Poor Farm Bluegrass Festival Set To Return for Third Year of Family Entertainment


The Bolar Volunteer Fire Department will once again be offering up bluegrass music and family entertainment to help raise funds for a community cause.  The Poor Farm Bluegrass Festival in Warm Springs, Virginia returns Friday, August 17, 2018 and Saturday, August 18, 2018.  Mike Puffenbarger, one of the event organizers, has a rundown of what folks can expect.

Mr. Puffenbarger says, “This is the third year for the Poor Farm Bluegrass Festival, and we’ve been workin’ towards getting’ a rescue squad started there in the community.  We’ve got a pretty good need for it.  Although we don’t have a big population, we, at times, such as Maple Festival, and other times, have a lot of people in the area.”

Bolar Volunteer Fire Department members wish to collect enough funds to provide needed equipment for the department and in hopes of starting that future EMS.  Mr. Puffenbarger continues, “It’s all goin’ towards the rescue squad, fire department, trying to add on facilities so that we have room to house a squad, working with Highland County Rescue Squad right now providin’ training and some material and stuff there that we need, and even a squad, so we’re going to be blessed with that I think.”

On the first night of the event, musicians are invited to showcase their talent.  “On the 17th, Friday evening, we’ve got a musician competition, and we wanna keep this to, you know, front porch folks and the folks just like to play for fun, no professionals, and it’s individual guitar, fiddle, mandolin and banjo and then band competition,” says Mr. Puffenbarger.  “And the gates will open at 5 o’clock that evening.  Registration from 5:30 to 6:00, and music competition begins at 7:00, so we encourage folks to go online, www.poorfarmbluegrassfestival.com, and register there, so we know you’re comin’.  Now, there’ll be trophies, several trophies, awarded for the different categories and just lots of fun.”

On Saturday, a full lineup of bands will keep the music rolling on.  Mike continues, “We start out with our group, Eyes on Him, which is Gospel Bluegrass, and we are gonna be givin’ a little short introduction and openin’ the program up at 1 o’clock on Saturday, the 18th, and then the Page County Ramblers, they’ve been goin’ for almost thirty years, a great wonderful group that’s over in the Valley.  We come then with Blue Rock N Grass from Southern Virginia, a real exceptional hard driving bluegrass group, and Marteka and William, the young folks that does a lot of music from Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs’ days.  They’ve been there with us since we started.  They’re great, and after them, we’ll have Mark Templeton & Pocket Change, and our headliner this year is Big Country Bluegrass from Southern Virginia, and they got some top songs on the chart right now, a lot of wonderful songs, a great group, and we’re looking’ forward to having them with us this year.”

In addition, a Saturday BBQ Cookoff that will have the winners determined by certified Kansas City BBQ judges is planned, as well as several other activities to keep festival-goers of all ages entertained.   Mr. Puffenbarger concludes, “We’ve got a cornhole tournament starting Saturday, food all day.  Puffs BBQ will be there.  We have some vendors, and we encourage vendors to come, yard sale, flea market vendors, crafts.  We’ve got the State Police to do some demonstrations, the NWTF, National Wild Turkey Federation, trailer comin’ with BB gun shoots for young people to teach gun safety and marksmanship there with the BB guns.  Smokey Bear has been alerted.  He’s out of hibernation.  He’s supposed to be makin’ an appearance, along with a bunch of educational things.  It’s kinda like a mini-fireman’s carnival, is what we’re lookin’ to.  We’re gonna have some games, and I heard mention some bouncy houses for the kids and just a great time, alcohol-free, family event.

More information, including registration, directions and tickets, is available at www.poorfarmbluegrassfestival.com.

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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