September 2016
Discover a Heritage More Than 10,000 Years Old
"Carolina in the Fall" and Other Musical Happenings
Enrich Your Fall Leaf-Looking Visit—Follow the Signs
Remember Your Visit to the NC Mountains & Foothills All Year Long
National and Local Media Spotlight WNC
Discover a Heritage More Than 10,000 Years Old
The Cherokee and their ancestors have lived in the Southern Appalachians for more than 10,000 years, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians calls Western North Carolina home even today. This fall, take the opportunity to learn about this culture and the tradition-bearers who keep it alive at three festivals where you will see demonstrations of Cherokee craft, music, dancing, storytelling, agricultural ways and more. 
Cherokee Heritage Festival:  On Saturday, September 17, from 10 am to 3 pm, visit the free Cherokee Heritage Festival at the Cherokee Homestead Exhibit near downtown Hayesville, NC. Before the Revolutionary War, Cherokee towns extended from North Georgia through Western North Carolina and into Eastern Tennessee, and present-day Hayesville is the site of Quanassee, a thriving town that was part of the Valley Towns division of the Cherokee nation. Some of the events include: 
  • Traditional dancing by Oconaluftee Village Dancers at 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00.
  • Demonstrations by members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, including 95 year-old honored potter Amanda Swimmer, storytelling and demonstrations by Davy Arch, Cherokee life skills by Darry Wood, and more.
  • Native plant walks, tours, and activities, free admission to the Old Jail Museum.
  • Opportunity to purchase Cherokee arts and crafts and to enjoy traditional Cherokee food.
Mountain Heritage Day: On Saturday, September 24, visit the 42nd annual Mountain Heritage Day on the campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. This festival is a combination of an old-fashioned mountain fair and a showcase for Southern Appalachian music, arts, dance and song. It includes living Cherokee traditions such as the annual stickball demonstration, presented this year by the Hummingbird and Big Cove Youth stickball teams.
Cherokee Fair: On October 4-8, visit the 104th Annual Cherokee Fair at the Cherokee Fairgrounds, in Cherokee, NC. In addition to typical carnival rides and agricultural show, there will be demonstrations of authentic Cherokee culture, including archery and blowgun demonstrations, local art, dance, music, stickball and more. Tickets are available for purchase at the gate for $10 per person. Children ages 5 and under will be admitted for free. 
You can also learn more about the Trail of Tears and the history of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on the new website of the North Carolina Trail of Tears Association. Download a Trail of Tears National Historic Trail map or click here to learn how to get a printed copy. Both the website and brochure were supported in part by a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.
"Carolina in the Fall" and Other Musical Happenings

Music is a favorite part of the many fall festivals that take place in the North Carolina mountains and foothills. 
Traditional mountain music, including old-time, bluegrass, ballad singing, gospel and early country, can be heard on festival stages and special events, as well as regular venues.
Here are a few suggestions. Check out for a complete listing of opportunities to hear this music that was born and bred in these old mountains. 
  • Carolina in the Fall Music & Food Festival, September 24-26, downtown Wilkesboro, NC. Hosted by the internationally renowned Kruger Brothers, the festival will welcome some of North Carolina’s best Folk/ Roots music bands. 
  • Music in the Mountains Folk Festival, September 24, Burnsville, NC Town Center. 5:30 – 9:00pm.  Enjoy music, song, story and dance recognizing the folk art traditions of the high mountain region. Sponsored by the Toe River Arts Council.
  • Mountain Heritage Day, September 24, on the campus of Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC. Visitors will find three stages of traditional old-time, gospel, and bluegrass music and dance, with plenty of fiddles, banjos, and clogging. 
  • 42nd Annual Fall Festival, John C. Campbell Folk School, October 1-2, Brasstown, NC. Fill your ears with bluegrass, gospel, folk, and Celtic music on both days. Tap your toes to clogging, Morris, and Garland dance performances throughout the weekend, plus visit over 240 fine craft exhibitors tucked along the school's winding wooded paths.
Enrich Your Fall Leaf-Looking Visit—Follow the Signs

This year promises to be a spectacular leaf season, with the earliest shows at the higher altitudes in the High Country, and as October progresses, colors moving their way down the mountains into the lower elevations and foothills. No matter what time you visit, there will be something beautiful to greet your eye in Western North Carolina.
This year, you have the opportunity to get even more out of your fall visit to the NC mountains and foothills. Sixty-nine interpretive signs recently installed throughout the 25 counties of Western North Carolina tell the stories of the events and people who have made this area into such a unique place, with an impact so important to the history of the United States that it was named a National Heritage Area.
These signs are found at important cultural and heritage sites everywhere from Mount Airy to Andrews, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, in villages and cities small and large, and off-the-beaten-path destinations such as the ancient petroglyph Judaculla Rock. To find these treasures, go to, where you can read about each site and download a copy of the Blue Ridge Heritage Trail driving map brochure.

If you're coming into the state from Tennessee on I-40 or I-26, from Virginia on I-77, or from South Carolina on I-85 or I-26, stop at these NC Welcome Centers and take a turn at the new interactive kiosks that tell about the Blue Ridge Heritage Trail. Here you can also pick up a hard copy of the map brochure, along with other materials, including map brochures of the Blue Ridge Music Trail and the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. 
Find the signs on the trail nearest your travel plans, and even if you have to go a bit out of your way, it's like a treasure hunt that the whole family will enjoy. Each sign has a QR code that you can use to access the website from your smartphone.
Both the Blue Ridge Heritage Trail and Blue Ridge Music Trails of NC are programs of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.
Remember Your Visit to the NC Mountains & Foothills All Year Long

If you've ever visited North Carolina's Blue Ridge mountains and foothills and longed to return, here's your chance to remember the beauty of this enchanting region all year long!
Get this beautiful new 2017 NC Waterfalls wall calendar that features a seasonal photo of 12 breathtaking waterfalls in our region, taken by Mark File, owner of Plus, there are 365 things to do in the North Carolina mountains and foothills, one for every day of the year! 
The calendars are only $10, and 100% of the proceeds go to support the work of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership. Financial support such as this helps us to continue to strengthen the economy and protect and preserve the natural and cultural heritage of our special region. 

Share the beauty of our region with family, friends, and business associates! It’s perfect for holiday gifts and business end-of-year gifts (quantity orders available).  Order yours online today!
Our thanks to Mark File and for this great support!
National and Local Media Spotlight WNC
In recent weeks, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and the region were spotlighted by WCQS and WNCW, both regional NPR affiliates, and The Washington Post.
The WCQS news story featured the work of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership and how it has enhanced heritage preservation and tourism to the area. You can hear and read it here.
A travel writer for The Washington Post visited the town of Sylva and wrote a glowing feature story spotlighting it as a great small town destination in Western North Carolina. You can read it here.
WNCW's Paul Foster interviewed BRNHA Executive Director Angie Chandler and Senior Program Director Rob Bell on a recent "Friday Feature," where they spoke about the BRNHA grants program and other work of the BRNHA Partnership. You can hear it here.
Donate Now
Support the work of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area with your tax deductable donation.
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Blue Ridge National Heritage Area  •  195 Hemphill Knob Road  •  Asheville, NC 28803

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