Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host the annual Mountain Life Festival at the Mountain Farm Museum on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival preserves the legacy of Appalachian folkways and is a tribute to the many families who lived on lands that would later become the national park. All activities are free and open to the public.
The Mountain Life Festival showcases traditional fall activities that were an important part of rural life in the southern Appalachian Mountains. The spirit of cooperation that existed among families and neighbors is reflected in this event. Demonstrations will include hearth cooking, apple butter making, blacksmithing, lye soap making, food preservation, and chair bottoming. Artifacts and historic photographs from the park’s collection will be on display. The festival will also coincide with our music jam sessions held on the porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center from 1–3 p.m. every first and third Saturday of the month.
The centerpiece of the event is the sorghum syrup demonstration which the national park has provided each fall for over 30 years. The syrup is made much the same way it was produced a hundred or more years ago, using a horse or mule-powered cane mill and a wood-fired cooker. The syrup making demonstration is provided by students, staff, and volunteers from Swain County High School Future Farmers of America through a cooperative agreement with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA).
The Mountain Farm Museum is located adjacent to Oconaluftee Visitor Center on Newfound Gap Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, two miles north of Cherokee, NC. For more information call the visitor center at (828) 497-1904.
Photo: FFA volunteers make syrup.