Sentinel Progress

“Banjo Extravaganza” at Hagood Mill

PICKENS — Saturday, July 21, at the Hagood Mill Historic Site, an educational event will trace the long history of the banjo from its earliest beginnings as a gourd instrument in Africa to today’s modern-day cousin, which we all recognize.

Guests can witness the rich history of sounds, songs and playing styles that have evolved along with this instrument for hundreds of years.

“If you’ve ever wondered what’s the difference between picking styles such as clawhammer, two-finger, three-finger, or roll picking, you need to come to Hagood Mill on July 21 and see for yourself,” said Director of the Mill, Billy Crawford. “We have assembled a wonderful team of banjo musicians who will guide us throughout the day on this magical musical journey.”

Performers include Bob Buckingham (Blue Ridge Rounders), Owen Grooms (Pretty Little Goat Sting Band), Mark Queen, Michelle Turner, Andy Brooks, Samantha Morgan, Dean Watson and other special guests, he said.

This live music event will begin around 11:30 a.m., grounds open at 10 a.m. All styles of banjos will be on display and may be viewed inside our circa 1918 family barn throughout the day.

The gristmill and other demonstrations will be running from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“As always, we encourage visitors to bring their favorite old-time instruments and join in the open jam, which takes place throughout the day under the ancient cedar beside our beloved 1791 log cabin,” said Crawford.

Admission is free to both the Hagood Mill Site and the Hagood Creek Petroglyph Site; however, there is a $5 parking fee, which is used to help offset the costs for Hagood Mill events.

So, pack up the car, head on out, and don’t forget to bring a lawn chair or blanket.

Not into banjos? No worries. There will be lots of other things to see on July 21 as Hagood Mill hosts a variety of folk-life and traditional-arts demonstrations.

“There will be blacksmithing, bowl-digging, flint knapping, chair-caning, moonshining, broom-making, basket making, pottery, quilting, spinning, bobbin lace, knitting, weaving, wood-carving, metalsmithing, leatherworking, beekeeping demonstrations and more,” said Crawford. “You can ask questions of the artists and make a purchase of their traditional arts to take home.”

As always, the centerpiece of the Hagood Mill historic site is the water-powered 1845 gristmill.

“It is one of the finest examples of nineteenth century technology in the Upcountry and operates just as it has for the last century and a half,” Crawford said. “The mill will be running throughout the day.”

In the old mill, fresh stone-ground cornmeal, grits and wheat flour will be available. In addition, rye flour, Basmati rice flour, oat flour, oatmeal, popping-corn meal and grits, organic yellow cornmeal and grits and buckwheat flour are often produced and may be available.

Hagood Mill cookbooks and a variety of other mill related items are also available, he said.

“There promises to be lots to do and lots of fun,” said Crawford. “So, come on out, share a picnic, or enjoy a great meal on site from one of our great food trucks and enjoy a special day at the Hagood Mill.”

The Hagood Mill historic site is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. all year long. The Mill operates, rain or shine, for a special festival the third Saturday of every month.

Hagood Mill is just three miles north of Pickens off Highway 178 W or 5 ½ miles south of Cherokee Foothills Scenic Hwy 11 just off Highway 178 E at 138 Hagood Mill Road.

For additional information about this event, including vending opportunities, please contact the Hagood Mill Historic Site at (864) 898-2936, visit us on Facebook.

Hagood Mill is hosting an educational event to trace the long history of the banjo. Mill is hosting an educational event to trace the long history of the banjo. Courtesy photo

Staff report