Folkmoot ‘Mountain Memories’ series

Folkmoot is proud to partner with the Mountain Memories organization and Waynesville’s own Bob Plott to launch the Mountain Memories performance series at historic Queen Auditorium on the Folkmoot campus.

The series opens with “Mountain Memories No. 1: A Hazelwood Gathering” at Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Folkmoot Friendship Center in Waynesville. Doors open at 6 p.m. with food and beverages available in the cafeteria. The “Mountain Memories” show starts at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. 

The untold story: Smokies seeks to showcase history of African-Americans in the park

Many plotlines weave through the story of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but if the park were a book, some of those plotlines be written in bold, with others buried in small type. 

“We probably go overboard in telling the story of the white Appalachian settlers to this area,” said Susan Sachs, the park’s acting chief of resource education. “We do a better job of telling the stories of the Cherokee, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. But then when it comes to the African-American story, we know that we are failing there.”

The story behind the man: First-ever Horace Kephart biography explores a complex man and momentous life

Horace Kephart has been dead for 88 years, but his name and his story still pull an undercurrent through Western North Carolina. 

Kephart is acclaimed as the father of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, an outdoorsman gifted with an adventurous soul, and the author of such staples of regional literature as Our Southern Highlanders and Camping and Woodcraft. He’s derided, too, as a man with a severe drinking problem, a shirker of family responsibility and an outsider who profited off of sometimes less-than-flattering depictions of the locals. 

Book examines change in rural Appalachia

In the last 75 years, the landscape and the culture of the Appalachian South have undergone enormous change.

Take the town in which I live. Just 16 years ago, this town offered two large grocery stores, a K-Mart, and of course numerous other small, family-owned shops. That was the extent of choices for shoppers. The nearby motels wore that look of seedy disrepair found in so many such establishments built in the 1950s. The town boosted 10 Seven-Elevens, but had few restaurants other than the usual fast food places. By their dress and accents, many of the people in the stores and on the streets were easily identifiable as natives, born and bred in these hills.

Despite threats to funding, ARC soldiers on

The $100,000 grant to Haywood Community College from the Appalachian Regional Commission wasn’t the first made by the ARC in the area, but since the election of President Donald Trump in late 2016, there’s been an ongoing fear that any grant from ARC could be the last grant from ARC. 

App-alling: Trump budget gut shot to down-and-out Appalachia

Many rural Americans who voted for Donald Trump last November did so based on his promise to cut the federal deficit and rein in spending. When he announced his preliminary budget proposal March 16, however, Democrats and Republicans alike were shocked at the extent of proposed cuts to programs that serve some of the nation’s poorest rural communities.

Hogs have long been an Appalachian staple

mtn voicesHog Holler, Hog Branch, Hog Camp Branch, Hog Cane Branch, Hog-eye Branch, Hogback Gap, Hogback Holler, Hogback Knob, Hogback Ridge, Hogback Township, Hogback Mountain, and Hogback Valley. In addition there are six sites in Western North Carolina named Hogback Mountain. Proof enough, if anyone required it, that hogs are an essential part of the mountain landscape.

Healing the mountains, healing the people

art frByron Ballard is one misunderstood witch.

“There is this whole cultural mythology that witches aren’t human. They’re seen as these otherworldly creatures,” she said. “Then, you have this Hollywood icon in films, and with things like ‘American Horror Story’ or ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch,’ these beloved characters, but that’s not who we are or what we’re about.”

Passing on the song of Appalachia: JAM teaches music, tradition and a sense of place

coverAt the front of the room, banjos and fiddles plow through an Appalachian repertoire. Fingers dance across strings, conjuring the history and tradition that have seeped out of the region’s hills for generations. 

“Trying to get’em to play together on the same beat at the beginning is kind of like herding cats,” laughed instructor Robby Robertson. “But by the end they get it together.”

Across the audience, parents capture the moment with cell phone cameras. The young musicians focus on their instruments and ready themselves for another song.

Mural brings Dillsboro’s past and setting to life

art muralDillsboro will soon be graced with a large mural depicting the cultural heritage of the village, its key landmarks and its natural setting.

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