Mountain Heritage Day to include traditional foods contest, other competitions

Local residents are invited to enter their canned, dried or baked goods in “A Gathering In,” the traditional foods competition that is just one of the contests held in conjunction with Mountain Heritage Day, Western Carolina University’s annual celebration of traditional mountain culture.

“Although home preservation is no longer the necessity it once was, it is still part of the fabric of life for many in our area,” said Suzanne McDowell, curator at WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center museum.

The foods contest is coordinated jointly by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service’s Jackson County Center and the Mountain Heritage Center. Ribbons will be awarded to the top three entries in youth and adult divisions, and a grand champion will be selected from each of the three divisions of canned goods, baked goods and heritage foods conservation.

Also this year, Ingles Markets Inc. is donating cash cards as prizes, with $25 cash cards going to grand champion adult winners, and $10 cards being given to grand champion youth winners, McDowell said.

A new contest category this year will recognize someone in both adult and youth divisions for the “Best in the West Pumpkin Recipe.” All entries must use pumpkin fresh, canned or frozen. The recipe does not have to be original, but the entry must be made from scratch, McDowell said.

Mountain Heritage Day will be held on WCU’s campus on Saturday, Sept. 29, with food entries accepted at the Mountain Heritage Center at specified times during the week leading up to the festival.

For more information about the foods contest or to obtain a contest guideline booklet, call the Jackson County Center at (828) 586-4009 or the Mountain Heritage Center at (828) 227-7129.

Other competitions scheduled at the 2007 Mountain Heritage Day include a woodcutting contest; a 5-K foot race and 1-mile children’s Fun Run; an antique car and truck show; and a horseshoes tournament. For more information about those contests, contact the Mountain Heritage Day office at (828) 227-3193.