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"What a long, strange trip it's been . . ."
C. F. Casey Guitars says Good-bye to the Hand-Made Village after thirty years!
In 1982, Fred Casey came to the Winnipeg Folk Festival for the first time. He’d just finished an apprenticeship with master luthier Božo Podunavac in San Diego and had with him the first two guitars he’d ever built. He stretched a clothesline between two poles, threw a blanket over it, hung the guitars from the blanket and hauled over a picnic table to sit on. That was the first C.F. Casey Guitars booth.
Since that first year, Fred and his instruments have been making a home in the Hand Made Village. There have been a lot of changes along the way. Pegboard panels enclose the booth, making for a safer, more stable display area. Seventeen years ago Kate Ferris became part of the C.F.Casey family - by marrying Fred! And all types of instruments line the walls, from guitars and `ukuleles to mandolins, dulcimers, bouzoukis and more. Hundreds of folkies have heard Fred invite them to “Come on in, take one down, and give it a try.”
This July we once again put up the walls of the booth - but it was for the last time. Thirty years is a long run, and it’s been a good time. But Fred felt that it was time to put away the panels and bid a fond farewell to Booth #8. The number of folks who stopped by the booth to wish us well, and to 'have one more play' was overwhelming. Many told us that they'd visited the booth every year for as long as they'd been coming to the Folk Festival. We've made many good friends, heard a lot of good music, and - best of all - seen a lot of beautiful smiles when one of our instruments and its owner find each other.
Fred will still be busy building in the C. F. Casey Guitars shop, and you're still welcome to come out and 'give one a try'. We just won't be in the Hand Made Village any more. But we'll still see you at the Folk Festival next year. It's just, we'll be festival goers from now on. Rumour has it there are some great performances happening on the stages! We're going to find out. So as Woody Guthrie sang, "So long, it's been good to know ya . . ."