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Red, white and bluegrass

Kellish Hill Farm offers fun the old-fashioned way

I could have easily passed the barn known as Kellish Hill Farm if I hadn't been looking for it, and actually did. I was driving down Pompey Center Road, moving fairly slow so as not to pass my destination. Then I saw it: a modest building with a log cabin set to its right. In front, plenty of room for guests to park.

I wasn't sure what to expect upon entering, but as soon as I opened the door, it hit me. The place exudes charm and warmth; it's a world all its own. Knick-knacks, collectibles, signs and framed pictures adorn the walls, tables and shelves inside the barn that dates back more than 60 years. A group of musicians, some standing, some sitting, gathered in a circle toward the back of the barn, instruments in hand, playing bluegrass like no one's business. It was a Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. and they wouldn't break until just before midnight.

"Hours disappear," said owner Kathy Kellish. "I get out of doing the chores at night."

Every Sunday starting at 1 p.m., Kellish holds a jam session where musicians from far and wide are welcome to join in and play their mandolins, autoharps, acoustic guitars and dobros. At 5 p.m. a potluck dinner is served. Kellish and her husband Rick Harding provide the main course while guests come armed with delectable sides to serve. The music beats on until the late evening hours.

"I feel this is the right purpose for this farm, in opening it up to the public and having them come out," Kellish said. "Everybody leaves their worries at the door. They come in here, they have a good time, they can express themselves."

Mary Crandall of Manlius walked in just ahead of me, toting her guitar and finding a place next to a table not far from the entrance. I asked her what draws her to these weekly events. She described them as simply, "friends getting together."

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