The ascending voice of a fiddle, accompanied by a lighthearted chorus of dulcimers and banjos, could be heard on Friday overflowing from the top of the hill that overlooks Reagan Park.
At the same time, cars could be seen lining both sides of nearby streets – having just carried a couple hundred musicians from across the country to gather this weekend at the Museum for East Texas Culture.
The hilltop museum is the site of the 13th Annual Palestine Old Time Music and Dulcimer Festival, which kicked off Thursday and lasts through today, during the second weekend of the Dogwood Trails Celebration.
The annual festival draws lovers and makers of “old time music” – a genre of North American folk music – to fill aged halls with fresh sounds through workshops, jamming sessions and nightly concerts.
Margaret Wright of Kennard, who founded the festival with her husband Jerry in 2002, said she was pleased with the turnout and overall energy of the festival this year.
“We’ve had a good turnout so far in spite of the weather,” she said. “We have a building full of people. Right now, we have workshops going on all during the day, and jam sessions and concerts” – which make for a lot of “hooping and hollering and carrying on,” she added.
Wright said the festival brings together “such wonderful musicians” for a weekend of music-making in the prime location of the old museum.
“The museum staff here and people have asked us from time to time, 'What if the festival ever got too big for the museum, numbers-wise?' and we said, 'Well, we’ll just start taking reservations, because we’re not moving out of this building.' This is like a huge part of what the feeling of the whole festival is, being in this old building.