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Florida folk legend Frank Thomas among the performers at the Pinellas Folk Festival Jan. 28 at Heritage Village


Party like it's 1912 as the Pinellas County Historical Society presents the 19th annual Pinellas Folk Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. This year is extra special: On Jan. 1, the county became a centenarian. "It's been 100 years since Pinellas declared its independence from Hillsborough County," said RoseMarie Kafer, president of the historical society and event organizer. "We want to get everyone excited about it and invite them to come out and see how people lived back then."

When Pinellas was created, the 38-mile long peninsula sandwiched between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico had just over 13,000 residents. (Now, more than 900,000 call Pinellas home.) The inhabitants farmed, fished and raised livestock. They spent their free time singing, dancing and playing music and simple games.

The county's 21-acre Heritage Village, dotted with historic homes and structures surrounded by natural pine and palmetto, is the ideal venue to re-create those simpler times.

For the Folk Festival, a donation of $5 is requested (children under 12 are free). Proceeds support future activities at Heritage Village.

Parking and a shuttle service are free. Follow signs to the parking lot entrance located on 119th Street. Handicapped parking and dropoff areas are located in the parking lot at 12211 Walsingham Road.

Feel free to bust a move as the bay area's top folk, gospel and bluegrass musicians perform. Delight in the ethereal sounds of the American Indian flute circle. Bring your own banjo or harmonica and join in with a folk or bluegrass jam band.

Enjoy storytelling, old-time games, a traditional fiber arts show, antique car displays, folk dancing, miniature trains and more.

Demonstrations include black-pot cooking, curing and preserving, spinning and weaving, as well as Morse code operations. There will be demonstrations of hand-crafted products.

When hunger strikes, savor ethnic fare such as Polish, Greek and Mexican, or choose good old American hot dogs and burgers.

Top it all off, just as granny did, with ice cream or a piece of pie.

Terri Bryce Reeves can be reached at