Whiskers to compete at Mountain Heritage Day

Horace Kephart, one of the drivers of creating the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Horace Kephart, one of the creators of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Horace Kephart had a bushy mustache. So did Robert Lee Madison. Yet it’s hard to know how either the patron of Great Smoky Mountains National Park or the first president of Western Carolina University would fare in the mustache and beard competition at this year’s Mountain Heritage Day, Saturday, Sept. 28, on the WCU campus.

Aspiring competitors have just about enough time to begin growing those whiskers now – as well as preparing entries for the old-fashioned costumes and home-canned goods contests, practicing skills for the chainsaw competition and training for the Mountain Heritage Day 5K.

There is no entry fee for any of the contests except the 5K, and admission and parking is free at WCU’s daylong celebration of Southern Appalachian music, arts, dance and song.

Planned and coordinated by students in WCU’s Sport Management Association, the 5K race begins at 8 a.m. and winds its way through the campus, recalling a time when one of the fastest ways to get around in the mountains was on foot. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Full race details, pre-registration forms and costs will be posted online at http://claws.wcu.edu/sma/5K/.

Baked goods as well as home-canned and preserved foods will be jury-weighted in the annual “A Gathering In” traditional foods competition. An adult and a youth winner also will be declared for the “Best in the West Apple Recipe Contest.” Winners will be given ribbons in a number of categories, all described in the booklet linked to the “Contests” page at www.mountainheritageday.com. For more information, contact Peter Koch at pkoch@email.wcu.edu or 828-227-7129.

Children and adults are welcome to compete in the traditional clothing contest, sporting the fashions of pioneer days through the turn-of-the-19th-to-20th century. Audience members participate in the judging after competitors model their outfits on stage.

Trophies will be awarded in the different classes of the chainsaw contest to be held the morning of Mountain Heritage Day.

Owners of antique and classic automobiles also are invited to compete for awards by participating in the festival’s all-day car show.

Mountain Heritage Day and its many competitions are only weeks away – always the last Saturday in September.

It’s time to start growing, sewing, canning, chopping and jogging.

For more general information about Mountain Heritage Day contests, call WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129. Developments leading up to the festival can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MountainHeritageDay or by following @WCU on Twitter.