Vibrant lineup of musical performers set for Mountain Heritage Day

Mountain Heritage Day, the annual celebration of Southern Appalachian culture presented by Western Carolina University, has announced a partial slate of musicians scheduled to perform at the 45th annual event on Saturday, Sept. 28.

Becky Buller and her band

Acts include Carolina Blue, a Brevard-based bluegrass band performing in the tradition of Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys; Becky Buller, a two-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and singer; and Bobby McMillon, a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award recipient known for emotionally moving songs and storytelling.

Longtime Mountain Heritage Day favorites Phil and Gaye Johnson, Whitewater Bluegrass Company, the Dietz Family and the Queen Family are among the more than a dozen artists scheduled to appear. The youthful Burnett Sisters, emerging from the Junior Appalachian Musicians program, will bring their energetic renditions of old-time and bluegrass traditions, while Ashton Woody will spin “jack tales” and other yarns.

In addition to performers on two stages, there are opportunities on the grounds for everyone to join in singing, with a shape-note singing and ballad singing circle. The always popular dance troupes Apple Blossom Cloggers, Cole Mountain Cloggers and perennial crowd-pleasers the Bailey Mountain Cloggers are booked again for this year.

Carolina Blue

“For anyone wanting to kick up their heels, there will be a community dance at 4 p.m. with Brett and Pan Riggs and friends providing the tunes and calling the dances,” said Peter Koch, a festival organizer and education associate at WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center.

Mountain Heritage Day also hosts a variety of fun and serious competitions that reflect the enterprising spirit of the mountains. A 5K race begins at 8 a.m. and winds its way through the campus. A nationally recognized chainsaw and timber sports event typically draws numerous competitors. A vintage, classic and antique car and truck show is a viewers’ choice contest, with attendees able to walk among the vehicles and cast votes, with plaques presented to the winning picks. More than 150 vendors, with a variety of high-quality arts and crafts on sale, and folk art demonstrators are expected, along with nonprofit community and civic booths.

The festival goes on, rain or shine. Festival attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for comfortable seating. Dogs on leashes are allowed on the grounds, with water and comfort stations provided. For more information and updates, go to www.mountainheritageday.com.