Crafts, collies and whimmy diddles: Heritage Weekend returns

Storytellers, historical re-enactors, a bevy of artisans and the world’s best wielders of the gee haw whimmy diddle will all gather at the Folk Art Center this weekend, Sept. 15 and 16, for the 27th Annual Heritage Weekend.

Gee and haw: Young competitors at last year’s World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition. The event returns to the Folk Art Center this Saturday as part of the Annual Heritage Weekend. photo by Kent Priestley

Organized by the Southern Highlands Craft Guild, attractions at the event include famed Appalachian storyteller Orville Hicks, live musicians, cloggers, border collies, more than 30 craftspeople, and the re-enactors of

Then, of course, there’s the World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition, featuring everyone’s favorite propellered mountain toy, which starts spinning at 3 p.m. on Saturday. “There are categories for each age,” Folks Arts Center spokesperson

Ada Dudenhoeffer explains. “The contestants will come in front of our judges, who will be sitting on a row of hay bales. They’ll count the rotations and reversals of the propeller. We’ll see how many times they can ‘gee’ and ‘haw’ in a minute.”

The craftspeople, some of whom are Guild members, will demonstrate skills such as making face jugs, Celtic woodcarving, rifle-making, blacksmithing, weaving and other traditional Appalachian skills.

“For the second year, we’ll also have Alice Erkhart’s border collies back,” Dudenhoeffer adds. “That’s always one of my personal favorites, and they’re very entertaining.” The collies will demonstrate herding techniques Sunday afternoon with a herd of four sheep.

Another highlight of the weekend will be an interactive exhibit with beekeepers Connie and Ted Brown. The exhibit includes an observation hive along with honey-tasting and other hive products. Children will also get the opportunity to use beekeepers’ tools such as a smoker.

For more information about the weekend, visit or call 298-7928.


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