It’s Fall Festival Time in the NC Mountains
Fall is a lot more than beautiful colors and cooler temps when you are in the mountains of western NC. It’s time for some unique and interesting festivals. There is something for everybody.
There is the Woolly Worm Festival for racing fans – that is if you like to race fuzzy caterpillars. The black and brown “worms” are really the larvae of the Isabella Tiger Moth. The Banner Elk, 2-day event draws thousands to the cute town center to race their “worms” up long, taut strings. Winners compete for the $1,000 grand cash prize and the honor of predicting the weather for the upcoming winter. This year’s winner predicated slightly warmer temps and a bit less-than-average snow. Catch the races in 2017, the 40th anniversary of the event: www.woollyworm.com
One of my favorite events in the area is the Valle County Fair in Valle Crucis. Sponsored by the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross, it is a wonderful local event featured homemade baked goods, entertainment (including clogging), and decent quality crafts, in a perfect pastoral setting. I try not to miss it. It’s always the third Saturday in October, the same mid-October weekend as Woolly Worm.
The Fair has become wildly popular, so go early; you will not only beat the traffic, but you will have the best selection of items to buy (and eat). We always arrive just before the 9 AM opening. All proceeds raised support the needs of local families in Avery and Watauga counties; last year $50,000 was raised and donated towards much-needed assistance. Planning for next year? Check out: www.holycrossvallecrucis.net
It’s a great time of year to take a leisurely Sunday drive into Asheville for the annual HardLox Festival to celebrate Asheville’s Jewish Food & Heritage. This year the single-day Festival coincided with the start of Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles. Under a brilliant blue sky, in Asheville’s Pack Square, we listened to traditional Jewish music, meandered among the booths featuring information as well as crafts and Judaica. Kids had a big play area, and parking and bathrooms were plentiful.
We learned about this festival first-hand from friends who have a home in Asheville. Linda Altshuler is an accomplished artist who specializes in Judaica. As expected, her booth was swamped with buyers snapping up her colorful prints, cards, glass cheese boards and other gift items.
But what Jewish festival would be complete without food, and boy did they have food. It’s all very organized, a brochure explains what’s available and the prices, tickets are sold at a special booth, so it keeps the food lines moving quickly. There was pastrami, corned beef, chopped liver, bagels, Matzo Ball soup, Kosher hot dogs, whitefish, babka, mandelbrot, etc, etc. Even Dr. Brown’s sodas. It was wonderful to have some of the delicious food we have dearly missed this summer.