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The sleepy hills and valleys that surround the little Wooley Creek School west of Cape Fair were certainly awakened  with the lively sounds of bluegrass and folk music at the 2006 annual bluegrass festival, October 13-15. It all began Friday afternoon with the Wooley Creek School History Celebration Day, Many folks came from near and far to visit old friends, see the little one room school and enjoy the toe-tappin', hand clapping bluegrass music of many local musicians. Folks enjoyed browsing through the school, looking at the framed photos and other memorabilia from the old school days at Wooley Creek.

Cyndi and Gary Stull provided an old fashioned campfire supper of ham 'n beans, cornbread, cobbler and cowboy coffee, all cooked over an open fire. All proceeds were donated to the school for the restoration project.

Friday evening was set aside for jammin' in the school with Kim and Jim Lansford, Oliver Foster, Tonya Lewis and Alison Neal while others took turns playing and singing bluegrass music on the outdoor stage. Author Tom Koob was there to autograph copies of his book, The History of Fishing on Table Rock Lake as well as his newly published book, Buried By Table Rock Lake. Both of these books prove to be interesting reading and include many stories about well known families in Stone and Taney counties. In addition to his books, Tom also brought along his guitar and joined the folks jammin' inside the school that evening. There was standing room only and everyone enjoyed the music late into the night.

Saturday events began at 10 a.m with performances all day and into the evening by The Millers, Route 66, The Lansfords, Brushy Creek, Timberline, Bright Water Junction, Lonesome Road, Missouri Mountain Gang, Creek's Arisin' and Missouri Boatride. A large crowd was on hand to enjoy the beautiful weather and listen to some great music. Great fare like ham and beans cooking over an open fire, as well as barbeque dinners during the day and evening added to the enjoyment.

The Stone County Historical Genealogical Society was represented by Elba Johnson and Joyce Henderson, who were on hand to talk with folks about Stone County history and offering for sale the history volumes that have been published. Tom Koob's books may also be purchased from the Society.

Sunday morning began inside the little school with a non-denominational worship service. Gary Stumpff was the guest speaker. Gary made a lasting impression when he arrived dressed in the proper attire for an old country preacher and driving his antique 1949 black Cadillac with a sign on the car that read "WOOLEY CREEK OR BUST". In his message, "Remember....and Pass It On", all were reminded that the life we have experienced should always be remembered and that it is vitally important for us to pass on the memories and lessons learned to the younger generations so those life stories will not be lost or forgotten. He said that the preserving of the Wooley Creek School is a good example of how future generations of young students can learn the history and hardships of being educated in the days when there was no electricity or indoor plumbing available. Special music for the service was provided by Larry Sifford, Justin Sifford and Oliver Foster.

Although Sunday skies were overcast and the temperature much cooler than the two previous days, it did not dampen the spirits of those who attended nor those who came to perform in the afternoon. One such person was Pastor R.C. "Happy" Hopper who arrived Sunday afternoon with a big smile and ready to entertain the crowd with his own special style of gospel music.  R.C., who pastors the Galena Community Church is a well known favorite in the area and always receives a warm and enthusiastic reception wherever he appears.

The last gospel group to perform was Missouri Boatride and they were joined by vocalist Sharon Bennett with some crowd pleasing favorites. Sharon was also given an enthusiastic round of applause when she played the banjo that she won at last year's festival. The afternoon events closed with the ringing of the old school bell by former student, 87 year old Earl Jones. The three day festival was once again declared a success with an even larger attendance than in 2005. Everyone agreed that it will become an annual event and plans were starting for 2007.

Dates for the 3rd annual Wooley Creek School Bluegrass Festival will be October 12-14, 2007.


© 2007 Jo Dunne
All Rights Reserved

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