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The High Country Will Be Cranking it Up With Carolina Flywheelers, July 25-27 

It’s always fascinating to see antique equipment chugging along at the High Country Crank-Up. Photo submitted.

By Sherrie Norris 

If you have a fascination for antique engines, tractors or other old vehicles and equipment — or if you would like to learn more about them, or maybe you just like to mingle with those who already know all about what makes them chug — the 44th annual High Country Crank-Up is the place you ought to be. 

For three big days — Thursday-Saturday, July 25-27 — one of the premiere events in the southeast for lovers of all things old, hit or miss, will be converging upon the High Country Fairgrounds for this once-a-year event.

Sponsored by the Carolina Flywheelers, this attraction draws folks in from all over the country, with something for the young, and especially the young-at-heart.

It’s all about preserving history and paying tribute to a part of the past that is fast disappearing, said group spokesperson and President, A.J. Miller.

Nobody loves an old motor better than Miller, his family and friends can easily attest. Having been raised “out in the country” and following in the footsteps of his paw and store owner, the late Arlie Watson, who had a love for antiques, Miller is a local expert on the subject. He’s not only a collector of old tractors, trucks and cars, but he’s the community “go-to” when anything of that nature needs repaired.

And nobody anticipates this event more so than does Miller, who works hard with the organization to keep history alive and well through promotion and preservation.

It means a lot to him, Miller said, and others, like him, who have a love for the hit-and-miss engines, antique tractors, tools and other farm equipment. “ The stuff you see at this crank-up is just not something you see every day. Plus, we all have a good time just standing around talking about what everybody has. It’s a place where you can bring the young’uns, as well as your grandpaw, and everybody finds something they like.”

The fairgrounds on Roby Green Road in Boone offers convenience in a  spacious and relaxed atmosphere for participants, vendors and spectators alike, Miller said. “And people come from all over the country, up and down the east coast, year after year.”

What has been described as an “historical power event,” the crank-up features antique engines, steam engines, models, tractors, tools and many other farm implements, most of which are still in use today.

And a crowd favorite is always the tractor parade on Saturday, as well as the “pedal pull” featuring kids on pedal tractors. 

Food vendors will be available onsite. No alcohol is allowed on property. The event and its host group will not be responsible for any accidents. 

Gates will open at  9 a.m. each day.

Admission for adults is $5 for one day; $6 for a two-day pass, $8 for all three days. Kids under 12 are admitted free. 

Exhibitors and vendors are welcome at no charge, but Miller said, donations are greatly appreciated. 

Primitive on-site camping is allowed and limited camper hook-ups (with additional fees) are available.

Carolina Fly-Wheelers, Inc. is a local non-profit and historical organization. Current officers of the organization are:

  • AJ Miller, President
  • Rodney Miller, Vice-president
  • Elaine McNeal, Treasurer
  • Samantha Miller, Secretary
  • Betty Hodges, assistant Secretary

Watauga County Fairgrounds is located at 748 Roby Green Rd. Boone, less than a mile off Old Hwy. 421. 

For general show information, contact A.J. Miller at  828-406-0716 or follow on Facebook.

Vendors are welcome to set up and sell their antique collections at the High Country Crank-Up. Photo submitted. 
It’s not often you will find A.J. Miller on a “modern” piece of machinery, but sometimes, he admits, it comes in handy when you’re helping organize a big event like the annual High Country Crank-up. Photo submitted.
The High Country Crank-Up offers something for the young, as well as the young-at-heart, whether it be antique farm equipment, exhibits of various steam engines and so much more.  Photo submitted