The colors, flavors, sights and sounds of the mountain harvest season all come together at the Valle Country Fair in beautiful Valle Crucis, North Carolina, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 21st. Volunteers from all over the Valle forge friendships and build community while working together for a cause greater than themselves. The job of hosting thousands of guests each fall is small sacrifice when that volunteerism results in tens of thousands of dollars being raised for High Country charities each year.
“It is great to see the community pull together,” said Ray Lutz, who serves as co-chair of the Fair with his wife, Pam Conover. “Even more volunteers from across the community are helping out this year, including the Mason Snow Lodge from Boone, St. Mary’s Church Blowing Rock, the Boy Scouts, Children’s Coalition, and more.”
The Valle Country Fair, always held on the third Saturday in October, rolls out across a large hay field on the grounds of the Valle Crucis Conference Center on NC Highway 194. Admission is free and parking is available in the adjoining field for $10 per car.
One-hundred-sixty craft exhibitors set up tents along wide lanes that meander back and forth between a picturesque red barn and a field of sorghum. Bales of hay are stacked in the intersections of these walkways to offer fairgoers places to sit while they ponder which craft booths to visit next.
Artisans submit to a jury process designed to bring together the highest quality handmade crafts available, and to insure fairgoers that there is a wide variety of unique products to choose between. As a show of support, craftspeople participating in the event donate at least 10% of their earnings back to the charitable work of the Fair.
Reconciling an old-fashioned Fair with new-fashioned ways of doing business has perplexed Fair organizers for several years. Even though fairgoers know that they are shopping in the middle of a hay field, they do not arrive prepared to pay cash for the treasures on sale that day. However even in the middle of a hay field, Internet connectivity is mandatory before craft exhibitors can process credit cards. So it is with great delight that Fair sponsors express their gratitude to Skyline/Skybest for partnering with the Fair to engineer a permanent solution to the connectivity problem and provide reliable Internet service to the craft booths in 2017.
Two stages host entertainment throughout the day. The stage located near the dining tent showcases the best in local bluegrass, country and gospel music. A second stage located near the Kids’ Activity Area features cloggers, magicians and more.
Diversions offered in the Kids’ Area, sponsored by the Valle Crucis School and Valle Crucis Community Park, include games like Twister and pumpkin bowling, arts and crafts, pumpkin carving, and creating Halloween treats.
United Foods again stepped up to donate the ingredients that church members simmer down into the Brunswick Stew and chili that they serve alongside barbecue and grilled sausages. United Foods goes even further by providing refrigerated trucks that church cooks use to safely store their culinary offerings until the food can be served to guests.
Fairgoers can take a vacation from cooking on the night of the 21st as well because the Brunswick Stew, barbecue and chili can all be purchased by the quart for later consumption – as can baked goods, jams & jellies, apple cider and hot-out-of-the-kettle apple butter! Plus, the food concessions operated by the church return 100% of their earnings to Fair charities!
The 2017 Valle Country Fair grant recipients are the Children’s Council of Watauga County, Community Care Clinic, High Country Community Health, Mountain Alliance, Oasis, Parent to Parent Family Support Network, Reaching Avery Ministry Emergency Food Pantry, Spirit Ride Therapeutic Riding Center, W.A.M.Y. Community Action, Watauga Co. Schools Extended Learning Centers and the Western Youth Network. The outreach committee at Holy Cross Church distributes all remaining proceeds to individuals and families in crisis.
Admission to the Fair is FREE and parking is available in the adjoining field for $10 per car, $25 for a small bus or van, and $50 for a motor coach. NO PETS ALLOWED. The event is sponsored by Holy Cross Episcopal Church and the Valle Crucis Conference Center. All proceeds are used to help people in need. For more information, contact Holy Cross Church at 828-963-4609 or visit the Fair on the Web at http://www.vallecountryfair