By Jesse Wood & Paul T. Choate
Sept. 15, 2012. Farm Heritage Day harks back to the days when county fairs used to frequent the High Country, and, in particular, the Cove Creek School decades ago.
“The folks at Cove Creek and [those] on the board of the Cove Creek Preservation and Development (CCP&D) were there and remembered when it used to be a fair out there,” Tommy Walsh, CCP&D coordinator, told High Country Press last year.
According to Amy Shelton, lead organizer of Farm Heritage Day, the inaugural celebration was in 1997 and since that time it has just gotten better and better.
“It’s just a small community event and we would like for everyone to enjoy themselves,” said Shelton. “We try to center it around agriculture and crafts from the local area.”
In conjunction with CCP&D and Watauga County Cooperative Extension, the 15th annual Cove Creek Farm Heritage Days takes place in the vibrant community of Sugar Grove and celebrates the rich heritage of Watauga County on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the fields of the Historic Cove Creek School. The Heritage Museum, located in Cove Creek High School, will also be open during all events tomorrow. Festivities will kick off with a horse shoe pitching contest.
The family event features agricultural and historical demonstrations with a steam grist mill grinding corn, farm animals that include alpacas from Apple Hill Farm, goats and a pig from GOat GREEN farm, as well as a show calf, jersey milk cow, horses, chickens and rabbits.
Keeping with the traditional old-time country atmosphere, Farm Heritage Days features face painting, activity stations for kids, a horseshoe competition, wagon rides and a Color Guard presentation. Also, a castle air walk bounce will be around for the kids for the first time, as well as the playground that is in front of the old school.
Locally-grown produce and food products will be available to purchase, as well as crafts and folk toys. Live music will be played, and so far three bands have been lined up: Lonnie Ward and Trevor McKenzie will play at 1 p.m., followed by The Apple Jammers, a three-piece trio based in Sugar Grove with mandolin, guitar and upright bass, at 2 p.m. and lastly State Line Jam will play at 3 p.m..
For the second year in a row, Watauga County Cooperative Extension is involved with the event providing animal displays, lessons on small fruit production, a plant clinic, a seed swap and more.
“The extension’s focus is farm heritage and working for the success of agriculture’s future in the county,” Watauga County Extension Director Jim Hamilton said in a press release. “It’s a perfect fit.”
He added that in addition to the local extension, High Country Grown, Watauga River Partners, Boy Scouts, Trapper Mike, Watauga County Master Gardeners, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, High Country Local First, Appalachian State University Sustainable Development Farm and the Watauga County Christmas Tree Association will attend. Nina Fischesser, director of the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute, will also be on hand with rescued hawks from the recently opened Dan and Dianne May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Lees-McRae College.
Shelton said she is anticipating anywhere from 200 to 400 people to attend the celebration throughout the day.
“It’s going to be a pretty day and that always influences your attendance,” she said.
Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for seniors and children ages 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and under. Parking is free. The event will take place rain or shine. The Historic Cove Creek School is located at 207 Dale Adams Road in Sugar Grove, just eight miles west of Boone.
For more information on Cove Creek Farm Heritage Day, call 828-297-2200 or visit www.covecreek.net. Organizers are accepting vendors and demonstrators through Sept. 14.