Mountain Heritage Day – celebrating the diversity of the mountains

Fans of WCU’s Mountain Heritage Day festival flocked to the campus intramural fields for a day of family-friendly fun and entertainment.

People enjoying the local music while sitting on blocks of hay. Photo by Haley Smith

People enjoying the local music while sitting on blocks of hay. Photo by Haley Smith

This 41st annual event celebrated cultural diversity and traditions unique to the people of the mountains with music, workshops, hayrides, cultural demonstrations and more on Saturday, Sept. 26.

After forecasts called for rainy conditions on Saturday, the clear skies were a welcome surprise for people planning on attending the celebration.

Every year Mountain Heritage Day impacts the WCU campus and surrounding communities by offering people an opportunity for bonding and togetherness.

“It’s the largest event on this campus, and it’s also the prime opportunity for WCU to include and give back to the community,” said Pam Millard, administrative support for the Mountain Heritage Center. “Mountain Heritage Day shows off the diversity of the mountains with the event of the year.”

Many festivalgoers agree with Millard, including Janice Johnson, a festivalgoer visiting from Montana who is attending the celebration for the first time in nearly seven years after moving away.

“Mountain Heritage Day is important because it gives people a chance to share crafts and stories,” said Johnson. “Everyone just seems really at ease here.”

Those Kooky Chickens vendor. Photo by Haley Smith

Those Kooky Chickens vendor. Photo by Haley Smith

Several people named the crafts, music and native stories as their favorite parts of the festival, but the eccentric beard and mustache or chainsaw contests are also a crowd-pleaser.

A folk art booth by the name of ‘Those Kooky Chickens’ won first place in this year’s arts and crafts competition. Husband and wife Tim and Karen Chambers are the artists responsible for the one-of-a-kind hand-painted chickens made of gourds.

“We have been into arts for a long time but it took a while for us to settle on chickens,” said Tim Chambers.

This Highlands, N.C. company has been attending Mountain Heritage Day for many years now, and they won the award for best booth at last year’s festival selling their unique creations. More information about these works of art can be found on their website.

“Mountain Heritage Day brings friends and family together,” said Chambers. “It’s a good place to meet new people and hang out.”

See more photos from 2015 Mountain Heritage Day.

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