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Appalachian Family Folk Week, held each June on the campus of Hindman Settlement School, is an event Jean Ritchie looks forward to each year. Participants from across the Appalachian region come to take classes in traditional mountain folkways such as music, dance, crafts, and storytelling.

Generally held during the second week of June, tuition plus room and board for a week at the workshop is $600 for adults (17 and older) and $200 per child (ages 4-16). Children age 3 and under attend free. Tuition alone is half the quoted fees. There are fee adjustments for families, depending on how many members of a family attend.

“It’s a place where you can come and bring your family,” Ritchie explains. “They have teachers and activities for kids, they do wonderful lessons in instruments and ballads and where the songs come from.”

As the master artist during the residency, Ritchie holds a special place of honor among her fellow staff and the participants.

“Jean brings a presence that no one else can bring to the week,” says Mike Mullins, executive director of the school and a longtime friend of Ritchie’s. “Her breadth of experiences and knowledge is something you cannot duplicate, and her willingness to continue to share is invaluable to the week.”

Mullins notes there is a concert each night, Sunday through Friday, of the workshop, free and open to the public, followed by a dance. “More community people attend her evening concert than any other concert during the week. She is a living legend and being in her presence is something to treasure.”

For more information on Appalachian Family Folk Week at Hindman Settlement School, go online to, e-mail to request to be on the mailing list, or call (606) 785-5475.

To read the Kentucky Living November 2008 feature that goes along with this supplement, go to Jean Ritchie: Kentucky’s National Treasure

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