Jesse Stuart event set for weekend

Published 10:19 am Thursday, September 22, 2011

A writer’s legacy lives on through the admirers of his work and in the field of education.

Greenbo State Park in Greenup County, Ky., is having its annual Jesse Stuart Weekend Friday and Saturday.

Stuart (1906-1984), a 1954 Kentucky Poet Laureate, lived in Greenup County for the duration of his life. The weekend will include two tours to show lands that inspired Stuart’s work.

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Friday at 1:30 p.m. there will be a two-mile hike to Old Opps Cabin on Seaton Ridge. This setting inspired Stuart’s book “The Good Spirit of Laurel Ridge.” Jesse Stuart Foundation member Bud Vanzant will lead the tour.

At 7:30 p.m. Richard Saunders, a professor from University of Tennessee, will lecture about the relationship between Stuart and Harry Kroll, a professor Stuart had at Lincoln Memorial University.

A reception will follow the lecture.

Saturday at 9 a.m., JSF board member David Palmore and Stuart’s nephew Stacy Nelson will guide a bus tour through W-Hollows section of the county between Route 1 and 2 where Stuart dwelled. A group will go to the Jesse Stuart foundation and bookstore in Ashland, Ky., at 1:15 p.m.

Then at 7:30 p.m. retired teachers from Paris, Ill., Chuck Hand and Allen Englebright will present a slideshow. Both knew Stuart and went on a tour of W-Hollow and other sites with him in 1970.

During the weekend, JSF authors will be available to sign books and experts will evaluate copies of Jesse Stuart’s books.

“If you have an old Jesse Stuart book, we can tell you the value of the book,” Paul Verespy, Greenbo State Park recreation supervisor, said. “You may have a book that’s valuable.”

Stuart valued education and founded his namesake foundation to promote it and the culture of Appalachia.,

“(Our mission is) preserving the legacy of Jesse Stuart and the Appalachian way of life,” Jim Gifford, CEO of Jesse Stuart Foundation, said on the foundation’s website.

Verespy said most who attend the weekend are “in the field of education: teachers, professors and principals.”

Every activity is free and open to the public.

Stuart’s books are available for purchase all weekend from JSF Foundation members.