March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Great Lakes Folk Festival presents the 2011 Michigan Heritage Awards

Thursday, Aug. 11 — This weekend, a special ceremony will take place at the Great Lakes Folk Festival to honor three tradition-bearers from Michigan. The 2011 Michigan Heritage Awards were given to sheep shearer Deborah Caryl, sacred steel guitar player Calvin Cooke and, posthumously, to Gaylord Klancnik, a Slovenian polka musician and bandleader.
LuAnne Kozma, coordinator of the awards, said that they are meant “to honor a person in Michigan who is an excellent traditional artist, who is seen by their peers and community as someone of the highest caliber of that art or tradition, someone who has mastered it and shared it with others and is known for their beautiful work, knowledge and skill.”
Prior to the awards, a nomination process takes place in which anyone can submit a nomination for someone they believe deserves special recognition. Letters of support from the community and people who know the nominee are also sent in, along with photos and work samples for a panel of three judges to examine and review. The recipients are then discussed, considered and selected by the panel.
“We encourage everyone to try nominating someone they know who stands out as an incredible tradition-bearer,” Kozma added. “We’re always looking for people to think of all the traditions and people they know in their lives.”
The ceremony honoring the winners will take place at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the re-skilling tent at the Great Lakes Folk Festival in downtown East Lansing. There will be a special musical performance by Cooke, and Klancnik’s band will also play in his honor.
More information can be found online at