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Bolick and Traditions Pottery Hosting Annual Heritage Day and Kiln Opening, Saturday, June 24

By Sherrie Norris 

This time of year sees festivals on every corner in nearly every community, but few compare to the Annual Heritage Day and Kiln Opening at Bolick and Traditions Pottery, just south of Blowing Rock.

Scheduled for Saturday, June 24, the event is always anticipated by folks who come from near and far, making their way into the picturesque valley for a day of intrigue, music, storytelling, shopping, good food and fellowship.

Twice each year —always on the last Saturday in June and the Saturday following Thanksgiving — the Bolick and Calhoun families host the day-long event surrounding their kiln opening, with crowds hovering close by to the see the artisans “bring out” their latest items. 

And those who are there to witness the event at 10 a.m. each time have the opportunity to get first dibs on their favorite items: face jugs, vases, pitchers, candlesticks, and much more of what this multi-talented, fifth and sixth generation crafters have to offer.

Since 1973, Glenn and Lula Bolick have been making pottery together, having learned from the best — Lula’s father, M.L. Owens — of the Original Owens Pottery in Seagrove, where pottery is a way of life.

About two decades later, the Bolick’s daughter, Janet and husband Michael Calhoun, combined their talents and love for pottery and started Traditions Pottery. Together, the Bolicks and Calhouns, began hosting the kiln opening, much to the delight of their customers, who return year after year.

The hosts described the unique process they use, with the “Ground Hog” style kiln as the traditional form of firing pottery — something that was done before electric or gas kilns were designed. They fire the kiln prior to the opening, then at 10 a.m. on the day of the event, guests can watch as the skilled craftsmen crawl inside the kiln and bring out their latest creations. Once all the items are unloaded and placed on tables, shoppers can begin making their selections.

It’s always a fun time for everyone and this year should be no different. 

Live bluegrass, gospel, and Appalachian music will be provided by the Dollar Brothers, Glenn Bolick and Janet Calhoun. Food will be available for purchase from Hot Diggidy Dog. Home-made apple pies  and other handmade items will also available, including  baskets, charcuterie boards and other wood work. Blacksmithing will be demonstrated and related items for sale.

Shops will be open until 4 p.m. 

This event is free and open to the public. Guests are welcome to bring chairs; pets or coolers are not allowed. 

Bolick and Traditions Pottery is located at 4443 Bolick Road, Lenoir, but just a short drive from the High Country.