Oct. 14, 2014. The 36th annual Valle Country Fair will celebrate the fall color season with local crafts, food, mountain music and entertainment for children on Saturday, Oct. 18, on the grounds of the Valle Crucis Conference Center in Valle Crucis.
Always held on the third Saturday in October, the Valle Country Fair takes over the grounds of the Valle Crucis Conference Center at the intersection of N.C. 194 and Dutch Creek Road from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is free and ample parking is available in the adjoining field for $10 per car, $25 per small bus or van and $50 per motor coach.
Nestled amidst acres of rolling pastures, the fairgrounds has a bright red barn as its centerpiece and is surrounded by hay fields on two sides, a sorghum field on another and grazing cattle on the fourth. The tents of the 160 craft exhibitors line wide lanes that meander back and forth across the grounds. Bales of hay are stacked in the intersections of these alleys to offer fairgoers a spot to sit as they ponder which craft booths to visit next.
Exhibitors are juried to ensure that the handmade crafts available in each of the 160 tents are of the highest quality and that the work of each artisan is distinctly different from the others. Exhibitors selected for the event also agree to donate ten percent of their earnings back to the charitable work of the fair.
Signature flavors of the Valle County Fair include home-cooked Brunswick stew, fresh-pressed apple cider and thick, sweet apple butter. The apple butter gang will have four kettles of applesauce cooking over wood fires. Stirred continuously for six hours, a generous measure of pure cinnamon is added to yield a naturally sweet, spicy treat that mountain families have been spreading on their biscuits for generations.
The people of Valle Crucis start cooking days ahead to be sure there is lots to eat at the Fair, including Brunswick stew, barbecue, chili, corn muffins, sausage with onions, ham biscuits, roasted corn on the cob, baked goods, jams and jellies, fresh-pressed apple cider and apple butter. Tables and chairs are provided under a large tent next to the music stage so that fairgoers can enjoy the best in local mountain music while they dine.
Musicians scheduled to perform in 2014 include Tom Shirley, The Holy Smokes, Emily Stewart and the Baby Teeth, The Major Sevens, Jody Watson, Brett McDonough and the Babyteeth, Kinsey Green and the Bluegrass Mafia, Jodi Howald and Elise Sigmon.
The youth stage located near the live alpacas, face painters and sand artist booth will feature younger performers including the Appalachian Rhythm Cloggers and Amber Henley and the High Country Cloggers.
The kid’s area, added in 2013, is expected to be bigger, better and even more fun in 2014. Activities include pumpkin carving, making fall crafts, old-fashioned carnival games and a kids market where kids can set up their own booth to sell their own crafts. Kids of all ages will also find their favorite fall festival treats including kettle corn, cotton candy and candied apples.
Sponsored by the Church of the Holy Cross, the 2014 Valle Country Fair grant recipients are the Appalachian Seniors Program, Caregiver’s Haven, Avery County Council on Aging, Children’s Council of Watauga County, Club 12, Community Care Clinic, Hunger and Health Coalition, Parent to Parent Family Support Network, Reaching Avery Ministry, Emergency Food Pantry and the Western Youth Network. The outreach committee at Holy Cross Church distributes all remaining proceeds to individuals and families in crisis.
For more information, contact Holy Cross Church at 828-963-4609 or visit the website at www.ValleCountryFair.org.
Photos by Ken Ketchie