GRAVEL SWITCH — Authors and entertainers from across the state will converge on this small hamlet to celebrate Kentucky Writers Day.
Presented by Historic Penn’s Store since 1997, the weekend event celebrates the “written word,” Kentucky writers and the commonwealth of Kentucky’s official Writers Day. Host sites for the 2012 KWD celebration are Eddie Montgomery’s Steakhouse, Harrodsburg; West T. Hill Community Theatre, Danville; and Historic Penn’s Store, located three miles southeast of Gravel Switch.
Poets, authors, writers, journalists, playwrights and songwriters of varying genres — folk, country, roots, bluegrass, rock, blues, jazz, gospel — will be in continuous performance throughout the three-day weekend event. The entire weekend event is free to the public. All the people connected in organizing this special celebration weekend, all the host sites, all the participants — poets, authors, writers, playwrights, songwriters, musicians — including Special Guests, give of their talents and time “free”ly.
The weekend kicks off Friday at Eddie Montgomery’s Steakhouse, Harrodsburg, with non-stop performances by songwriters (solos, duos, combos, bands) performing originals as well as favorites at the Songwriters Tribute Showcase. Hours are 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Emcee for the evening is Andy Colley of 100.9 MIKE FM in Lebanon/Springfield/102.7 WYSB Bardstown/K Country 105.7 Greensburg/Campbellsville.
Noted Kentucky author Pam Whinnery will be on hand to do a book signing of her bestseller, “Favorite Recipes of Kentucky Celebrities,” from 6 to 9 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, readings and performances by noted authors, poets, playwrights and songwriters will be at West T. Hill Community Theatre. Included are: noted author of “Famous People I Have Known,” Ed McClanahan; Kentucky Living Magazine’s Paula Sparrow; award-winning playwright Liz Orndorff; historian and author of “Perryville Under Fire: The Aftermath of Kentucky’s Largest Civil War Battle” Stuart Sanders; author of bestseller “Favorite Recipes of Kentucky Celebrities” Pam Whinnery; author Linda Prather, who will discuss “How Meditation Can Help Ease Stress.”
Emcee for the day is Hershel McKinley, veteran radio broadcaster in both Kentucky and Ohio.
At 5:30 p.m. Saturday, the second night of the Songwriters Tribute Showcase will be held at Eddie Montgomery’s Steakhouse. Special Guests in performance include bluegrass legends Blyde and Marie Denny and The Cumberland Mountain Band at 8:30 p.m.; international entertainer and star of a 1970s and ’80s rock group Gary Edwards and Sage, at 9:45 p.m.; and a special concert by Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour’s Michael Johnathon at 9 p.m.
Emcees for the evening are: Larry Sanders, veteran musician/entertainer and host of Harrodsburg’s “Local Artist Spotlight” on 1420 WHBN The Rooster; and Jim Powell, veteran musician and entertainer.
The final day, April 22, is being held at Historic Penn’s Store. Special guests for the day include Maurice Manning, one of two finalists for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; Dr. H.R. Stoneback of SUNY, New Paltz, N.Y., who will present the Kentucky premiere reading from “Voices of Women Sionging,” Stoneback’s new volume of poetry and memoir; Christina Lovin, poet, author, and two-time Pushcart nominee and multi-award winner; Carolyn Crabtree, genealogist, writer, author; Nicky Reynolds, new director of Lebanon-Marion County Tourism as well as an accomplished writer and lyricist; Matt Nickel and members of the Elizabeth Madox Roberts Society present the world premiere of “Kentucky: Poets of Place.”
Emcee for the day is James F. Spragens, manager of Historic Myrtledene, Lebanon, an accomplished writer and one of the 1988 Marion County High School students that drafted the bill designating April 24 “official” writers day for Kentucky.
Anyone wishing to bring an original writing, poem or song to share is most welcome to do so. Food and snacks will be available for purchase, as will books and spring plants and herbs.
For a complete list of the 2012 Kentucky Writers Day celebrities, including photos and bios, the performance schedule for each venue event, and other info, go to www.PennsStore.com.