Heritage Weekend events to go on as planned despite gas supply problems

Mountain Heritage Weekend events at Western Carolina University, including a bluegrass concert this coming Friday, Sept. 26, and the university’s Mountain Heritage Day festival on Saturday, Sept. 27, will go on as scheduled despite gasoline supply problems in Jackson County and across Western North Carolina.

A majority of the visitors at Mountain Heritage Weekend events drive in from the immediate Western North Carolina area, and so the hope is that those local residents will still attend the concert and festival, said Scott Philyaw, chairman of the university committee that organizes the events.

The Haywood County-based bluegrass band Balsam Range will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday in WCU’s Fine and Performing Arts Center, and Mountain Heritage Day will be held on the WCU campus from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the following day with continuous performances of traditional music and dance, folk art demonstrations, an arts and crafts midway, and traditional mountain food.

“I’m sure our hardy mountain ancestors faced hardships and shortages of various kinds over the years, and I’m confident they didn’t let those difficulties overwhelm them,” Philyaw said. “We feel like continuing on with the Friday concert and Saturday festival is the right thing to do.”

Still, visitors planning to attend the events need to make sure they have sufficient gas in their tanks to drive to Cullowhee and back home because gas availability in Jackson County is unpredictable, Philyaw said. Local residents are encouraged to carpool with their friends and neighbors for the trip to Cullowhee.

The good news for local residents who have been spending a lot of money on gas is that admission and parking at Mountain Heritage Day are free, and general admission tickets for the Balsam Range concert are just $10. Tickets are available by calling the Fine and Performing Arts Center at (828) 227-2479 (Visa or MasterCard) or by visiting the box office between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Tickets also may be purchased online at http://fapac.wcu.edu.

For more information about Mountain Heritage Day, call (828) 227-3193 or visit mountainheritageday.com.