WCU’s 38th Mountain Heritage Day to be held Sept. 29

After earning a standing ovation for their performance at last year’s Mountain Heritage Day, the Tried Stone Gospel Choir of Asheville’s Tried Stone Missionary Baptist Church will make a return trip to the festival to perform at 1:15 p.m. on the Blue Ridge Stage.

Two shows by the bluegrass headliner Balsam Range and the opening of a Smithsonian exhibit highlight a full schedule of activities for Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day, coming up Saturday, Sept. 29, on the campus in Cullowhee.

WCU’s free festival of Appalachian culture also will include 100 booths of the region’s finest arts and crafts and 30 vendors selling tempting festival food.

Activities at the 38th Mountain Heritage Day will take place between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for the 5-K foot race, which is set for 8 a.m. Admission and parking are free.

The festival offers three stages of continuous mountain music and clogging, demonstrations of Cherokee stickball and other Cherokee games, shape-note singing and an antique auto show. The Children’s Tent will provide entertaining activities for younger visitors throughout the day, and kids also will enjoy free wagon rides and hayrides.

Mountain Heritage Day also offers a variety of fun contests and demonstrations of authentic mountain folk arts and skills. Visitors are encouraged to visit the university’s museum of Appalachian culture and history, the Mountain Heritage Center, to view its exhibits and displays, including the “Journey Stories” traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution.

The festival goes on, rain or shine. Pets are not allowed on festival grounds, but service animals are welcome. Festival attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for comfortable seating. Shuttles operate throughout the day, with stops at designated locations.

For more information, go to Mountain Heritage Dayon the Web or call 828-227-7129.



8 a.m. – 5-K foot race begins

9 a.m. – Registration begins for chain saw contest

10 a.m. – Chain saw contest begins; festival booths open, offering arts, crafts and food; auto show begins; demonstrations of folk arts and skills begin; Mountain Heritage Center opens

10:30 a.m. – Exhibition of black-powder shooting and “Sacred Harp” shape-note sing begin

11 a.m. – Exhibition of Cherokee stickball begins

12:15 p.m. – Presentation of food contest awards, traditional attire contests for children and adults, and beard and moustache contest, all on Balsam Stage

1 p.m. – Exhibition of Cherokee courtship game “Fish” begins; presentation of arts and crafts awards, Mountain Heritage Awards and Eva Adcock Award on Blue Ridge Stage

1:30 p.m. – “Christian Harmony” shape-note sing begins; “The Liars Bench” show begins in the Mountain Heritage Center

2:30 p.m. – Exhibition of black-powder shooting

3 p.m. – Exhibition of Cherokee blowguns begins

4 p.m. – Mountain Heritage Center closes

5 p.m. – Festival closes

The popular local bluegrass-gospel band Mountain Faith is included in the festival entertainment lineup.


Rodney Sutton, master of ceremonies

10 a.m. – Boys from Tuckasegee

10:45 a.m. – Balsam Range with the Bailey Mountain Cloggers

11:30 a.m. – Queen Family

12:15 p.m. – Presentation of food contest awards, traditional attire contests for children and adults, and beard and moustache contest

12:30 p.m. – Roan Mountain Hilltoppers

1:15 p.m. – Trevor and Travis Stuart with the Cole Mountain Cloggers

2 p.m. – Hominy Valley Boys

2:45 p.m. – Heritage Alive talent contest winners

3:15 p.m. – Woolly Jumpers

4 p.m. – Deitz Family


Bill Nichols, master of ceremonies

10 a.m. – Mountain Faith

10:45 a.m. – Stoney Creek Boys

11:15 a.m. – J Creek Cloggers

11:30 a.m. – Whitewater Bluegrass Co.

12:15 p.m. – Jeff Little Trio

1 p.m. – Presentation of arts and crafts awards, Mountain Heritage Awards and Eva Adcock Award

1:15 p.m. – Tried Stone Gospel Choir

2 p.m. – Mars Hill Cloggers

2:15 p.m. – Stoney Creek Boys

2:45 p.m. – Phil and Gaye Johnson

3:15 p.m. – Balsam Range

4:15 p.m. – Jeff Little Trio

The folk arts and skills demonstration area will include acclaimed chairmaker Max Woody of Marion.


(10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Curtis Allison and Dwayne Franks – horses and mules

Lori and Chuck Anderson – corn-shuck crafts and broom-making

Robert Craig – wood carving

Nancy Hornbuckle – river-cane basketry

Jim Long – river-cane mats

William Rogers – coppersmithing

Joe Williams – berry buckets

R.O. Wilson – logging skills

Max Woody – chair-making


(10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Charles Brown and Bob Plott – 18th-century hunters camp

Bill Bisher – 18th-century knives

Bill Carter – powder horn carving

Earl Lanning – gunsmith

George Mathews – chair-making


Phil Jamison, moderator for musical circles

10 a.m. – “In, Out, Through and Back Again: Smoky Mountain Journeys” presented by the Jackson County Historical Society

11:15 a.m. – Fiddle Circle with Ethan Fortner, Summer McMahan, Beanie O’Dell and Trevor Stuart

1 p.m. – Train Songs Circle with the Deitz Family, Ted White, Phil and Gaye Johnson, Henry Queen and Balsam Range

3 p.m. – Banjo Circle with Junior Queen, Travis Stuart and Steve Sutton


10 a.m. – Heritage toys and activities

12 p.m. – Cherokee storyteller Lloyd Arneach

12:30 p.m. – J Creek Cloggers

1 p.m. – Balsam Range

1:30 p.m. – Jackson County Junior Appalachian Musicians Program

2 p.m. – Play party games

2:30 p.m. – Cole Mountain Cloggers

3 p.m. – Heritage toys and activities


(10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

“Journey Stories” – GRAND OPENING. On tour from the Smithsonian, this exhibit explores how transportation helped build the nation, how it has changed the nation’s people, and how the people’s journeys have shaped America’s cultural and economic landscape.

“Horace Kephart in the Great Smoky Mountains” – Examines the life of one of the founders of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and showcases the museum’s collection of his camping gear.

“Migration of the Scotch-Irish People” – Newly updated, focuses on early settlers to the mountains and explores the tension between religion and law.

“Western Carolina: The Progress of an Idea” – An examination of Robert Lee Madison’s “Cullowhee Idea.”

“A Craftsman’s Legacy: The Furniture of Jesse Bryson Stalcup” – Handcrafted furniture from the early 1900s.

Winners from the festival’s traditional foods contest will be on display.