The 36th Annual Heritage Weekend will be held on Sept. 17 and 18, 2016, at the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC. This free celebration of mountain heritage is sponsored by the Southern Highland Craft Guild and features traditional crafts accompanied by music and dancing.
A highlight of the weekend is the 36th Annual World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition on Saturday afternoon, from 2-3pm. A whimmy diddle is an Appalachian mountain toy traditionally made from two sticks of rhododendron. Notches are carved into one stick and a propeller is attached to the end. Rubbing the notches with the second stick makes the propeller spin. Can you get it to gee (spin to the right) and haw (spin to the left)?
During the World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition contestants are judged on the number of rotations between gee and haw they can complete during a given time. They may be asked to switch hands or whimmy diddle behind their back. All ages may compete with trophies given for best child, adult, and professional. Winners receive a Moon Pie, a t-shirt, and bragging rights.
On going demonstrations will include traditional woodworking with traditional tools, weaving, spinning, dyeing, broom making, stone carving, and print making. Visitors will have the opportunity to try their own hand at some of the crafts and an activity table will encourage young people to create.
On Saturday, Anthony Cole will be on hand to demonstrate sheep shearing throughout the day, and on Sunday, Joe Parham will bring animals to demonstrate how he trains dogs to work with sheep at 1pm and 3pm. A music stage will provide further entertainment with blue grass and gospel music. Local cloggers will demonstrate the energy and fancy footwork that goes into the mountain dance tradition. A quality lunch will be available from Farmhouse BBQ, selling delicious barbecue and tasty side dishes.
The Blue Ridge Parkway’s Folk Art Center is the ideal place for Heritage Weekend with free parking and a grassy area for picnics and relaxation. Spend an early autumn weekend in Western North Carolina honoring and learning about the crafts of yesteryear. Tour the Folk Art Center and take a walk through the woods.
The Southern Highland Craft Guild is a non-profit, educational organization established in 1930 to bring together the crafts and craftspeople of the Southern Highlands for the benefit of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation. The Southern Highland Craft Guild is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
For more information, including a list of participating craftspeople and musicians, call 828/298-7928 or visit (www.craftguild.org/heritageweekend).