CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston's Sunrise Carriage Trail will become the pathway to six outdoor musical, dramatic and living history performances on Saturday, when the American Lung Association in West Virginia hosts its Fight for Air Walk fundraiser on the historic .65-mile buggy path as part of FestivAll 2012.
"This will be a unique walk for the Lung Association," said Chaste Truman Barclay, the association's development manager. "We've been steering away from the traditional fundraising walks, because there are so many of them, and we've gotten involved with things like biking events and stair climbs. But this is something really different. Hopefully, we'll get people out for a little exercise and let them appreciate both art and healthy lungs."
The Fight for Air Walk will take place between 4 and 8 p.m. Participants may begin the walk from either the Sunrise Mansion-Farmer, Cline and Campbell Law Offices end of the trail at 746 Myrtle Road in South Hills, or from the Ferry Street/South Side Bridge end of the trail, across the Kanawha River from downtown Charleston.
At the top of the forest-surrounded trail near Sunrise Mansion, built in 1905 by William MacCorkle, West Virginia's ninth governor, hikers will be greeted by actor Gary Brown, who portrays MacCorkle and offers historical commentary.
As the Carriage Path begins its descent toward downtown Charleston, participants will arrive at the setting for "A Midsummer Nature Walk," an abbreviated three-scene adaptation from William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Joe Wallace, featuring the play's mischievous fairy, Puck.
The first scene features Puck magically making Lysander and Demitrius fall madly in love with Helena, to the chagrin of Hermia. In a second scene, Puck transforms the pompous actor, Bottom, into a donkey, while Titania, the queen of the fairies, falls for him. Finally, the plot is resolved in a scene in which all is put right and the fairies and humans begin to dance the day away.
Near the bottom of the trail, an original short theater piece, "Hanging Around: A Tale of Two Women," tells the tale of the two women named on a Carriage Trail monument who were executed after supposedly being convicted of spying during the Civil War. According to the monument, the women were found guilty during a field court martial, or "drumhead trial," and were shot and buried along the trail.
The short play was written by Stevie Brigode, and features actors Toni M. Pilato and Jessica Cooper. The piece lasts about eight minutes and will be performed at 20 minutes after, and 10 minutes before, each hour.
Three musical performances will be encountered along the trail, including Kanawha Tradition with Bobby Taylor on fiddle and Andrew Dunlap on guitar; the viola-cello combo Sunrise Ensemble with Sandra Groce and Kim Graham, and the Hillside Brass Five.
While the walk is free to all, those who pre-register or register at the site for $25 will receive a T-shirt created by a West Virginia artisan for being a Fight for Air Walk participant.
Chairs and tents will be in place at the venues along the trail. Limited parking is available at the upper end of the trail, but ample municipal parking is available at the lower end of the trail in downtown Charleston.
"The city parking garage at the downtown end of the South Side Bridge will stay open a little longer than usual to help out," Barclay said. "You can walk across the bridge to get on the trail."
Earlier this month, Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar added the Sunrise Carriage Path Trail to the National Recreation Trail system.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.