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"Big Bear Hug"

"Big Bear Hug" Live Musical Theatre

Story by Nicholas Oldland
Musical adapted and directed by Cody Goeppner and Selena Muller

A Project ACORN event

Time:  12:00 noon to 12:30 and 1:30 to 2:00

FFF 2017 Big Bear HugSince July 16, children have been participating in high energy, fun-filled, Sunday-afternoon theater workshops learning the fundamentals of singing, acting, and dancing.  Led by Forest park graduates and siblings Cody Goeppner and Selena Muller, they participated in a range of activities including theater games, personal coaching, and creating props, costumes, and sets.  The workshops culminated in the preparation of a fun, original, musical adaptation written by Cody and Selena featuring the children’s story, “Big Bear Hug”, by Nicholas Oldland—a tale about a bear who loves to give big hugs to everything, including creatures bears are known to eat!  Going through the forest as a real tree hugger, he encounters a tough situation he must fix.  Join them to find out what the bear does to solve his problem and keep giving big bear hugs!

Last year one of the big hits for the children at the Folk Fest was the musical adaptation of "Ferdinand the Bull (The Musical)" led by Kris Lasher, Leah Robling, and Deb Abell.  The play played a major role in the eventual public mural art painted by muralist Lisa Marie Thalhammer on her cousin Keith Fritz's building at 1440 Main.  Coincidentally, a major animated film by Blue Sky Productions and 20th Century Fox adapted from the classic children's story and simply titled Ferdinand is set for release on December 15.  The Project ACORN and Folk Fest committees are grateful that Cody and Selena are leading another original theatre performance for this year's festival.

Cody recently moved back to his hometown, Ferdinand, to manage his family’s business, Muller True Value Hardware.  He spent the last five years professionally performing and directing Broadway-style productions in Kansas City, MO.  His sister, Selena, has most recently managed an organic horse farm in upstate New York. Selena has performed in several productions in leading and supporting roles. This fall, she is pursuing studies in equestrian arts.  Both are excited to be involved in this endeavor promoting the arts in the community.

Ferdinand's Project ACORN is an all-volunteer, all-ages, community outreach program--standing for Art, Community, Originality, Rhythm, and Nature--that grew out of the spirit of the Ferdinand Folk Festival.  Each season community-minded citizens offer 15 free workshops, hikes, documentary film nights, discussion groups, theatrical events, field trips, classes, musical instrument-making classes, concerts, and more.  So far, in the first 15 months of the program, 74 events have been offered by dozens of area enthusiasts, reaching hundreds of people. Stay tuned for the exciting announcement of the 15 autumn offerings in the coming weeks. For more information about Ferdinand's Project ACORN, visit https://www.facebook.com/ferdinandprojectacorn/.

Lil' Rexing's Animal Petting

Lil' Rexing's Animal Petting

Time:  4:30 - 6:30 pm ET
Location:  Lower shelter house

Pancho Joe.  Esther.  Apple.  Hope.  Skunky Brewster.  Brand new to theThese five beloved furry friends will make a special guest appearance to meet children from 4:30 to 6:30 in the lower shelterhouse at this year's Folk Fest.  These four miniature farm animals--and one friendly skunk--enjoy meeting and being held or petted by gentle hands.  Parents are encouraged to accompany their children and to ensure kind handling of the animals.

Meet the animals:

FFF 2017 Lil Rexings Poncho Joe donkeyPancho Joe  

Pancho Joe is a miniature gray donkey sporting a dark cross on his back. Pancho Joe hee-haws when people leave him. He is a loving little donkey who is about four years old.




FFF 2017 Lil Rexings Esther sheepEsther

Esther is a Southdown sheep. She is five years old and weighs 175 whopping pounds. Esther is everyone's friend and loves to eat, but hates getting her hair cut (sheared).


FFF 2017 Lil Rexings Apple ponyApple 

Apple is a miniature Shetland pony. She is getting close to 20 years old.  She is the princess of the farm. She stands her ground and will stand up to Lil' Rexing's biggest horse. Apple enjoys being petted and giving small children under 50 pounds a pony ride.


FFF 2017 Lil Rexings Hope goatHope  

Hope is a black and white pigmy goat. She is three years old and is also the aunt to a baby goat on the farm. Hope loves to play on her playground.


FFF 2017 Lil Rexings Skunky Brewster skunkSkunky Brewster  

Skunky is a two-year-old descented skunk weighing in at 10 pounds.
Research shows that the mutual benefits of children holding and petting animals are significant. The contact often has a calming effect upon children and teaches them to love and respect the animals; the animals also get joy and comfort from being petted and loved.


Lil' Rexing's Pony Express is small family-owned farm run by the Rexings (mom, dad, and two children) on ten acres on the far west side of Evansville, Indiana. On the farm live a small community of animals that children can visit, pet, and ride (the pony). The farm--open year-round--provides a loving environment for the animals. Appointments are required. The family provides off-farm parties and on-farm parties including pony rides, petting opportunities, and a playground. Lil' Rexing's generally book parties eight to ten weeks in advance.

For more information, visit  https://www.facebook.com/LilRexings/ and /or call Jamie Rexing at 812-985-3175 and leave a message.
Related article: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2012/03/09/146583986/pet-therapy-how-animals-and-humans-heal-each-other

Stir-N-Up Hope Horse Rides

Stir-N-Up Hope Horse Rides

Time:  All day  11:00 am ET - end time TBD
Location:  South of lower shelter house

FFF 2017 Stir N Up Hope Horse and ChildSouth of the lower shelter house at the Folk Fest, children will again have the fun opportunity to ride a horse with the service organization Stir-N-Hope. The horses names are Jellybean, Leroy, Lady, and Noodles, and according to caretaker Alison Treat, "They are all gentle, kind souls, and they enjoy giving people rides."
Stir-N-Up Hope is a local not-for-profit that provides free therapeutic riding sessions for individuals with special needs. Their mission--"through love, guidance, time, and prayer, they can stir up the hope inside of each student and accomplish goals once thought impossible."
Stir-N-Up Hope helps individuals of all ages who might be dealing with muscular dystrophy, paralysis, emotional disabilities, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, learning disabilities, hearing impairments, mental illness, visual impairments, autism, Down's Syndrome, amputations, brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, Rett Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder, depression, and more. Physically, the gentle movement of a supervised ride on a horse develops muscle tone, control, and balance. Horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves their bodies in a manner similar to normal human walking. Emotionally and mentally, the relationship a rider develops with a horse builds confidence, self-esteem, motivation, patience and the realization between cause and effect. The love the rider experiences from the horse encourages the rider to not only trust the horse but to rely on it. So they can accomplish the rider’s goals together.
The program is seasonal, running from spring to fall. Riders are taught to groom, tack, lead, ride, and games are incorporated to work on areas of specific need. Riders experience control of direction, speed, and an all-time favorite--the woods . . . places they may have never been able to go if it had not been for the horse. A horse’s warm disposition draws out the desire in the rider to try new things and overcome fears.
In addition to providing enjoyment for children, the rides at the festival will promote awareness of Stir-N-Up Hope and serve as a fundraiser to support the program's valuable work. Rides will be $5.00 per child, and $2.00 to pet a horse. For children ages 6 and under, the parent can walk alongside the child. Brochures and information about the program will be available. Some riders in the program as well as volunteers and parents will be present if people want to ask more questions or get information and just meet who they are helping.
Stir-N-Up Hope's barn is on CR 250 W in southern Spencer County. Their meetings are normally held in the small back room of the Spencer County Youth and Community Center at the Spencer County 4-H Fairground in Chrisney, Indiana, unless otherwise noted. For more information, visit and/or contact Alison at 812-367-2436.

"Learning to Fly"

"Learning to Fly"

The Talon Trust, Raptor Rescue/Rehab Program
Time:  12:30 - 1:15 pm ET
Location:  Lower shelter house

FFF 2017 Talon Trust OwlChildren and adults will enjoy an interactive personal experience with live raptors--a falcon, an owl, and possibly a hawk. The Talon Trust, Inc., returning from last year and based in Evansville, IN, serve the southwestern Indiana region. Volunteers will share stories of birds that have been injured and can’t survive in the wild, and now serve as ambassadors for their species. The Talon Trust, Inc., is a local volunteer-based organization dedicated to the conservation of native raptors through rescue, rehabilitation, and education.

FFF 2017 Talon Trust HawkOperations are made possible through public individual and corporate donations, grants, and program fees. Volunteers operate all rescues and programs out in the community. All birds are cared for which currently are housed on private property, and the organization currently does not offer public tours. Funding goes toward helping to feed and care for the injured birds as well as outreach programs. The Talon Trust is a 501c3 pubic charity, and donations are tax-deductible.
For more info, visit http://thetalontrust.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/thetalontrust/.

Area Singer-Songwriters to Kick Off 2017 Folk Fest

20170819 210456On the NextEra Energy Main Stage on Saturday, September 16, in beautiful 18th Street Park, eleven outstanding area singer-songwriters will kick off the 2017 Ferdinand Folk Festival with a round of their original songs. The third annual Singer-Songwriter Showcase Saturday night, August 19, featured these artists in the Forest Park Jr.-Sr. High School Auditorium. Their music inspired, moved, and humored the audience, and the committee is excited that everyone will be able to see them again next month.
From left to right, Steven Wagler, Joel Curtis, Matt Colson, Anna Wrasse, Clayton Schroeder, Hayley Payne, Toby Ellis, Tonya Buckler, Edward Burch, and Rick Burch. Missing from photo are Dawn Keller and Art the Dude (Art Woodward).
Special thank you to Showcase MCs Charlotte Olson and Joy Holt from WBDC, FM 100.9, a founding sponsor of the festival.

FFF printable schedule sm