The 33rd edition of Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day on Saturday (Sept. 29) was “another resounding success,” attracting one of the largest crowds in the festival’s history.
That was the assessment of festival Chairman Scott Philyaw after he and the 22 other members of WCU’s Mountain Heritage Day Committee watched thousands of visitors enjoy continuous mountain music and dance, arts and crafts, traditional mountain food, demonstrations of authentic folk arts, and other festival attractions under bright blue late-September skies.
Mountain Heritage Day typically attracts crowds in excess of 25,000 to the WCU campus on the last Saturday each September.
“As the Sylva Herald noted in an editorial last week, Mountain Heritage Day is ‘a gift from the college to the community.’ It’s our way of saying thank you to the community that started this institution in 1889,” Philyaw said.
Philyaw said the festival would not happen each year without “a lot of hard work and dedication from Mountain Heritage Day Committee members and other volunteers.” In particular, he cited the efforts of WCU’s police force and the crew of facilities management.
“It’s one thing to work hard – it’s a lot more to work hard with a smile on your face, and that’s what our volunteers do,” he said.
In addition to Philyaw, members of the festival committee are Kevin Ayers, Carroll Brown, Lila Buchanan, Kevin Cope, Michele Glover, Mark Haskett, Debbie Higdon, Randall Holcombe, Ernie Hudson, Tom Johnson, Peter Koch, Ron Mau, Suzanne McDowell, Mike Nichols, Cindy Nicholson, Norman Parris, Jim Rowell, Zeta Smith, Tammy Sutton, Roger Turk and Leila Tvedt.