Thursday, April 12, 2007

In the Time of Festivals

Hot damn, if there is anything we here at HS love, it is festivals. Beer festivals, food festivals, wine festivals, jazz festivals, opera festivals, bluegrass festivals, cultural festivals, historic festivals, it doesn't matter - they rule, and you know they rule. Well, I thought I'd drop you some knowledge on a few coming up in the next couple weeks here in the hills - nothing fancy, just stuff you should get in the car and rock with.

1. The 14th Loch Norman Highland Games in Huntersville, North Carolina
April 20-22

This Guy Will Be There
(Image from the Loch Norman Highland Games homepage)

Okay, at this one the attendance is usually around 10,000 folks and, well, okay, here is the website’s summary:

The Loch Norman Highland Games celebrates the heritage and culture of the Scottish immigrants who built Mecklenburg County and the Carolinas. It is one of the largest weekend events in the Lake Norman area attracting some 10-15,000 visitors and participants each year. People have come from all over the United States, Canada, and as far away as Scotland, Ireland, England, Australia, and even South Africa to enjoy the festivities and the athletic competitions.

At the 2006 Loch Norman Highland Games Eric Frasure set the Amateur World Record in the 22lb Hammer Throw at 122 feet and 10 inches. He just missed the United States Professional record by 2 inches! Begun in 1994, The Loch Norman Highland Games hosted by the Catawba Valley Scottish Society has always held a deep admiration in the hearts of Scots and supporters of the event. It is a special gathering where strangers become friends over the weekend. It is also a place where World Class athletes come to compete in various competitions which include Heavy Athletics both professionally and amateurs, bag-piping, fiddle and harp, and Scottish Dance. Not only are there highly competitive events, but more than 90 Scottish and Scots-Irish Clans and organizations bring their banners to demonstrate their support and share family genealogy and heritage exhibits with visitors. Along with this family fun and educational atmosphere you can enjoy world renowned Celtic and Scottish bands while getting a taste of Scottish cuisine (Scotch Eggs and Meat Pies) along with other local delicacies like Carolina BBQ, Smoked Turkey Legs, and even Whiskey Tasting Seminars that are held by expert whiskey demonstrators.

2. The 31st Hillbilly Days in Pikeville, Kentucky
April 20-22

The 2001 Hillbilly Days parade
(Image from the Hillbilly Days website)

This event, run by Pikeville’s (Kentucky) Shriners, is one of the most legendary in the hills, though I don’t know how wild it gets, it does have a hillbilly-themed parade, which is got to be worth something, not to mention tons of music and vendors. I haven't been but be damned and be-boggled I will within the next couple of years.

3. The 21st Yadkinville Bluegrass Contest & Fiddlers' Convention in Yadkinville, North Carolina
April 20-22

The Yadkinville Bluegrass Contest & Fiddlers' Convention

That’s right, this one isn’t fancy, but it looks pretty great. To quote:

This annual event, held on the third Saturday night in April, features some of the best in local and regional bluegrass talent from northwest North Carolina, southwest Virginia, northeast Tennesee, and beyond. The goal of this site is to provide you with any information you may
need concerning this event. Visit the links to get the latest update and other information such as driving directions, contest rules, and even a brief history.

4. The Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville, Tennesseee
April 10-29

(header from the Dogwood Arts Festival homepage)

The Dogwood Arts Festival isn't so much one discrete event as a whole slew of somewhat related events - a garden show, walking tours, a cardboard regatta, parade, arts, crafts, and photo shows, driving and garden tours, and a whole passel of live performances. If you're within a few hours of Knoxville, it is completely worth attending (it has already started, by the by). Check out the site - it is tough to explain just how huge the whole thing is.

Okay, here is the thing. I want to start a comprehensive list of regional festivals and, ideally, of regional recurring events (soon I'll be writing about Knoxville's own Sundown in the City, for instance). But that takes a helluva' lot of footwork and expertise about local such-have-yous. Let us know what you know - we'll drop them in here as soon as possible. Rock on.

UPDATE: Okay, I have found a couple more events of note in the very, berry near future. The first of these our own Vaughn Garland posted here as a comment, specifically:
Hey, You! You forgot about the Appalachian Roots Revival in Boone N.C. on April 21st. Finish up that book you have been working on for five years and come meet me in the hills.
Groovy, groovy, but I wanted to add the ARR's own description of the event - voila:
The Mountain Times Appalachian Roots Revival will be a day filled with terrific live entertainment, outsider art, mouth-watering food selections, talented crafters, a classic car exhibition, fun competitions and a lively public pickin. area. The stage sets will run from indie rock to bluegrass, outlaw twang to folk, and alt-country to psychedelic slamgrass. A portion of the day's receipts will go to support Boone's Habitat for Humanity ReStore facility.
Dude, I have to admit, that does sound awesome, I mean, "psychedelic slamgrass?" Damn me. Oh, and even if you can't attend this year, the site has a plethora of links to bands you should know about. Oo-la-la.

Secondly, I was perusing a favorite blog of ours here at the HS, Ashvegas, this morning and found an entry on the Flat Rock Music Festival's Spring Benefit. Now, while the FRMF itself is in the Autumn, the event organization has decided to throw an additional hoot'n'nanny this very weekend. Note:
Join us for a night of music and fun Featuring:
Ras Alan & the Lions
The Smokey Joe Show
The Hipneks
  • This event will benefit Camp Merry Times and The Flat Rock Music Festival.

  • Festivities will start at 5:00 PM and continue until midnight.

  • Admission will be $40.00 at the event. This admission will include a $5.00 donation to Camp Merry Times, admission, dinner, and tent camping in the meadow.

  • All major credit cards, cash, and checks will be accepted.

  • Discounted earlybird tickets for The Flat Rock Music Festival will be available.

  • BBQ Dinner served from 5:00 - 8:00 PM

  • Beer and Wine will be available for purchase.
Looks pretty awesome, eh? And it is awfully tough to beat any event where the green goes to a good cause. Regardless, thanks for the info Ashvegas - you continue to rule.


Our Goblin Market said...

Hey, You! You forgot about the Appalachian Roots Revival in Boone N.C. on April 21st. Finish up that book you have been working on for five years and come meet me in the hills.

Anonymous said...

The website for Mast General Store has a pretty good calender of events. It might save you some leg work.