Press release from Western Carolina University:

CULLOWHEE – You can make history as a competitor at this year’s Mountain Heritage Day, Saturday, Sept. 27, on the Western Carolina University campus.

This year’s festival celebrates its 40th anniversary, along with the university’s 125th, with a number of contests, from whisker-growing to old-fashioned costumes and home-canned goods contests, a chainsaw competition, antique auto show and the Mountain Heritage Day 5K. Your name can go down in history as a winner at this milestone-year event.

Artists and craftspeople will even be in juried competition for cash and ribbon recognition of their products and booths. Applications are still being accepted (available online at, and are especially sought for vendors of baskets and weaving, glassblowing, cornshuck art, woven rugs, leather goods and handmade ceramic tiles.

There is no entry fee for any of the contests except the arts/crafts vendor booths and the 5K.

Planned and coordinated by students in WCU’s Sport Management Association, the 5K race usually begins at 8 a.m. and winds its way through the campus, with registration beginning an hour before. Proceeds from the entry fee support a WCU scholarship fund. Full race details, pre-registration forms and costs will be posted online at

Baked goods as well as home-canned and preserved foods will be judged in the festival’s “A Gathering In” traditional foods competition. An adult and a youth winner also will be declared for the “Best in the West Sweet Potato Recipe Contest.” Winners will receive ribbons in a number of categories, all described in the booklet linked to the “Contests” page at For more information, contact Peter Koch at or 828-227-7129.

Children and adults are welcome to compete in the traditional clothing contest, sporting the fashions of pioneer days through the turn-of-the-19th-to-20th century. Audience members participate in the judging after competitors model their outfits on stage.

Trophies will be awarded in the different classes of the chainsaw contest to be held the morning of Mountain Heritage Day.

Owners of antique and classic automobiles also are invited to polish them up and compete for awards by participating in the festival’s all-day car show.

Teams are scheduled to square off in traditional Cherokee stickball, as well as the traditional courting game called “fish.” Though there are no contests among festival food vendors, cloggers, musical performers, shape-note singers, or living history demonstrators, you will find many old and new favorites.

Admission and parking still will be free at WCU’s daylong celebration of Southern Appalachian music, arts, dance and history.

Mountain Heritage Day and its many competitions are only weeks away – always the last Saturday in September. There’s plenty of time to start growing, sewing and canning; and to practice chopping, polishing and jogging.

For more information about Mountain Heritage Day contests, call WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129. You can also keep up with developments leading up to the festival on Facebook at or by following @WCU on Twitter.

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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