ASHEVILLE NC – 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.