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Unicoi park celebrates folk life, art
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Folk Life Traditions

Featuring: Demonstrations by local artists, folk traditions and visiting artist Terrie Allen
When: Music Friday night, exhibiting artists Saturday and Sunday
Where: Unicoi State Park and Lodge, Ga. 256, Helen
How much: $5 parking
More info: 800-573-9659, ext. 305

Unicoi State Park and Lodge, which has been highlighting a local artist each weekend throughout the summer, will expand the program this weekend with a look at traditional folk art and crafts.

Folk Life Traditions opens Friday with a free 8 p.m. concert by Mulligan Stew, a traditional Irish band.

On Saturday, local artists and craftspeople will demonstrate and show their wares from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the lobby at Unicoi Lodge. Folk arts include spinning, basket making, chair caning, cider making, butter churning, folk toys, candle dipping and corn-husk dolls.

"On Saturday we'll have a basket maker, a lady spinning, (and a) dulcimer maker," said Jessica James, recreation director at Unicoi State Park. "So this weekend is a little different from our regular weekend, just because it's a special event."

Local crafters include David Little, who makes wooden bowls; basket maker Ike Stovall; toy maker Thomas Carr; and Charlie Potter, who makes dulcimers. There also will be dulcimer music by the Yonah Pickers, Nacoochee Pickers and The Samesels, a father-son dulcimer team.

Saturday night the traditional arts continue with a contra dance featuring The New Pot Luck String Band with a community square dance to follow.

Along with the traditional folk arts, jewelry maker Terrie Allen will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday as part of the park's visiting artist series.

Allen started with baskets but soon her talent for weaving reeds turned into weaving wire, and she has since progressed to working with sheet metal.

"Sometimes they do demonstrations," James said of the artists who visit the park each weekend from Memorial Day through November. "Every Saturday and Sunday we have a variety of artists. They range from watercolor artists to ... somebody who makes wooden bowls."