Pumpkin is this year’s featured food in Mountain Heritage Day recipe contest

Pumpkin will be the featured food for the popular “Best in the West” recipe competition this year at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day.

An important part of Southern Appalachian gardens, pumpkins can be grown and used for pies, breads, confections and more.

The 43rd annual Mountain Heritage Day is Saturday, Sept. 30, on the WCU campus. A free, family oriented festival that celebrates Southern Appalachian music, arts, dance and culture, the daylong event includes concerts, living history demonstrations, competitions and awards programs.

“The recipe does not have to be original, but the food entry must be made from scratch and must include pumpkin, whether fresh, canned or frozen,” said Lois Stiles, office manager with the Mountain Heritage Center and an event organizer. “Pumpkins are versatile, with many ways to prepare for the table and an excellent choice for a theme to base our recipe contest on this year.”

Residents across the region are invited to participate in the traditional foods contest at WCU’s Mountain Heritage Day.

In addition to the “Best in the West” pumpkin recipe contest, the traditional food competition includes categories for canned goods, baked goods and heritage foods conservation. Competition is divided into adult and youth (16 and younger) divisions. Ribbons will be awarded to the top three entrants in each age category, plus a grand champion will be selected in each division.

Canned goods and heritage foods entries should be brought to WCU’s Cordelia Camp Building room 134 on Tuesday, Sept. 26, between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Baked goods and “Best in the West” pumpkin recipe entries should be dropped off there before 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, with judging taking place that afternoon. Winners will be announced and all items will be displayed at Mountain Heritage Day.

For more information or to request a copy of “A Gathering in Traditional Food Competition” booklet, contact the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129 or lstiles@wcu.edu.