Oct. 19, 2012. The colors, flavors, sights and sounds of harvest season in the Blue Ridge Mountains all come together at the Valle Country Fair in scenic Valle Crucis, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20. Started as a fundraiser for a little country church, the fair has grown into an annual community happening that attracts thousands and raised more than $40,000 for High Country charities in 2011.
Always held in Valle Crucis on the third Saturday in October, the Valle Country Fair takes over the grounds of the Valle Crucis Conference Center on N.C. 194 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is free and parking is available in the adjoining field for $5 per car. Pets are not allowed. ATM machines are available in two locations.
The fair takes place in a huge meadow filled with the tents of 150 craft exhibitors. Exhibitors are juried to find the highest quality handmade crafts available and to insure that there are a wide variety of unique products available for the shoppers. Exhibitors selected for the event donate at least 10 percent of their earnings back to the charitable work of the fair.
Two stages are set up to provide entertainment throughout the day. The stage located near the dining tent features the best in local mountain music. The youth stage, located near the live alpacas, face painters and sand artist booth, features cloggers and other younger performers.
Eat all you want at the Valle Country Fair because almost all of the food concessions are operated by the church or by other non-profit organizations that return 100 percent of their earnings to local charities. Tables and chairs are provided under a large tent next to the music stage so that fairgoers can enjoy the entertainment while they dine.
Food concessions include: brunswick stew, barbecue, chili, hot dogs and hamburgers, corndogs, sausage with onions, ham biscuits, ice cream, funnel cakes, baked goods, jams and jellies, fresh-pressed apple cider and hot-out-of-the kettle apple butter.
The 2012 Valle Country Fair grant recipients are Avery County Smart Start: A Partnership for Children, Children’s Council of Watauga County, Community Care Clinic, Hospitality House, Parent to Parent Family Support Network, WAMY Avery Youth (Avery Yo!) and Western Youth Network. The outreach committee at Holy Cross Church distributes all remaining profits to individuals and families in crisis.
For more information, including printable PDF files with maps and driving directions from towns across the region, visit the Fair on the web at www.vallecountryfair.org.