Archive for Mountain Heritage Day

WCU’s 41st Mountain Heritage Day

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.

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.

For more information, visit www.mountainheritageday.com or call 828-227-7129.


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


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


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


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


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

Mountain Heritage Day Seeking Arts and Crafts People

food-contest-for-webArtists and crafts people are being sought to participate in the 40th annual Mountain Heritage Day, Western Carolina University’s annual fall festival of traditional Appalachian culture.

Mountain Heritage Day will be held Saturday, Sept. 27, on the WCU campus in Cullowhee – always the last Saturday of the month. The festival typically attracts more than 20,000 visitors who come to enjoy three stages of continuous music and dance, exhibitions of Cherokee stickball and shape-note singing, a midway of juried arts and crafts, and a variety of festival food.

This year, the festival celebrates its 40th anniversary in conjunction with the university’s 125th year.

The festival arts and crafts are judged for quality of workmanship, booth display and design. Cash awards will be presented to the vendors with the best works. All applicants are juried except the previous year’s winners of the arts and crafts awards.

Applications and instructions for arts and crafts vendors are available on the festival website, www.mountainheritageday.com

Mountain Heritage Day. Saturday, September 28th

Western Carolina University’s 39th Annual Mountain Heritage Day will commence this weekend on Saturday, the 28th. The WCU Mountain Heritage Day festival will be free to the public and feature a full list of mountain music, activities, and many arts & crafts, and food booths. Scott Philyaw had the following to say about the festival’s history, “When this school was started, back in the 1880’s by the people of the Cullowhee valley and Jackson County, they included things that are very similar to mountain heritage day. The very first commencement had music, it had barbecue, it had presentations of the various aspects of the region, much as Mountain Heritage Day does. It attracted a large number at that time of one thousand people for a weekend. In many ways Mountain Heritage day harkens back to those earliest celebrations when what we call Western Carolina University was known as Cullowhee Academy.”

The Mountain Heritage Day will start off with a 5-K foot race at 8 am. The Blue Ridge and Balsam Stages will be playing continuous mountain music, clogging, and southern storytelling. There will be demonstrations of Cherokee stickball among other games from the Cherokee Tribe. Directly in front of the Balsam Stage there will be a new platform, created for members of the audience to show off their dance skills. There will be a children’s tent providing activities for the younger attendees, as well as hayrides. Among all the other mentioned events there will also be demonstrations and competitions for: Chainsaw wood cutting, baked and canned goods, period costumes, and contests for beard and mustaches. Expect to see, blacksmithing, black powder shooting, as well as interpretations of Cherokee hunting capabilities. The festival will be rain or shine. No pets allowed though service animals are welcome. “The festival itself starts at 10:00am, the 5-K Race starts at 8:00am. Registration for the chainsaw contest starts at 9:00am. We are recommending people show up around 9:30 so they can find a place to park. The festival closes down at 5:00pm.”

For more information visit MountainHeritageDay.com or call 828-227-7129