Flanders’ Big Duck all set to go country

09/09/2010 12:00 AM |

TIM GANNON PHOTO
A music festival is scheduled this weekend at the Big Duck Ranch, the name given to the land surrounding the historic Big Duck on Flanders Road in Flanders.

Let’s see, what rhymes with “Big Duck?”

“Flatbed truck came up a lot,” said Lisa Dabrowski, vice president of the Friends of the Big Duck, which will be unveiling the winner of the Big Duck Songwriting Contest this Saturday as part of the “Bluegrass and Big Duck Country Music Festival and Farmers Market.”

The event will be held at the Big Duck Ranch, which is the name given to the land surrounding the Big Duck on Flanders Road.

“Being a musician myself, I’ve always been interested in country and western music and bluegrass and I think that type of music seems to fit well with the Big Duck,” said Ms. Dabrowski, who is the organizer of the festival and the granddaughter of a duck farmer.

The idea of a contest for a duck-themed song actually came from East End singer/songwriter Caroline Doctorow, Ms. Dabrowski said. The judges for the contest are Mike Reilly, the bass player for the band Pure Prairie League, which had several hit records in the 1970s and 1980s; Buddy Merriam, a noted bluegrass musician who has performed with the likes of Bill Monroe, and who has performed at the Grand Ole Opry; and Ms. Dabrowski, who is herself a musician.

The winner will be unveiled at Saturday’s festival.

The event, which also will feature performances by numerous country and bluegrass musicians throughout the day, is a fundraiser for Friends of the Big Duck, a nonprofit group formed to preserve the history of the Big Duck structure, which was built in 1931 and was recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Admission is $25 for adults, $12.50 for senior citizens and students, and free for children under age 5. Festival-goers are urged to bring their own blankets and folding chairs. The ticket price also includes a choice of North Carolina barbecued pulled pork, Alabama-style smoked chicken, or grilled vegetables, Ms. Dabrowski said. The festival will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Friends of the Big Duck are hoping to raise enough money to build a bathroom in the stucco building to the immediate west of the Big Duck, Ms. Dabrowski said. The group’s long-range goals include turning the building to the east of the Big Duck into a museum that focuses on the area’s duck farming history, and to restore the old brooding barn on the property.

Ms. Dabrowski said Friends of the Big Duck hope to make the country and bluegrass festival an annual event, and they also hope to have one major event per season at Big Duck Ranch. They had a craft fair this past spring, and they’ve got their second annual classic car show scheduled for Oct. 10.

More information on the festival can be found on Friends of the Big Duck’s website, bigduck.org.

tgannon@timesreview.com

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