Tour De DeaFestival
DeaFestival - Kentucky kicked off its Tour de DeaFestival with the NAD opening ceremonies, with "Kodak moment" performances of the different activities conference participants could expect during the week. As the old-fashioned photographer, Henry Pollard helped to bring the audience's focus to each of the performers as they pretended to be looking for workshops, studying for the college bowl, chatting at the Internet Café, watching the fireworks, preparing for the Miss Deaf America pageant and more.
On the Fourth of July, with the backdrop of Chuck Baird's inspiring painting "America," Mel Carter brought Uncle Sam to life. 17 other performers took the stage as historical characters, including Rosalyn Gannon as Betsy Ross, who impressed everyone by making a five-pointed star from paper with just one snip of the scissors, KCDHH's own Kevin Kreutzer became Daniel Boone with a broad-rimmed hat, and Abraham Lincoln, played by Jack Cooper, surprised us with the announcement that he signed the charter establishing Gallaudet University. Linsay Darnall, Jr., dressed in Civil War uniform, shared the heroic acts performed by a deaf soldier and the funny tales of the cows in the basement of Kentucky School for the Deaf. Sharon Kay Wood, our Statue of Liberty, faced with the only blooper of the evening when her toga began to slip off, ignored it and gave an extremely moving history of this popular American icon. At the end of our quick romp through American and Deaf American history, Chuck Baird explained how he came up with the idea of his painting, "America," and Steve Longo got everyone up and dancing with his "Born in the USA" finale. With the simulcast fireworks and the outstanding performances, Fourth of July couldn't have been any more fun!
The Cultural Arts Banquet was a more upscale kind of entertainment, featuring artists from around the world. Cuban dance group, ANSOC, performed a lively show, the Action Players performed a very soothing contemporary Indian dance piece and Fred Beam returned to the stage to share a poem about his grandmother. The highlight of the evening involved the many antics of emcee, Peter Cook, who dressed in many different outfits to introduce each performer. Peter even donned one of Bobbie Beth's dresses to become Ms. Deaf America! This highly enjoyable evening ended with Beethoven's Band inviting the audience to get up and dance on stage while they played.
Closing Ceremonies ended with a PowerPoint show of different pictures from the week, showcasing the many different activities from the week, and a brief performance by crowd favorite CJ Jones.
One of the most successful contributions Tour de DeaFestival was able to make to the NAD conference was with the KCDHH booth, which showcased artwork from Jeff Carroll, Chuck Baird, Ann Silver, Mindy Moore, Tony McGregor and others. A highly popular feature was our very own "Horse of a Different Color," which received more colors as different renowned artists from around the United States and even Poland added different pictures of their own. Tammy Jo Beatty entertained crowds as she carried on conversations with her sidekick, Freddie X, and Bill Carwile brought smiles to many faces as he performed mime, teasing kids and adults alike.