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Mountain Life Festival Showcases Appalachian Folkways

Mountain Life Festival Showcases Appalachian Folkways

The annual Mountain Life Festival at the Mountain Farm Museum in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is scheduled for Saturday, September 16, 2017. This event continues to preserve the legacy of Appalachian folkways and is a tribute to the many families who lived on lands that would later become the national park. The event hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public.

The purpose of the Mountain Life Festival is to share with park visitors some of the traditional fall activities that were an important part of rural life in the southern mountains. The spirit of cooperation that existed among families and neighbors is reflected in this event. Demonstrations on the grounds of the mountain farm museum include hearth cooking, apple butter making, blacksmithing, lye soap making, food preservation, and gardening. Artifacts and historic photographs from the National Park’s collection will also be on display. Mountain Life Festival will 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.

Lye soap demonstration at Mountain Life Festival.

Volunteers Hannah Reed and Gee Phillips making lye soap.

Sorghum syrup demonstration at Mountain Life Festival

FFA members making Sorghum syrup at Mountain Life Festival in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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. Students, staff, and volunteers from Swain County High School Future Farmer’s of America provide the syrup making demonstration through a cooperative agreement with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains Association.

The Mountain Farm Museum is located adjacent to the park’s Oconaluftee Visitor Center on US 441 in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, two miles north of Cherokee, North Carolina. For more information call the visitor center at (828) 497-1904.

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