Playdates with God: Vandalia Gathering







Little pockets of music everywhere. Under trees, on the lawn, center stage. We walked the capitol grounds to a soundtrack of West Virginia heritage. It was the Vandalia Gathering, a festival celebrating the rich culture of our home state. Every Memorial Day weekend musicians and storytellers from all over gather to make music together, dance, and listen to the liar’s contest—a tall tale telling to take all.

I watched a young girl march the stage with her fiddle. She sat in a metal folding chair, feet dangling, toes trailing the floor. And then, just like that, she started to play. Her long hair swayed each time bow met string and I am always amazed at the lift and lilt created from this union. People were sitting on hay bales and lawn chairs, rapt. A fawn-colored hound dog sniffed my fingers and rubbed his pink nose into my palm. The air was scented with roasted corn, funnel cake, and laughter.

Vandalia was the name of a 14th colony, proposed in 1768, that would have included most of present-day West Virginia and Kentucky. It was named for Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, who was an avid patron of the arts, an amateur botanist, and a descendant of the Germanic tribe the Vandals. The plan never came to fruition due to the political tensions that developed between America and Britain. The word “Vandalia” came to be associated with all the richness that encompasses mountain living. This is what the Vandalia Gathering celebrates, a way of life; all that is strong, and good, and beautiful about life in these hills.

There were little pockets of music everywhere. And it made my heart sing.

Every Monday I share one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find God and know joy. Click on the button below to add your link. I try to visit a few of your stories every week, so if you are a new visitor, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can welcome you. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us.

Laura Boggess


  1. says

    “pockets of music” I love that, Laura. Makes me think of God, if He had pockets, He might very well keep music in them. Have a wonder-filled week!

  2. says

    Sounds delightful: “The air was scented with roasted corn, funnel cake, and laughter.” I couldn’t link up because my URL is more than 50 characters so I’m dropping my link in this comment….wishing you and yours much joy today 🙂


  3. says

    I love history – especially history that contains hope and goodness – and it sounds like they kept a most beautiful part of that hope and goodness of intent and passed it down! It sounds like a lovely day!

  4. says

    Would loved to have sat under the trees and tents and listened to the pockets of music. What a fun festival! Heritage is worth remembering and celebrating.

  5. says

    Laura, I always enjoy learning a little bit of history….’cause my mind went to ‘Vidalia’–which is a super sweet onion here in the lovely state of Washington.
    Community festivals are such a rich time.

  6. says

    This sounds like a wonderful community gathering…a feast for all senses! Thank you for sharing some tid bits of the fun with us.

  7. says

    There is something so comforting to read about the traditions that last through our histories, reminding us of the simple beginnings…the purposeful hopeful dreams that were assigned to the start of something that few could ever comprehend.

    Thanks for sharing your fun!


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