Thousands flock to the Greening Up the Mountains festival

Main Street booths at Greening Up the Mountains . Photo taken by Jessica Wooten

The 20th annual Greening Up the Mountains festival was April 22. According to event coordinator, Amy Ammons Garza, she’s estimating there were around 1,200 visitors, this is 2,000 more than last year.  Garza said the streets of downtown Sylva were very crowded, not even the rain could discourage visitors.

“When it rained, I think people went into merchants on Main Street or stepped under tents. It only lasted about ten minutes or so. Some evaluations from the vendors show that even if their sales weren’t as high as expected, they were overwhelmed with the amount of people who came to their booths,” Garza said.

Molly Neary has attended the Greening Up the Mountains festival three years in a row. The past two years, she’s worked the GUTM 5k as program coordinator of the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department.

“My job for this 5k was to check in pre-registered runners, and hand out their race bib and shoe time chip. Then, while the race is going, I was required to help cut the shoe time chips off the shoes and organize them back into the box.”

After the 5k cleanup was done, Neary headed for Main Street to check out the festival and buy a souvenir.

“The main reason I stayed was to find a new hand crafted coffee mug to add to my collection, which I did. I love local pottery,” Neary explained.

For Alleson Morris, the festival was a chance for her to help represent her friend’s business, Mount Inspiration. Evans Prater started Mount Inspiration in 2015 using sustainable and organically made products and apparel.  For Morris, this was the first year she’s attended the festival and says they had a big turnout!

“People seemed to come in waves so it would be busy and then calm down for a bit, which was helpful in keeping it from getting overwhelming. I loved the variety of people that stopped in from young to old and everyone in each age group was equally as interested in the products which was a plus.” explained Morris.

Morris had a busy day, but there was one moment that stood out to her.

“We had an adorable family stop at our booth with their son who was celebrating his 1st birthday and he was wearing a shirt that said “Earth Day Birthday Boy” which I thought was adorable and fit perfectly with the theme of the event and earth day of course,” Morris said.

Click on the photo story below for more about this year’s festival!

Greening Up the Mountains 2017