April 2017
"Mentors and Heros"—Photo Exhibit by David Holt
Cecil Sharp Photos Come to Madison County Arts Council
Ramps! Spring Flavors from the WNC Mountains
Step Outside and Greet the Spring—Take a Hike!
"Mentors and Heros"—Photo Exhibit by David Holt
"Mentors and Heroes, Photography by David Holt," is on display through May 6 at the Western Office of Archives and History, 175 Riceville Road, Asheville, open Monday - Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday 10 am to 2 pm. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
The exhibit includes over 30 black and white portraits of Holt’s many musical mentors and heroes from the 1970s to the early 2000s. Among those featured in the exhibit are Madison County ballad singers and Doc Watson, with whom Holt traveled and performed for many years. Holt calls Watson his “musical father” and most important mentor.
In addition, the exhibit includes several musical instruments from Holt’s personal collection. The “Tree of Life” open-back banjo custom made by Bud Soesby and Wade Mainer’s 1953 Gibson are among those on display.
David Holt is a four-time GRAMMY Award winner who, in addition to being a musician, storyteller, and radio and television host, has done important work documenting and sharing the stories and images of many significant American musicians. In Holt’s words, “These folks have a power and wisdom that you just don’t see in the modern world. They grew up before self-doubt was invented.”
For more information and directions, go to http://www.ncdcr.gov/westernoffice or call 828-296-7230.
Cecil Sharp Photos Come to Madison County Arts Council
One hundred years ago, two intrepid British “song catchers” began a three-year pilgrimage to Appalachia, starting in Western North Carolina, to collect variants and versions of English and Scottish folk songs as sung by descendants of immigrants from the British Isles. 
Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles braved challenging terrain to visit singers and record the notes and words of the songs. Out of their work has come the London-based English Folk Dance and Song Society founded by Sharp, the US-based Country Dance and Song Society, and a remarkable collection of centuries-old songs still sung today.
The first US exhibit of rare, century-old photos taken by Sharp will be on exhibit at the Madison County Arts Center from April 3-May 31. The photos feature some of the singers he visited during his travels.
Their collecting work began in Hot Springs with the help of Olive Campbell, founder of the John C. Campbell Folk School.
By the end of their 46-week travels through North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, the pair had collected more than 1,600 variants of English ballads collected from 281 singers. While the songs have been published, photos of the singers taken by Sharp have never been exhibited in the United States. 
Photo of Sharp and Karpeles interviewing an Appalachian family courtesy of the English Dance and Folk Song Society and the Vaughn Williams Library, London.
Ramps! Spring Flavors from the WNC Mountains
A springtime tradition in the Southern Appalachians is the harvest and eating of ramps, those strong wild onions with overtones of pungent garlic. Ramps are native to rich, damp deciduous forests and emerge in late March and early April each year. Early settlers used them as a tonic in springtime, a tradition likely learned from the Cherokee who believed the potent vegetable cleansed the body of toxins.
They are an acquired taste and not for everyone, but in today's culinary world, they are finding their way onto menus in many upscale restaurants. Click here to listen to a Living Traditions Moment presentation about ramps.
Although ramp season is underway, you still have time to sample these forest treasures at these upcoming ramp festivals:
April 28: Stecoah Valley Center's Annual Ramp Festival, Stecoah, NC, near Robbinsville and Fontana. From 11 am to 4 pm, craft vendors and Cherokee craft demonstrators will be on the grounds, followed by the  annual ramp dinner and concert. Two dinner seatings, at 5:30 and 6:30 pm, include roasted pork loin, ramp/potato home fries, sautéed fresh greens, baked apples, and cornbread. Dinner price is $15.95 for adults, $9.95 for children 12 and under. Dessert is an additional $2.50. Reservations are required. At 7:30 pm, My Highway will perform in concert in the Lynn L. Shields Auditorium. Tickets are $10 adults; $5 students (K-12); Children under 5 are free.
April 30: Graham County Rescue Squad Annual Ramp Fest,125 Moose Branch Rd, Robbinsville, NC. 11 am. Plates are $10 each and include fish or chicken, baked beans, slaw, potato salad, hush puppies, and of course, ramps—raw and stewed.
May 6-7: 85th Annual Ramp Festival, American Legion Post 47 Ball Field, 171 Legion Drive, Waynesville, NC. This two-day festival features crafts, live music & more, with the spotlight on ramps.
May 13: Buladean Community Foundation Ramp Dinner, noon or until the food runs out. Buladean Elementary School, 12190 North Hwy 226, Bakersville, NC. Adults - $10.00 per plate, children 6-11 - $5.00, children 5 and under eat free with a paying adult. Fried potatoes with or without ramps, eggs and ramps, ham or streaked meat, turnip greens, soup beans, cornbread, dessert, and drink. Chow-chow, pickles, relish, hamburgers, and hot dogs will be available. Dine in or carry-out. 828-467-9168 or 828-766-9719.
Warning: Raw ramps are very strong, and the flavor, and odor, may stay with you awhile. 
Step Outside and Greet the Spring—Take a Hike!
Like winter hiking, spring hikes still offer views that are uninhibited by the full growth of forest leaves, but in addition, spring hikers have a chance to see early wildflowers along the trails.
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area boasts the two most visited National Parks in America, two vast national forests, nine state parks, a portion of the Appalachian Trail, the Bartram Trail, and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. There are numerous local greenways, even Asheville's Urban Trail for the less adventuresome. 
The North Carolina Arboretum, Pearson's Falls, and Biltmore are renowned for their showy spring flowers that can be enjoyed on a hike, and Fontana Village is hosting its 43rd Annual Spring Hike Week April 17-21. Chimney Rock, Mount Mitchell, and Grandfather Mountain are terrific for unparalleled scenic views.
There's a hike out there for everyone, so step outside and greet the spring!
Visit the BRNHA Hiking page for more information and many specific resources that will help you plan a safe and memorable hike this spring.
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Blue Ridge National Heritage Area  •  195 Hemphill Knob Road  •  Asheville, NC 28803


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