Contest results announced from this year’s Mountain Heritage Day

A popular component of Western Carolina University’s annual Mountain Heritage Day are the judged and juried contests, and other competitions. At the 43rd annual event held Saturday, Sept. 30, nearly 300 people entered various events with dozens taking home ribbons or trophies. Results are listed below.


The awards are given to an individual and organization for outstanding contributions to the preservation or interpretation of the history and culture of southern Appalachia or outstanding contributions to research and interpretation of regional issues. Honorees are chosen by a special committee, with Helen Cable Vance and the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County receiving recognition this year.

Helen Vance (left) accepts the Mountain Heritage Award for individuals from Pat Kaemmerling.

Pat Kaemmerling, chair of WCU’s Board of Trustees, presented the awards. She told the crowd Vance was born in 1926 in the now-defunct town of Proctor in Swain County and moved at 17 with her family from the area now known as the North Shore, for the building of Fontana dam and lake.

“Early on, Helen realized that the promises of the federal government to allow access to the 26 cemeteries that were located in the area prior to the flooding were not materializing,” Kaemmerling said. “She made it her life’s work to correct the breach of promise and establish ways to honor the previous residents who resided in villages that were flooded with the creation of the Fontana Dam. Helen established the North Shore Cemetery and Historical Association of Swain County and under her leadership and influence has ensured that all the cemeteries were found, locations marked and preserved forever. She has been a driving pioneer in this effort and was never afraid to speak up for her and other families’ heritage in the area.”

Representatives of the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County receive the Mountain Heritage Award for organizations from Pat Kaemmerling (second from right.)

Kaemmerling said the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County is dedicated to preserving and sharing the culture, folkways and history of the southern Appalachians, and as with any great community organization, it has partnered with multiple agencies to accomplish its goals. “As one of the founders of the association, Shirley Ridge, said, ‘Heritage is the living part of us, more than just reading or learning, it is a part of who we are,’” Kaemmerling said


The award is presented to an individual on the festival committee for outstanding contributions and exceptional service. It was given to Mark Haskett, event co-chair and director of photography and video services in the WCU Office of Communications and Public Relations.

Mark Haskett (left) is given the Eva Adcock Award by Jim Rowell, former chairman of Mountain Heritage Day.

Jim Rowell, retired director of public relations at WCU and former chair of the festival committee, said of Haskett: “Besides being a fixture on the festival grounds every year, he is a part of all aspects of Mountain Heritage Day, from planning and promoting to putting it all together. Not only does he apply his considerable talents throughout the day, he is incredibly organized and efficient in the weeks leading up to today, and positive and respectful of everyone involved, which says something, because we have more than 150 volunteers, 140 vendors, 70 faculty and staff, not to mention the thousands of guests, coming together.”


Family members of the late Steve Sutton received a plaque and event dedication poster.

The 2017 festival was dedicated to the memory and musical legacy of Steve Sutton, a longtime event performer and supporter who passed away unexpectedly in May at the age of 61. “Steve gave his best, whether on guitar or banjo, whether standing on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry or sitting on a folding chair at a fundraiser for a volunteer fire department,” said Pam Meister, director of WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center. She presented a special plaque in noting the dedication to Sutton’s mother, Bonnie. “He was always humble and gracious, always witty and fun. We remember his devotion to his alma mater, Western Carolina University, and to Mountain Heritage Day, an event he loved and supported. We hold those memories dear, and wish we could again hold the man,” Meister said.


Best in Show: Gene Albritton, Studio Earth

Best Booth: Janette Franich, Designs by Janette

First place: Michael Mason, Mason’s Woodturning

Second place: Sam Tallman, Sam’s Spoons


People’s Choice: Gene Barnes, 1963 Chevrolet Corvette

First: Mike and Norma Clayton, 1969 Ford Mustang

The car show had a variety of makes and models with restorations or modifications on display.

Second: Arlin Middleton, 1954 Chevrolet 3100 pickup

Third: Chic Jones, 1955 Chevrolet 210 sedan

Fourth: Dave Finn, 1949 Willys Jeepster

Fifth: Jay Demming, 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

Sixth: Doug Dunlap, Factory Five “1965” Cobra

Seventh: Kenneth Koehler, 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

Eighth: Dave Finn, 1956 Ford F100

Ninth: Shirley and Carroll Russell, 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air

Tenth: Fred Giarette, 1971 Dodge Demon


Crosscut Jack & Jill: Dell Pittman and Blair Spangler

Even if you weren’t entered in the crosscut saw competition, you could try it during demonstrations.

Homeowner (0 to 2.9 cubic inches): Mike Pressley

Homeowner (3.0 to 3.4 cubic inches): Dell Pittman

Class A (3.5 to 3.9 cubic inches), Box Stock: Mike Pressley

Class B (4.0 to 4.4 cubic inches), Box Stock: Jimmy Lawrence

Class C (4.5 to 5.2 cubic inches), Box Stock: Jimmy Lawrence

Class D (5.3 to 5.9 cubic inches), Box Stock: Jimmy Lawrence

Class E (6.0 cubic inches and up) Box Stock: Jimmy Lawrence

Class D (0 to 3.9 cubic inches), Modified (racing fuel): Mike Pressley

Class C (4.0 to 4.9), Modified (racing fuel): Mike Pressley

Class A (6.0 and up cubic inches), Modified (racing fuel): Jimmy Lawrence

Ed Jones displays a couple of the many chainsaw competition trophies won by Mike Pressley.

Class B (5.0 to 5.9 cubic inches), Modified (racing fuel): Mike Pressley

Class E (0 to 3.9 cubic inches), Modified (nitro/alcohol): Jimmy Lawrence

Class D (3 to 4.0 cubic inches), Modified (nitro/alcohol): Jimmy Lawrence

Class C (4.1 to 4.9 cubic inches), Modified (nitro/alcohol): Jimmy Lawrence

Class B (5.0 to 5.9 cubic inches), Modified (nitro/alcohol): Jimmy Lawrence

Class A (6.0 and up cubic inches), Modified (nitro/alcohol): Jimmy Lawrence

Hot Saw (nitro/alcohol): Jimmy Lawrence


First overall male: Gavin Kinkead (18:41)

First overall female: Michelle Provost (20:55)

The Mountain Heritage Day 5-K featured 110 runners tackling a challenging course along Old Cullowhee Road and through the WCU campus.

First place in age categories

14 and younger female: Olivia Fagan (47:48)

14 and younger male: Roman Creasy (23:41)

15 – 19 female: Hailey Schenk (28:47)

15 – 19 male: Gavin Kinkead (18:41)

20 – 29 female: Michelle Provost (20:55)

20 – 29 male: Victor Jones (19:30)

30 – 39 female: Emily Virtue (28:07)

30 – 39 male: Andrew Thrasher (19:01)

40 – 49 female: Kelly Kinkead (30:44)

40 – 49 male: Kevin Kachilo (27:27)

50 – 59 female: Robin Tanner (25:36)

50 – 59 male: Tom Truitt (23:11)

60+ female: Elizabeth Abbott (43:36)

60+ male: Frank Patterson (40:18)


Pumpkin was the featured food for the popular “Best in the West” recipe competition, with Theresa Holland’s pumpkin zucchini bread declared both grand champion and first place winners in the adult division, and Helen Pahno’s pumpkin spice fudge taking first in the youth division. Other edibles results:


Grand champion was Holly Aldridge for green beans.

First place winners

A popular category of the traditional foods competition is canned goods.

Theresa Holland, grape jelly

Burley Aldridge, mixed vegetables/pickled okra

Norma Clayton, strawberry jelly

Steve Beck, corn relish

Calvin Allison, salsa-verde

Debbie Jefferies, marmalade (marrow and lemon)

Steve Beck, grape marmalade

Luke Holland, dried peppers

Alvin Hodges, pickled ramps

Second place

Mike Clayton, spicy tomato juice, pink grape jelly, apple sauce

Alvin Hodges, squash pickles, zucchini pickles, green beans

Brandon Jefferies, grape jelly

Paula Mathis, squash relish, dilly beans

Luke Holland, grape jelly

Joshua Wilkes and Betsy Aspinwall, apple butter, salsa

Third place

Joshua Wilkes and Betsy Aspinwall, dilly beans

Mike Clayton, tomato soup mix


Grand champion was Theresa Holland for dried apples.


Grand champion was Makenzie Jimison for a hummingbird cake; first place went to Theresa Holland for apple bread, chocolate pretzel peanut cookies, raisin bread and peach cobbler. She also got second place for her strawberry cake, veggie corn bread and almond joy cookies.

Third place

Melissa Franks and Ann Bryson, oatmeal cake

Theresa Holland, biscuits


First place

Anastasia Pahno, bacon cheddar bread

Michael Pahno, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Tops in youth talent are (from left) Lillian Chase, Jacey Begnaud and Sayumi DeSilva.

Nicholas Pahno, orange pound cake


Jackson County 4-H, in association with Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, held a series of regional youth talents shows and held the championship at Mountain Heritage Day. First place went to Lillian Chase, 13, of Weaverville, second place to Jacey Begnaud, 11, of Franklin, and third place to Sayumi DeSilva, 12, of Sylva.

The 44th annual Mountain Heritage Day is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. To learn more about WCU’s premier festival, visit or call 828-227-3039.