Boone Heritage Festival to be held Oct. 12
by Sarah Ann Schultz
Time travel may not have been invented yet, but the Boone Heritage Festival comes pretty close.
The Hickory Ridge Living Heritage Museum will host the third annual Boone Heritage Festival on Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is located on Horn in the West Drive in Boone. The festival offers a picture of what life in eighteenth-century Boone was like. Admission to the event is free.
The Boone Heritage Festival was originally known as the Apple Festival until Dave Davis, curator of the Hickory Ridge Living Heritage Museum, suggested revamping the event in 2011. Davis predicted that the event would have a better turnout if they focused on the heritage of the area instead of the fall season.
"Some of the other towns in the area have a signature festival and Boone didn't seem to have one," said Michelle Ligon, the festival's planner and a at Hickory Ridge. "We wanted to put it together and name it in a way that the town could feel proud of it."
And Davis' prediction turned out to be correct. After the first festival was a success, the second festival grew by more than 30 percent, Davis estimated. And even more visitors are expected this year.
The festival displays a little bit of everything about colonial life: traditional bluegrass music, storytelling, flintlock rifle firing, pewter molding demonstrations, leather working, flint napping, spinning and weaving demonstrations and tatting. Venders will also be selling various crafts and concession food. All volunteers will be dressed in 18th-century period clothing.
"It's certainly a different type of festival," said Mike Campbell, a long-time volunteer at Hickory Ridge. "It's that great window which offers us a view to the past."
And that's what the festival's all about -- giving the people of Boone a glimpse into the lives of the people who came before them.
"This festival gives the community an opportunity to get up close and personal with the cultural and historical roots of Boone," said Mark Freed, cultural resources programs coordinator for the town of Boone. "The traditions are showcased and celebrated. That is what a heritage festival is all about."
The lack of admission charge sets the Boone Heritage Festival apart from other festivals of this nature. The food and craft vendors have to turn 10 percent of their profits back over to the museum, and the festival is sponsored by the town of Boone, Mast General Store and the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority. Visitors are asked to consider donating to the museum, but no charge is required.
"We don't make a big bunch of money off of it," Davis said. But it's something good for everyone to get out and see stuff and learn stuff. It's a culture that everybody really needs to know about."
Hickory Ridge's volunteers also hope that the festival will generate a greater awareness of the museum itself. The museum is open in May through October on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The festival will end the museum's 2013 season.
Until then, the festival's volunteers are gearing up for the festival on Oct. 12 and hoping for good weather.
"I hope it's just going to be gangbusters," said Jane Campbell, a fiber artist and a long-time volunteer at Hickory Ridge. "I hope it's just popping with people."