Appalachian culture featured at 39th Heritage Weekend, Sept. 21-22

Press release from the Southern Highland Craft Guild:

Appalachian Culture gets the Spotlight for the 39th Heritage Weekend at the Folk Art Center

September 21-22, Saturday, 10am-4pm, Sunday 12-5 pm

Folk Art Center, Milepost 382, Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, NC

The 39th Annual Heritage Weekend will be held on September 21 and 22 at the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Folk Art Center. This free celebration of mountain heritage organized 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 2:00-3:00pm. A whimmy diddle is an Appalachian folk 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.

Ongoing demonstrations will include natural dyeing, printmaking, woodworking, furniture making, stone carving, spinning, weaving, quilting, pottery, corn shuck dolls, rifle making, basketry, broom making, & soap making.

On Saturday, Anthony Cole will be on hand to demonstrate the disappearing art of shearing sheep throughout the day, and on Sunday, Joe Parham will show how he trains Shetland sheepdogs to herd at 1:00 and 3:00. A music stage will provide further entertainment with bluegrass and old-time music. Local cloggers will display the energy and fancy footwork that goes into the mountain dance tradition. Lunch is available from Granny’s Kitchen food truck, featuring homestyle favorites.

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 take a walk through the woods. For more information, including a list of participating craftspeople and musicians, call 828-298-7928 or visit

Entertainment Schedule:

Saturday, September 21

10am – Jack Tales (storytelling) with Ashton Woody

11am – Smoky Mountain Rhythm

12pm – Split Rail

1pm – Blue Eyed Girl

2pm – 39th Annual Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition

3pm – J Creek Cloggers

Sunday, September 22

12pm – Honey Holler

1pm – Carol Rifkin

2pm – Cole Mountain Cloggers with Carol Rifkin

2:30pm – Buncombe Turnpike

3:30pm – Allanstand All-Stars

Sheep Herding at 1:00pm & 3:00pm on Sunday.

Demonstrations include:

Sheep shearing, natural dyeing, printmaking, woodworking, furniture making, stone carving, spinning, weaving, quilting, pottery, corn shuck dolls, rifle making, basketry, broom making, soap making.

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