Published On: Fri, Sep 18th, 2015

WCU’s 41st Mountain Heritage Day to delight senses Sept. 26

Cherokee stickball demonstrations is just one of the many events occurring at the annual WCU Mountain Heritage Day on Saturday, Sept. 26.  (WCU photo)

Cherokee stickball demonstrations is just one of the many events occurring at the annual WCU Mountain Heritage Day on Saturday, Sept. 26. (WCU photo)

 

CULLOWHEE – The sights, sounds, fragrances and flavors of a bygone era will again draw thousands of visitors to Western Carolina University to experience the region’s rich history of southern Appalachian culture at the 41st annual Mountain Heritage Day on Saturday, Sept. 26.

WCU’s free celebration will feature a full schedule of mountain music, fun activities, more than 80 booths of the region’s finest arts and crafts, and vendors offering ethnic, heritage and festival food.

Balsam and Blue Ridge stages and the Circle Tent will offer continuous mountain music, clogging and storytelling. Musical performers will include Balsam Range, Unspoken Tradition, Phil and Gaye Johnson, Stoney Creek Boys, Trevor and Travis Stuart, Foxfire Boys, Back Creek Bluegrass Boys, Tried Stone Missionary Baptist Choir, Whitewater Bluegrass Company, Possum on a Whale, the Queen Family, Sheets Family Band, the Deitz Family and others. Some will accompany the Bailey Mountain Cloggers, Southern Appalachian Cloggers and Tangled Feet Cloggers.

The Circle Tent will feature “Roots of the Banjo,” a musical session themed “Critter Songs,” and a presentation from the Jackson County Historical Society.

Other areas will be active with demonstrations of Cherokee stickball by competitive teams from the area and traditions shared by the Tsalagi Touring Group. “Sacred Harp” and “Christian Harmony” shape-note singing move outside to their own tent this year.

Clogging performances are always a crowd favorite at Mountain Heritage Day. Three clogging teams will perform at this year’s festival.

Clogging performances are always a crowd favorite at Mountain Heritage Day. Three clogging teams will perform at this year’s festival.

The Children’s Tent will provide entertaining activities for younger visitors throughout the day, ranging from crafts and potato sack races to music and storytelling with Connie Regan-Blake.

Free wagon rides and hayrides and an antique auto show will present visitors with a look back at transportation of former days.

Mountain Heritage Day also offers a variety of contests centered on authentic mountain folk arts and skills, including competitions for best beards and mustaches; period costumes for adults and children; canned, preserved and baked goods; and chainsaw woodcutting. A stroll through other areas will feature demonstrations of black powder shooting, blacksmithing, salt-making, stone carving, banjo-making, corn shuck crafts, Cherokee pottery/crafts and broom-making.

Rain or shine, the festival will bring history to life and fun to thousands. Shuttles will operate throughout the day, with stops at designated free parking and attraction locations.

Though pets are not allowed on festival grounds, service animals are welcome. Festival attendees are encouraged to bring umbrellas, hats and sunblock, as well as lawn chairs and/or blankets for enjoying food, spectator events, and breaks from sensory overload as needed.

Mountain Heritage Day volunteers will welcome visitors between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., preceded by the 5-K foot race at 8 a.m. on festival day.

Info: www.mountainheritageday.com, (828) 227-7129

– WCU

 

GENERAL ACTIVITIES

8 a.m. – 5K Race Begins

9 a.m. – Registration for Chainsaw Contest and Car Show Begins

10 a.m. – Festival Opens

10:30 a.m. – Black Powder Demonstration and “Sacred Harp” Shape-Note Singing

11 a.m. – Cherokee Stickball Game

Noon – Car Show Awards announced

1:30 p.m. – “Christian Harmony” Shape-Note Singing

2 p.m. – Cherokee Stickball Game

3 p.m. – Black Powder Demonstration

5 p.m. – Festival Closes

 

BALSAM STAGE

Rodney Sutton – Emcee

10 a.m. – The Deitz Family

10:45 a.m. – Heritage Alive! Mountain Youth Talent Award Winners

11:15 a.m. – Queen Family

Noon – Mountain Heritage Award presentation

12:15 p.m. – Trevor and Travis Stuart with Southern Appalachian Cloggers

1 p.m. – Balsam Range with Bailey Mountain Cloggers

2 p.m. – Beard and Moustache & Kid’s Costume contests

2:15 p.m. – The Sheets Family Band

3 p.m. – Tsalagi Touring Group

3:30 p.m. – Connie Regan-Blake

4 p.m. – Highway 74

 

BLUE RIDGE STAGE

Bill Nichols – Emcee

10 a.m. – Whitewater Bluegrass Company

11 a.m. – The Foxfire Boys with Bailey Mountain Cloggers

Noon – Phil and Gaye Johnson

12:45 p.m. – Tried Stone Missionary Baptist Choir

1:45 p.m. – Stoney Creek Boys with Southern Appalachian Cloggers

2:45 p.m. – Craft Awards Presentation

3 p.m. – Unspoken Tradition

4 p.m. – Balsam Range

 

CIRCLE TENT

Phil Jamison – Facilitator

10 a.m. – Jackson County Historical Society presentation

11 a.m. – Roots of the Banjo

1 p.m. – Crossing the Pond

3 p.m. – Critter Songs

 

CHILDREN’S TENT

Barry Clinton – Emcee

10 a.m. – Children’s Heritage Activities and Games

11:45 a.m. – Play-Party Games with Uncle Ted White

12:30 p.m. – The Back Creek Bluegrass Boys

12:45 p.m. – Tsalagi Touring Group

1:30 p.m. – Possum on a Whale

2 p.m. – Tangled Feet Cloggers

2:30 p.m. – Jackson County JAM program

3 p.m. – Connie Regan-Blake

3:30 p.m. – Children’s Heritage Activities and Games