Foliage, Tree Sitters Star in Appalachian Festival

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 6, 2005   View Article

Upwards of 75,000 people are expected to trek this weekend to a small New York town in the Appalachian Mountains to catch an eyeful of fall’s crimson, gold, and yellow leaves shimmering in the breeze.

And as the leaf peepers gaze into the sugar maple trees ringing the local elementary school, they’ll also catch the peculiar sight of people hanging out in the branches. These folks will be participants in the Cohocton Fall Foliage Festival’s trademark event: tree-sitting.

Storytelling Festival Keeps Mountain Tradition Alive

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 5, 2005   View Article

Long before the Internet, TV, movies, and radio, stories were told the old-fashioned way—around a fire. Now an annual Appalachian festival devoted exclusively to the art of storytelling is striving to rekindle the flame.

“We want people gathering again to share their stories,” said Jimmy Neil Smith, president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Why Firewalking Doesn’t Burn: Science or Spirituality?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 1, 2005   View Article

Each May in some northern Greek villages revelers walk barefoot across a bed of burning wood coals as part of a three-day celebration in honor of Saint Constantine and Saint Helen.

“They believe that the power of Saint Constantine—the religious power—allows them to do it and that that is a miracle,” said Loring Danforth, an anthropologist at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

“Manly” Games Mark Mongolian Independence Day

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 1, 2005   View Article

It’s the height of summer in Mongolia, and the nation is set to celebrate Eriin Gurvan Naadam, an annual Olympic-like festival where the so-called three manly sports of wrestling, horse racing, and archery take center stage.

The festival traces its roots to the 12th century, when the Mongols, led by Genghis Khan, established an empire that at its height stretched across nearly all of Eurasia.

In Scandinavia, Solstice Means Fun in the Midnight Sun

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 21, 2005   View Article

In the Northern Hemisphere, the longest days of the year have arrived. For Scandinavians that means one thing: Party time!

“It’s just a time when finally nature is awake and alive,” said Rose Marie Oster, a Swedish native and professor of Scandinavian studies at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Ramp Fests Add Flavor, Stench, to Appalachian Spring

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 29, 2005   View Article

On Sunday, Cathey Owens vows to give the ramps on her dinner plate to the first person who will take the onionlike herbs. With upward of 3,000 people expected to attend the 52nd annual Cosby Ramp Festival in Cosby, Tennessee, finding a taker should be easy.

“If you eat one, you’re going to stink, and the more you eat, the more you’re going to stink,” said Owens, who is helping to organize the annual event in Cosby.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach