Kurt Dewhurst has spent much of his career immersed in cultural studies.
“I have always been interested in the boundaries between art, art history and literature,” said Dewhurst, the director of arts and cultural initiatives for University Outreach and Engagement. “At its heart, the Great Lakes Folk Festival is designed to be an educational experience.”
He said there had never been an effort to document the folk traditions of Michigan before he began to research them, so Dewhurst wrote a grant to support his study of Michigan’s cultural history.
And from an exposition of Dewhurst’s studies blossomed the Great Lakes Folk Festival.
For the 12th year, the festival is taking over downtown East Lansing from Aug. 9-11 to showcase Michigan traditions.
“It really grew out of the fact that we mounted a small festival to show the research and work we were finding,” said Dewhurst, also a curator for the MSU Museum. “Now we have everything from showcasing the cherry industry and cherry picking to ice fishing traditions.”
Dewhurst said this year’s festival participants should look forward to more interactive activities with band members. He is pleased a lot of people plan their summer holidays around the festival for the chance to participate.
“It really is a remarkable showcase of cross-cultural experience,” Dewhurst said. “It’s been gratifying to see the festival take on a life of its own.”