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Mountain Heritage Day ushers in fall with music, crafts, competition

"Gee-haw" and steady-paced mules took folks around the 44th annual Mountain Heritage Day, a modern showcase for old-fashioned Southern Appalachian fun.


The 44th annual Mountain Heritage Day on Saturday (Sept. 29) saw sunny skies and a big crowd for the community-on-campus event at Western Carolina University.

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. Campus police estimated attendance this year as nearing 14,000, primarily during the morning and midafternoon. Organizers said there were 145 vendors, the most ever.

“We had visitors arriving as early as Thursday to enjoy the area,” said Julie Spiro, executive director of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. “We also had the opportunity to share new stores, restaurants, events, accommodations and happenings with guests who had not been to Mountain Heritage Day in several years. We received many positive comments from visitors who were excited to experience new places while they were here for the weekend, and plan a return trip to Jackson County. The weather was wonderful ― we saw visitors in Sylva and Dillsboro enjoying time with their friends and family. Mountain Heritage Day is a tradition for many families and WCU grads, and we are delighted they come home each year for this amazing festival.”

In the tradition of fall festivals and county fairs, Mountain Heritage Day always includes a variety of awards, contests and competitions, and this year was no exception. Results for 2018 are listed below.


People’s Choice: Luc Viau, 1956 Dodge Royal Lancer

First: Mike and Norma Clayton, 1969 Ford Mustang

Second: Ronnie and Sharon Nadine, 1967 Shelby GT 500

Third: Earl Denmon, 1957 Chevrolet Belair

Fourth: Arlin Middleton, 1954 Chevrolet 3100 pickup

Fifth: Vince Medford, 1967 Shelby GT 500


Ann Miller Woodford of Andrews (individual)

Penland Contracting of Franklin (organizational)


WCU Center for Service Learning


Best In The West (nut recipes)

Grand Champion: Theresa Holland, black walnut pound cake

Grand Champion (youth): Maddie Rose Bradley, white pecan fudge

Canned Goods

Grand Champion: Fred Ray Stuever, Early Girl tomatoes

First Place (youth): Mary Georgia Grube, peach jam

Canned Fruit

Grand Champion: Janaye Houghton, blueberries

Second Place: Joseph Haskett, applesauce

Third Place: Janaye Houghton, organic peach fruit leather

Canned Vegetables

Grand Champion: Fred Ray Stuever, Early Girl tomatoes

Second Place: Mike Clayton, green beans

Third Place: Beck family, stewed tomatoes

Canned Jams

Grand Champion: Suzanne Thompkins, apple butter

Second Place: Fred Ray Stuever, strawberry jam

Third Place: Fred Ray Stuever, pear jam

Canned Jelly

Grand Champion: Suzanne Tompkins, concord grape

Second Place: Norma Clayton, concord jelly

Third Place: Rick Geoch, blackberry jelly

Canned Pickles and Relishes

Grand Champion: Beck family, jalapeno pepper rings

Second Place: Suzanne Thompkins, bread and butter pickles

Third Place: Janaye Houghton, pickled beets

Sauces and Catsup

First Place: Beck family, tomato sauce

Heritage Dried Foods

First Place: Janaye Houghton, dried Vidalia onions

Baked Goods, Quick Breads

Grand Champion: Theresa Holland, pina colada zucchini bread

Second Place: Janaye Houghton, blueberry cornmeal skillet bread

Grand Champion (youth): Taelor Creasy, quick banana bread

Baked Goods, Cookies

Grand Champion: Theresa Holland, pecan sandies cookies

Second Place: Janaye Houghton, lavender shortbread cookies

Baked Goods, Cakes

Grand Champion: Paula Mathis, Carolina apple cake

Second Place: Mackensie Jimison, apple pie cupcakes


Crosscut Jack & Jill: Autumn and Justin Woodard

Homeowner (0 to 2.9 cubic inches): Mike Pressley

Homeowner (3.0 to 3.4 cubic inches): Mike Pressley

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: Jordan Lawrence

Class D (5.3 to 5.9 cubic inches), Box Stock: Mike Pressley

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 Jimmy Lawrence

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

Class B (5.0 to 5.9 cubic inches), Modified (racing fuel): Jimmy Lawrence

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): Mike Pressley

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): Jordan Lawrence

Hot Saw (nitro/alcohol): Jordan Lawrence


First Place: Carolina Naturalist, Preston Montague

Send Place: Mountain Man Wood Creations, J.D. Burton

Best Booth Display: Artworks Unlimited, Dick Crowder

Best in Show: Different Drummer Pottery, Terance Painter


There were 120 people participating this year, with category winners and times:

Female Overall Winner, Emily Loafman (22:51)

Male Overall Winner, Joe Bryant (19:05)

Female 14 and younger, Olivia Fagan (45:34)

Male 14 and younger, Roman Creasy (22:06)

Female 15 to 19, Emily Loafman (22:51)

Male 15 to 19, Jamauri Richardson (20:16)

Female 20 to 29, Hillery Matthews (24:14)

Male 20 to 29, Joe Bryant (19:05)

Female 30 to 39, Tracy Dockery (25:32)

Male 30 to 39, Andrew Thrasher (20:37)

Female 40 to 49, Jocelyn Mayer (29:42)

Male 40 to 49, John Flynn (24:45)

Female 50 to 59, Jana Fulton (28:26)

Male 50 to 59, Joel McKenzie (25:11)

Female 60 and older, Hiddy Morgan (37:14)

Male 60 and older, Patrick Caffrey (44:02)

The 45th annual Mountain Heritage Day is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28. To learn more about the region’s premier campus festival, visit or call 828-227-3039.


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