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WCU ready to host Mountain Heritage Day Saturday, most popular outdoor festival for region

Dancing at Mountain Heritage Day 2021


CULLOWHEE – If you would like to experience the many facets of mountain culture, then this Saturday’s 48th Mountain Heritage Day festival is for you. Mountain Heritage Day is an annual multicultural celebration held on the Western Carolina University campus from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free admission, free parking and free shuttle service.

“Mountain Heritage Day is a gift from Western Carolina University to the community, and everyone from everywhere is welcome to attend,” said WCU Chancellor Kelli Brown. “This family-oriented festival shows how much we value this incredible, beautiful region we call home and its diverse culture and history.”

Renowned as a showcase of bluegrass and mountain music, family activities and the region’s finest arts and crafts, other highlights include presentation of the Mountain Heritage Awards to an individual and an organization in honor of achievements in historic preservation and outstanding cultural contributions. 

Bluegrass, traditional and gospel music are an important part of the event, which is equal parts of a family reunion, a harvest festival, an arts and crafts showcase, a county fair and musical jamboree — all to celebrate the wonderful diversity of Southern Appalachian history and culture. This year’s headline musical act will include the Becky Buller Band and Mountain Heart.

Alongside the musical stages are arts and crafts booths, children's activities, heritage demonstrations, Cherokee stick ball games, a chainsaw competition, wagon rides and a classic car and truck show. An additional handiwork and skills exhibitor recently added to the lineup is Kevin Fountain, who will demonstrate corn grinding and hit and miss engines. The Jackson County 4-H will have demonstrations from their Livestock Club and Simone Pace will provide clogging instruction for kids in two sessions in the Children’s Tent. Liberty Baptist and Bailey Mountain Cloggers are set to also entertain the crowd.

Men sawing wood at Mountian Heritage Day 2021


The festival, which began in 1974, continues its legacy of highlighting traditional folk arts and skills, Cherokee crafts, clogging, storytelling and shape-note singing. More than 130 arts and crafts vendors will be on hand with creations ranging from furniture and jewelry to leather goods and metalwork. Vendors will offer a variety of festival food, with favorites ranging from fry bread, kettle corn and homemade ice cream to funnel cakes and barbecue. Organizers said additional musical acts, including local favorites, and clogging teams will be announced soon.

Mountain Heritage Day goes on rain or shine, and everyone is invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets for comfortable seating. Dogs on leashes are allowed, with water and comfort stations provided.
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