Episode 16: The Festival


Written by Michael McGreevey

Directed by Gwen Arner


"Spring on Waltons Mountain was always a welcome and celebrated event. Everything that had been dormant during the winter came to life. My grandfather said it was a time of beginning, when every living thing was given the opportunity to renew itself. In the spring of 1940, when the world was on the brink of war, ourlives were to change drastically".


Elizabeth thinks the new boy in school is cute but Aimee already has her eyes on George Simmons. Verdie is troubled and needs to talk with Olivia. Jodie has unexpectedly joined the Navy. She is worried whether she has taught him enough and whether she will ever see him again. Olivia can relate to her friend’s emotions now that Jason has joined the National Guard.


Jason practices the piano at the Dew Drop Inn when he suddenly hears a horn playing along outside. When he investigates he finds Josh playing his trumpet. Jason thinks it would be a good idea for them to play together and invites him inside. Josh hesitates entering into the Dew Drop Inn because it is a “white folks’ place” but Jason convinces him that it is okay.


Erin tells Jason that Mrs. Wilkins, the Chairman of the Spring Festival, wants Jason to audition for this year’s performance. She informs Jason that the music will be a combination of traditional, folk, and classical and if accepted to perform will be paid five dollars. On the way home after school George catches up with Elizabeth so he can walk with her. But Elizabeth cannot think of anything to say to the boy she likes. That night Elizabeth asks Erin how she can get a boy to fall in love with her. Erin says she can either flirt, play hard to get, make him feel important, or ignore him. Elizabeth admits to her older sister that she gets flustered when she is around George. Erin tells her to say anything that pops into her head whenever she gets flustered over George. Elizabeth tells Erin that unlike her, ‘I’ve got to think before I talk’.


Jody prepares to board the bus in order to leave for the Navy. Verdie tells her son that she loves him and is proud of him. Jody states that he will be going to places ‘where Kings live and people wear flowers’ and wonders what he can bring back to her. Verdie says she only wants him back.


Olivia and John sit on the front porch swing listening to Jason and Josh play their music. Inside the house Mary Ellen dances with John Curtis while Erin, Ben, Grandpa, and Elizabeth listen. Verdie walks to the porch searching for Josh who is late for supper. Upon being told her son Josh and Jason are playing inside, she admits she was not even aware that Josh played the trumpet. While walking home with her talented son, she wonders why he did not tell her about the trumpet. Josh said he learned to play before he was adopted. Verdie tells her son she likes his horn playing. Before going to bed Verdie and Harley discuss Josh’s horn playing. She also wonders if Jody will be the only colored person in the Navy. Harley states he is strong and will be forced to get stronger because he is colored. Verdie then becomes angry knowing he is now defending a country that brought his ancestors over in chains. With his parents in bed, Josh sneaks off with his trumpet to the Dew Drop Inn. Harley hears him leave and follows Josh to the Dew Drop. He angrily scolds his son for bothering him and the ‘white folks inside’.


The next morning while Jason and Josh practice at the Dew Drop, Jason asks his partner if he would like to play with him at the Festival. But before Josh can answer, Verdie finds her young son inside the saloon.  She becomes upset with Jason for allowing Josh inside a saloon especially one only for white people.


Jason later visits the Fosters to ask if they will allow Josh to play with him at the Festival. Harley says the Festival is only for white folks. But Josh says he wants to try to play at the Festival more than anything else. Verdie decides it is okay with her and Harley reluctantly agrees but makes Jason promise his son won’t be hurt.


"That was an important spring day for Josh and my brother Jason, and it was the beginning of a friendship that was to last a lifetime".


Elizabeth: Daddy?
John: Yes Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: I think George Simmonds kissed me today.
John: You think?
Elizabeth: Maybe I kissed him, I'm not sure.
John: Er he's a good lookin' young man.
Elizabeth: Just wanted you to know. You don't have to worry, we're not planning on getting married right away.
John: Well I'm glad to hear you're not rushin' into things Honey.
Elizabeth: Goodnight Daddy.
John: Goodnight!



Josh learned to play his trumpet from an old man called Hoot that he met while ‘swamping’ out saloons (before being adopted by the Fosters’).

The trumpet was his father’s before Josh found it and learned how to play it.

George Simmons and his family moved to Waltons Mountain from Rutgersville because his father found work at a factory in Norfolk and his mother and he moved into their old homestead.

Jason’s automobile license plates are 86-297 Virginia.

The bus’ license plates are IA 925 Virginia.

The bus station employs the White Arrow Bus Lines with stops in the cities of Norfolk, Richmond, Westham, Rockfish, and Charlottesville.



Also appearing:

Miss Emily Baldwin (Mary Jackson)

Miss Mamie Baldwin (Helen Kleeb)

Ruby Davis (Heather Totten)

Patsy Brimmer (Debbie Gunn)