Hugh Byrd (left) and Don Burger (right) spend time in downtown Jonesborough strumming on their dulcimers at the start of Dulcimer Days.

By LISA WHALEY

Publisher

lwhaley@heraldandtribune.com

Hugh Byrd may be a maker of dulcimers, but he admits he doesn’t really know how to play them.

Thanks to this week’s Dulcimer Days in Jonesborough, however, that may be about to change.

“I’ve made seven of them,” Byrd said, sitting in front of the Eureka Inn in downtown Jonesborough with festival organizer Don Burger as they tried out the instruments. “I did a workshop in Kingsport about four or five years ago. But I don’t play. I’m trying to learn to play.”

Byrd is exactly the type of visitor Burger is hoping to see at this seven-day music and craft festival that concludes Sunday.

Only in its third year, the Dulcimer Days has continued to grow each spring, this year emphasizing not only dulcimer experts and newbies, but also interested crafters.

“This is it,” Burger said with a big smile, motioning to the handful of folks who had gathererd around the music Monday afternoon. The first couple of years, he said, he would set up on Main Street and people would stop by on their way to something — lunch or an appointment

“This is the first time I’ve set up and they have come to me,” he said.

A resurgence of dulcimers definitely seems to

be at hand.  From more individuals picking up the Jonesborough Senior Center class on dulcimers taught by Burger — a class he encouraged Byrd to join — to a growing number of private lessons to the delight shown on the faces of passers by, dulcimers seem to be captivating more enthusiasts.

“There have been hundreds of people who have built them and not even played them,” Burger said with a shake of his head.“There is something about the shape. It’s hard for people to describe why they are drawn to them but they are.”

While this year’s  festival also features lots of hands-on crafting opportunities to add addtional flavor to downtown Jonesborough — and Burger encourages everyone to savor each opportunity provided —  there is no doubt what remains the star.

“There is something about this instrument,” Burger said. “And this is the opportunity for it to come out of the wordwork and become part of our everyday lives again.”

Below is a repeat of  the Dulcimer Days schedule through Sunday.

Wednesday, May 16

Noon – 1 p.m. Renaissance Strings of Kingsport, Storytelling Plaza

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Cloudland Dulcimer Circle of Roan Mountain

Hands On Drawing/Painting: Caroline Lowery, Mauk’s Corner, 101 West Main Street

7 – 8:30 p.m., Soothing Evening Dulcimers: Don Burger, Carol Cerniauskas, Eureka Inn, 127 W Main Street

Thursday, May 17

2-4 p.m. Make Your Own Pottery: Noriah Shaw, Stephanie Nichols, Boone Street Market , 101 Boone Street

2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Hands On Drawing/Painting: Tom Root, Root Studio, 139 1/2 East Main Street

2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Musical Appetizers: Don Burger, Downtown Sweet,  137 East Main Street

5 – 8 p.m. Tasty Guitar and Dulcimer Music: Phil Ling, Don Burger, Evening Market, Boone Street Market,  101 Boone Street

Friday, May 18

12:30 – 1:30 p.m., Needle Felting Demonstration: Deb Burger

1:30 – 2:30 Land of Waterfalls Dulcimer Players, Chuckey Depot Museum, 110 S 2nd Ave

7 p.m. Music On The Square, featuring: “Thistle Dew:” foot-stompin’, Celti-lachian Trio!

Tull Glazener: Dulcimer Master Extraordinaire!

  Main Street, in front of the Courthouse (Rain – out location: The Corner Cup)

Saturday, May 19

9 – 10:30 a.m. Experienced Dulcimer Players Clinic: Tull Glazener

10:30 – Noon,  Beginning Dulcimer: Tull & Area Instructors, bring a dulcimer, or borrow one of ours for the clinic

1:30 – 3 p.m. Experienced Players Clinic, Part 2: Tull Glazener , Mockingbird Music Room and Gallery, 210 Spring Street

4 – 6 p.m. Eureka Inn’s “Root Beer Garden Gala:” locally sourced sodas and other goodies

Dulcimer – infused music: Tull Glazener, Phil Ling, Don Burger & more!

Eureka Inn, 127 W Main Street, Courtyard

Sunday, May 20

11 a.m.  Jonesborough Presbyterian Church Service Worshipful Dulcimer Music, with Deb and Don Burger

     Jonesborough Presbyterian Church, 128  West Main Street