The Cradle of Forestry invites people of all ages to celebrate the heritage of western North Carolina during the annual Forest Festival Day on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. This is the Cradle’s largest event of the year.
This activity-filled, family event commemorates the traditions of mountain living and craft in a unique and beautiful setting. More than 30 traditional craftsmen, exhibitors, and musicians will line two paved trails at the Cradle of Forestry to help celebrate. During the event, five colleges will compete for a trophy in the 16th Annual John G. Palmer Intercollegiate Woodsmen’s Meet, organized by Haywood Community College. STIHL is the presenting sponsor of the festival.
At the corral along the Biltmore Campus Trail, festival-goers can cheer as college forestry students compete during the Woodsmen’s Meet that has the flavor of an old-time lumberjack competition. Students from Haywood Community College, Penn State Mont Alto, Montgomery Community College, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina State University will test their skills in a number of events including archery, axe throwing, crosscut sawing and pole climbing. If you plan on spending a couple of hours at the Woodsmen’s Meet, you may want to bring a chair or blanket to sit on. The schedule for the Woodsmen’s Meet is below.
Also along the Biltmore Campus Trail, visitors can see traditional crafts demonstrated including weaving, open hearth cooking, blacksmithing, and creating corn husk dolls. Wash clothes the old way at the wash place. Learn about efforts to restore our native chestnut tree from The American Chestnut Foundation.
The Forest Festival Trail invites hands-on activities during the festival. Grab a partner and try your hand at the crosscut saw while making a tree cookie to take home. Visit with Trout Unlimited volunteers and try casting for one of the trout in the pond. See pottery being made the old way with a kick wheel. Learn the fine points of safely felling a tree with hand tools, and practice rolling a log. Talk with a fiddle maker and try out one of his instruments.
Live music in the amphitheatre features QuarterHouse bluegrass band at 11:45 a.m., followed by a music program for all ages, Songs of Forest Folk, until 1:30 p.m. The music continues with roving musicians around the trails. Food will be available for purchase during the event.
Forest heritage is a focal point of the festival, which makes the Cradle of Forestry an ideal venue as it is the birthplace of modern forestry in America. Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck, forester for George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate from 1895 – 1909, founded America’s first forestry school in 1898 and used the present Cradle of Forestry area as its summer campus. At that time, the word “forestry” was a vague and new idea in this nation. He encouraged his students and timberland owners to manage forests for the future. Forest Festival Day celebrates this heritage and our forest lands today.
This year’s Forest Festival Day is part of Transylvania County’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. For a complete list of activities and demonstrations during the event visit www.cradleofforestry.org, or call the Cradle at (828) 877-3130. Admission for this event is $6.00 for ages 16 and older; $3.00 for youth 15 and under and holders of America the Beautiful and Golden Age passes. Children under four years old are admitted free. The Cradle of Forestry is located four miles south of Parkway Milepost 412 on Hwy. 276 in the Pisgah National Forest, six miles north of Looking Glass Falls.
Schedule of Woodsmen’s Meet Events:
9:00 -10:00 a.m.: Archery
10:00-11:00 a.m.: Team Log Roll
11:00-11:30 a.m.: Horizontal Speed Chop (Female)
11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Water Boil
12:00-12:30 p.m.: Pulpwood Toss for Accuracy
1:15- 2:00 p.m.: Axe Throw and Pole Fell
2:00- 2:30 p.m.: Pole Climb
2:30- 3:30 p.m.: Cross Cut saw events
3:30-4:00 p.m.: Single Buck
4:00-4:30 p.m.: Bolt Split
4:30-5:00 p.m.: Chain Saw Events