Freshly named one of the top 20 festivals in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society, Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day returns for its 43rd year. Aiming for the vibe of a large family reunion, the event features three stages of traditional old-time, gospel and bluegrass music and dance, plus craft workshops and shape-note singing. And to build on its annual inclusion of culture from the region’s native people — including the popular stickball game — a number of Cherokee-related events get spotlight attention. Among them are a performance by renowned storyteller Lloyd Arneach, songs by the New Kituwah Academy Traditional Singers and stone-carving demonstrations. The 2017 festival is dedicated to Steve Sutton, a WCU alumnus and longtime festival performer and supporter who passed away unexpectedly in May. Mountain Heritage Day takes place Saturday, Sept. 30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and is free to attend. wcu.edu. Photo courtesy of WCU
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