September 30, 2023
Experience the sights, sounds, fragrances, and flavors of yesteryear and get a taste of southern Appalachian culture, art, and music at Mountain Heritage Day, a long-running festival presented by Western Carolina University. Enjoy mountain bluegrass music, fun activities, 80 booths of the region’s finest arts and crafts, and vendors offering ethnic, heritage, and festival food. Festival hours are 10 AM until 5 PM. A 5K starts at 8 AM, with proceeds going toward scholarships in the sport management program at WCU. Learn more and sign up for the 5K.
Watch or participate in contests for authentic mountain folk arts and skills, including best beards and mustaches; period costumes; canned, preserved, and baked goods, and chainsaw woodcutting. A stroll through other areas will feature demonstrations of black powder shooting, blacksmithing, salt-making, stone carving, banjo-making, corn shuck crafts, Cherokee pottery/crafts, and broom-making. Hear the melodies of shape-note singing or watch a game of Cherokee stickball. Free wagon rides and hayrides and an antique auto show give a look back at the transportation of former days.
Mountain Heritage Day is Western Carolina University's annual gift to the community with free admission and parking. It's held outdoors, rain or shine. Shuttles operate throughout the day, with stops at designated parking and attraction locations.
Pets are not allowed on festival grounds, but service animals are welcome. Bring umbrellas, hats, and sunblock, as well as lawn chairs and blankets for relaxing on the lawn.
Directions: WCU is located about 50 miles southwest of Asheville (one hour drive) in Cullowhee, south of Sylva. Enter the campus from NC 107 and follow signs to on-campus parking options. Thanks to WCU for the photos!