tibetan bowls, the Pinellas Folk Festival at Heritage Village on Saturday promises to be a multicultural affair.
"I think sometimes folk festivals can be too narrow, maybe too Southern, when it comes to performers,'' said Rosemarie Kafer, president of the Pinellas County Historical Society, the fundraising arm for Heritage Village. "With this one, we really tried to bring in folk from around the world.''
As they've done for 21 years, members of the Historical Society are using the festival both as a fundraiser for Heritage Village, the county's living history museum, as well as to pay homage to the traditions of Florida through music, arts, crafts and storytelling.
"But this year we're also pulling in other places as well,'' Kafer said.
Among the dozens of performers, highlights include Evergreen performing English and Scottish folk songs; the Gulf Coast Enzianer Schuhplattler, a German dance group; and Duo Vida, which includes Spanish guitarist Teresa Arruza and Abasi Ote, who will bring out his collection of indigenous instruments including the Australian didgeridoo, Tibetan singing music bowls and American Indian rainsticks.
Ote will also perform a second time in a solo show, where he'll explain the origins of the instruments.
"Abasi and I have known each other through music for a while, but we began to start playing together last summer,'' explained Arruza. "Abasi and I have similar musical concepts, and when we perform, the music just flows."
And in a nod toward the American folk tradition, the festival also will include two jam sessions — one bluegrass and one folk — two performances by the Hammerhead Dulcimers Society, and stories from the Tampa Bay Area Storytellers, including Billie Noakes and Maureen Belote.
Demonstrations on early American life also will be ongoing throughout the festival. Inside the McMullen House, fiber artists will present "From Fleece to Shawl."
Members of the Largo Historical Society will be sharing their expertise in curing and smoking meats near the smokehouse.
Model train hobbyists, known as Four Men and Their Trains, will celebrate the history of the railroad in Florida at the Sulphur Springs Depot train station with their model trains on display.
"This festival is so important to us,'' Kafer said. "And we have made sure to include something for everyone.''
Piper Castillo can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4163.