Ep.16 - The Festival

  Original Airdate: January 26, 1978
Writer: Michael McGreevey
Director: Gwen Arner


  Josh Foster is a very talented trumpet player and Jason asks him to perform with him at the Rockfish Spring Festival. When racism prevents Josh from taking part Jason holds his own festival at Godsey's Hall with Josh on the bill. Will Josh take part? Jody Foster joins the Navy. Elizabeth takes her first interest in boys.

Intro scene:


Grandpa and Elizabeth are walking near the pool of spring water and hear a trumpet playing in the forest. Grandpa says that the tune is "Ben Bolt".


  "Spring on Walton's Mountain was always a welcome and celebrated event. Everything that had been dormant during the winter came to life. My grandfather said it was a time of beginning, when every living thing was given the opportunity to renew itself. In the spring of 1940, when the world was on the brink of war, our lives were to change drastically."



Verdie stops by to visit with Olivia. She has gone for a walk to clear her mind. Her son Jody has joined the Navy. They talk about their worries of their boys going off to war.

Jason practices the piano at the Dew Drop Inn and hears a trumpet outside joining in on the tune he begins to play. He goes outside and sees Josh Foster with a trumpet. Josh says that he learned to play from a man called Hoot before he arrived on Walton’s Mountain. He says that the trumpet belongs to Harley. He is worried about going into the Dew Drop Inn because he believes it to be a white person’s place. Jason insists that it is okay. They go inside and practice some tunes.

When Jason picks Erin up from work he learns that Mrs. Wilkins, the Chairman of the Spring Festival, wants Jason to play next week at the festival.

Jason meets with Mrs. Wilkins to discuss the concert. Jason was recommended by the Conservatory School. He will need to do an audition for the committee and they will pay him $5 for the day when he performs.

Verdie, Harley and Josh say goodbye to Jody at the bus station. Harley tells his son not to forget who he is or where he comes from. Jody asks his Mom if there is anything he can bring her back from his travels. She says just “yourself”.

Josh arrives at John’s Mill looking for Jason. He says that he will play his horn for Mr. John when it sounds real good.

Later that evening Verdie comes looking for Josh at the Walton house. He is an hour late for dinner and was supposed to be home before dark. She is quite surprised to learn that he is the one playing the trumpet that she heard as she arrived. On the way home she asked where he learned to play and where he got the horn as she knew nothing about his talent. That evening to talks about her concerns for Jody going off to war as she prepares for bed with Harley. She feels that they deserve appreciation for the fact that their son is going off to fight for a country that brought he grandparents there in chains. Josh sneaks out his bedroom window that night to play his trumpet outside to the tunes playing at the Dew Drop Inn. Harley hears him leave and finds him outside the saloon. He takes his son home and the next morning gives him plenty of chores to do. His Daddy tells him that he hasn’t told his Mother about the event. When Josh asks if he can still play with Jason at the Walton’s Harley agrees but forbids him to play at the Dew Drop Inn. Harley and Verdie drive in to town to do errands. Josh meets Jason on the road. Jason asks if he wants to join him at the roadhouse for practice. Josh knows better than to say yes but agrees and jumps in Jason’s car.

After Verdie and Harley complete their errands in town they drive out to the roadhouse to deliver some new curtains to Thelma, the owner of the Dew Drop. Verdie sees Josh playing with Jason and briskly sends him out to the truck.

Later while the Foster family sits down for dinner Jason arrives to apologize for getting Josh into trouble but asks if he would like to join him in performing for the Spring Festival. Harley is initially against the idea and state sthat the festival is for white folks. Jason says that it would be a great opportunity, Josh would get part of the pay and Jason would watch over him. Josh want this more than anything and he parents finally agree.

Jason brings Josh to the audition for the Festival. Although the ladies on the committee are very impressed with Jason’s skills they are quite beside themselves when Josh joins Jason on stage. After the audition the chairman asks Jason in a round about way to remove the number with Josh playing trumpet. The committee won’t approve of a colored boy at the festival.

Jason drives Josh home. The distraught boy throws his trumpet away and weeps with heartbreak as his mother calls out to him from the porch.

Jason tells his Daddy and Grandpa about the experience and how hard Josh took it. Grandpa suggests that Jason should hold his own Festival at Godsey’s Hall. The next morning the family agrees to help Jason with the setup. Jason shows up at the Grant’s home to ask Josh to take part. Josh says that he has given up playing the horn and won’t attend. As Jason leaves he asks Verdie who has just arrived with groceries stating that they want all of their friends to attend. Jason gives her the flyer he has printed with Josh name on it in big letters.

Verdie talks to Josh about Jason’s Festival in his bedroom. Josh is not interested. Harley steps in and says that there is no place for a colored person in the white people’s world. Verdie disagrees when they are friends. Harley tells Verdie to stop dreaming of a day when things will be different for them. Just at that moment Jody arrives home in his Navy uniform. His parents are excited to see him and hear his news.

Verdie and Jody leave for the Walton Mountain Festival leaving Josh and Harley behind. Harley tells Josh that if he stays far away from white people then he won’t be bothered by them. Later John finds Josh sitting alone and thinking. Josh says that he want to be just as good as anybody else. John tells Josh that he is he just has to stand up and prove it.

Josh enters Godsey’s Hall playing his trumpet and accompanying Jason on the piano. At the end of the number the crowd enthusiastically applauds Josh’s beautiful performance bringing the boy to tears. Verdie tells Harley that it’s no longer a dream.

Secondary Story:


Elizabeth thinks that the new student George Simmonds is kinda cute and asks Jim-Bob to accompany her so she can go talk to him. Aimee Godsey has already caught his attention and gives Elizabeth an added challenge in learning to navigate relationships with boy’s.

Elizabeth, Jim-Bob, Aimee and George walk home from school. George carries Aimee’s books. When they get to Godsey’s store. Jim-Bob announces that he is headed home and Elizabeth not wanting to be left alone with the other two leaves as well. Aimee invites George inside for a Strawberry pop.

George catches up to Elizabeth and walks her the rest of the way home.

Erin brushes Elizabeth’s hair before bed. Elizabeth asks Erin for advice on how to talk to boys. Erin says that you can flirt or play “hard to get”, ignore them etc. but Elizabeth says that her problem is that that she always needs to think before she can talk around them.

The next day after school George asks if he can talk to her she makes an excuse that she is expected at home and runs off and hides behind a tree. She sees Aimee approach George who is obviously smitten with Elizabeth.

At the Festival George Simmonds brings Elizabeth an Ice Cream cone. They sit together and lick their Ice Cream. He asks her if she has been mad at him. Elizabeth works up the courage to explain. She admits to liking him and being too worried about saying the wrong thing to him and therefore has been avoiding him. He is relieved and states that he likes honesty in a woman. He then asks to walk her home after the Festival so that they can talk more. Aimee arrives beside them and Elizabeth whispers to her that he’s hers.


  "That was an important spring day for Josh and my brother Jason, and it was the beginning of a friendship that was to last a lifetime."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • This episode takes a very raw look at racism.
  • This is the first of four episodes written by Michael McGreevey who played "Hobie Shank" in "The Braggart" (s2-ep8). Michael's father John penned many episodes of The Waltons.
  • Josh learned to play his trumpet from an old man called Hoot that he met while 'swamping' out saloons (before being adopted by the Fosters'). The trumpet was Harley's before Josh found it and learned how to play it.
  • George Simmons and his family moved to Walton's Mountain from Rutgersville because his father found work at a factory in Norfolk and his mother and he moved into their old homestead.
  • The bus station employs the White Arrow Bus Lines with stops in the cities of Norfolk, Richmond, Westham, Rockfish, and Charlottesville.

Additional Cast:



Corabeth Godsey (Ronnie Claire Edwards); Josh Foster (James Bond III); Verdie Foster (Lynn Hamilton); Harley Foster (Hal Williams); Jodie Foster (T.K.Carter); Aimee Godsey (Rachel Longaker); Mrs. Wilkens (Kathleen O'Malley); George Simmonds (Steve Shaw)

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