The 38th Annual Heritage Weekend will be held on Sep. 15-16 at the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Folk Art Center. This free celebration of mountain heritage held by the Southern Highland Craft Guild features traditional crafts accompanied by music and dancing.

A highlight of the weekend is the annual World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition on Saturday, from 2-3 p.m. 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 shear sheep throughout the day, and on Sunday, Joe Parham will bring animals to demonstrate how he trains dogs to work sheep at 1 p.m.and 3 p.m. A music stage will provide further entertainment with blue grass and gospel music. Local cloggers will display the energy and fancy footwork that goes into the mountain dance tradition. A quality lunch will be available from J.Lee's Chicken Shack, selling delicious Southern eats.

The Blue Ridge Parkway’s Folk Art Center is the ideal place for Heritage Weekend! There is free parking and a grassy area for picnics and relaxation. Spend an early autumn weekend in WNC honoring and learning about the crafts of yesteryear. Tour the Folk Art Center and maybe take a walk through the woods. For more information, including a list of participating craftspeople and musicians, call 828-298-7928 or visit www.craftguild.org.

Entertainment Schedule:

Saturday, Sept. 15

11 a.m. – Smoky Mountain Rhythm

Noon – Split Rail

1 p.m. – Blue Eyed Girl

2 p.m. – 38th Annual Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition

3 p.m. – J Creek Cloggers and the Ross Brothers

Sunday, Sept. 16

Noon – Level Ground Gospel

1 p.m. – Carol Rifkin

2 p.m. – Cole Mountain Cloggers with Carol Rifkin

2:30 p.m. – Gospel Grass

3:30 p.m. – Buncombe Turnpike 

Participating Members:

Cassie Dickson, flax and spinning

Lyle Wheeler, chairmaking

Ronnie McMahan, wood carving

Dede Styles, natural dyeing and spinning

John Dickens, wood carving

Rita de Maintenon, heritage lace and crochet

Mary Nichols, spinning

Lin Oglesby, knitting

Tony Dills, carving

Michael Hatch, glassblowing

Sandy Adair, tapestry weaving

Barbara Miller, weaving

Peggy Whitted, weaving

Susan Taylor, basketry

Karen Collis, cornshuck dolls

Ellie Kirby, print making

Judith Long, soap making

Tom Brown, heritage apples

Anthony Cole, sheep shearing

Joe Parnham, sheep dogs

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