For 45 years, Mountain Heritage Day remains a crowd favorite.

The 45th annual Mountain Heritage Day on Saturday, Sept. 28, was another successful event for Western Carolina University and the surrounding communities ― in spite of record heat (most of the day) and rain (a brief but torrential afternoon downpour), campus police estimated the total attendance to be more than 14,000.

The festival of Southern Appalachian traditions and culture is renowned as a showcase of mountain music, family activities and the region’s finest arts and crafts, and organizers said the lineup did not disappoint.

In the tradition of fall festivals and county fairs, there are also contests, from juried canned goods and cooking to a 5K run, to a chainsaw competition and a viewers’ choice classic car and truck show.

“This year’s car show had 28 entries. The lineup included everything from a 1931 Model A to a ‘Blues Brothers’-style 2004 Crown Victoria,” said Deidre Hopkins, a WCU executive assistant and longtime festival volunteer. “The car show is something that I look forward to each year. I can’t tell you much about a car, other than how to check the oil and how to put gas in it, but I love spending time with my friends at the Mountain Heritage Day car show. I enjoy seeing familiar faces as they enter their vehicle, but I continue to welcome several new entrants and hope that they, too, become a regular at the car show. It is a group effort where community members, such as Harold Hensley and Bud Clayton, as well as the WCU Staff Senate work alongside of me to make the car show a success.”

This year’s Mountain Heritage Awards, given in honor of achievements in historic preservation and outstanding cultural contributions in the region, were presented by WCU Chancellor Kelli R. Brown to Bill Crawford, local historian and genealogist, and the community preservation group, the Cashiers Historical Society.