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Dulcimer Festival Wrap-Up, Mrs. Ash

July 21, 2023 - Dulcimer Festival Wrap-Up

Good Morning, Everyone!
I've spent this week in the shop, getting things cleaned up/cleared off the bench/removed from the various to-do lists. Why all the catch-up? Because it's been "go, go, go" the past month with preparations for Kentucky Music Week, then being away at the festival itself. Followed immediately by preparations for our Second Saturday Clinic with Bing Futch, then hosting the clinic. And lastly, preparations for the ODPC Funfest, then being away at that festival. Whew!
Dad, Cheyenne, and Dominic were busily working on instruments in my absence, and I have a small (ha! - hyperbole for sure!) backlog of dulcimers to lacquer, rub out, set up, and ship. I'm hoping to be caught up soon on repairs (instruments I brought back to Indiana from Kentucky and Michigan, plus dulcimers that have been shipped here directly), past-due instruments we've been building, and phone calls/emails I missed while on the road.
I absolutely couldn't run this business without the help of Dad, Cheyenne, and Dominic in the shop; Toya keeping the newsletters going; and Pam, with her organizational skills, plus all of the case-making, purchasing, and receiving she does every day. So, here's a huge THANK YOU to all of my behind-the-scenes folks. Many of you have met Dad and Pam in person (Dad at various festivals the past couple of years, or Pam if you've visited our shop in Woodburn, Indiana), but let me tell you this: They're all amazing at what they do!

richard ash dulcimer  builder
Richard with Aly at a festival

So anyway, last week was the final festival of the summer - the ODPC Funfest in Evart, MI. Evart is a couple of hours north of the capitol city of Lansing, MI, and in a very beautiful part of the state. Aly and I arrived at Evart on Wednesday afternoon, set up the display, and then came back Thursday morning to open the display for vending. So we were there from 8 AM until 6 PM, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I mostly did repairs (adding frets, changing strings, fixing cracked tops, etc.) and Aly mostly took care of our visitors. 
folkcraft vending at odpc funfest
Folkcraft vending space at the 2023 ODPC Funfest

Aly at ODPC Funfest
Aly Ash (far right) holding down the fort at the ODPC Funfest

It is always nice to go to a festival, since we get to see so many of our "met-you-here-x-number-of-years ago" friends, plus make some new friends. A lot of folks commented on how much they enjoy the newsletters every Friday morning. And quite a few of you brought your Folkcraft dulcimers for new strings, new frets, and even for "show-and-tell" time.
Here's a dulcimer that we built in March of 2007. Keep in mind that I bought Folkcraft from founder David Marks in January of 2007, and we had quite a bit of "set-up-the-new-workshop" down time in January and February... This was one of the very first dulcimers we made in Woodburn. It is a beautiful instrument and it was neat to see this one again. And, to note all the changes and improvements we've made to our dulcimer lineup since 2007.
2007 Folkcraft dulcimer
A 2007 Folkcraft dulcimer
I often get the question: "How do you get this huge display" (especially huge at KMW where Nancy lets us have lots and lots of display space) to a festival? Here's the answer:
Folkcraft van and trailer
Folkcraft van and trailer. How it all gets from here to there.
Our displays all measure 2-feet-deep by 4-feet-wide. I can fit eight displays in this trailer, plus the big 18-inch by 42-inch tool cart. The Evart festival is limited in available space, so I don't bring the full selection, but I did have the room to bring a good representative collection of instruments, cases, strings, and other items.

Next week I'll share a few more photos of the Funfest, then it'll be back to things going on in our workshop.

Thanks for reading, and have a great dulcimer-filled weekend!

Richard Ash, luthier-who's-spent-too-much-time-on-the-road-this-summer-and-is-happy-to-get-back-to-a-dulcimer-making-routine