Heritage festival to allow leashed dogs on grounds

Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day will be a dog-friendly event this year, with certain restrictions, and host some fun dog contests when things get underway Saturday, Sept. 30, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Organizers said with the family friendly atmosphere of the free festival and an increasing number of attendees wanting to include dogs in their day’s activities, the decision was made to change the policy forbidding dogs other than service animals from the grounds. Two festival volunteers will be assigned to pet policy management and ample signage will be in place to inform festivalgoers of the new policy.

“People consider dogs to be part of the family and Mountain Heritage Day is very much a family friendly event,” said Stacy MacGregor, WCU director of special events and festival co-chair. “So we wanted to accommodate the whole family and made the switch.”

Dogs must be leashed at all times, owners must immediately clean up after dogs, and pets are not allowed to approach other guests or disrupt any exhibit, performance or activity. Any infractions will result in dogs and owners being removed from the premises by campus police for the duration of the festival.

Organizers will make things easy for four-legged guests, with water bowls provided and shaded areas set aside throughout the festival grounds.

Regional history is revisited throughout the festival. Free wagon rides and hayrides and a classic car and truck show present visitors with a look back at transportation of earlier times. A stroll through the grounds will feature demonstrations of black powder rifle shooting, blacksmithing, stone-carving, banjo-making, corn shuck crafts, Cherokee crafts and pottery, coppersmithing and broom-making. Scheduled musical performers include Mountain Faith and Country Current, the U.S. Navy bluegrass band. Mountain Heritage Day is part of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, with www.BlueRidgeMusicNC.com an easy and convenient way to find festivals, concerts, jam sessions and plenty of singing and dancing to the traditional music of Western North Carolina.

To learn more about WCU’s premier festival, visit www.mountainheritageday.com or call 828-227-3039.