Author dinner series returns

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J. D. Wilkes will be the first featured author for the History Press Author Dinner Series 2014 lineup on Thursday, Feb. 20, 6:30 p.m. This dinner series was hugely popular in 2013 for the Oldham County Historical Society. It promises to be just as exciting with a new lineup of Kentucky authors speaking on a variety of topics such as: Kentucky sweet treats, Canonero II (Kentucky Derby winner), the Battle of Perryville, the city of Lexington, country ham history and Rob Morris, La Grange resident, Poet Laureate of Freemasonry and founder of the Order of the Eastern Star.

In addition to being an author, Wilkes is a Grammy-nominated soundtrack artist. He spent many hours covering the Bluegrass in search of opry’s, socials, porch pickins’ and barn dances. He wanted to pay tribute to places that hosted barn dances and jamborees, something he called, “refreshing. These jamborees were down-to-earth and homespun…and the social aspect was uplifting and pure.”

Wilkes chronicles such places as Marshall County’s Tadpole’s Dew Drop Inn, which played host to some fifteen hundred musical shindigs in its time, the Rosine Kentucky barn dance that gave bluegrass founder Bill Monroe his start and The Burgin Barn, in Burgin, that hosts a weekly event just as important to the locals as attending church, said Wilkes.

At the latter location, Wilkes said he “experienced a casual atmosphere where folks just got up, walked around, talked to one another, joked, had snacks and listened to the music. It was what is missing in life these days ...fellowship and human interaction, face-to-face, all set to good music.”

Wilkes will present a program about his book, Barn Dances and Jamborees across Kentucky, on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. The program will take place at the Rob Morris Chapel Educational Building on the grounds of the Oldham County History Center campus. Light dinner fare will be followed by Wilkes’ program. Reservations are required. Cash bar will be available. Tickets are $15 for members, $18 for non-members. Copies of the book will be available for sale.