Since 1979, the Valle Country Fair has been known for superlative handmade Appalachian crafts, homegrown Blue Ridge Mountain music, sweet, silky homecooked apple butter, and raising money for those in need in the High Country. Although conditions in 2020 prohibit welcoming 10,000 fairgoers into the hayfield on Highway 194, members of the Church of the Holy Cross in Valle Crucis, NC, are making hay another way…by hosting a virtual Valle Country Fair!
Valle Country Fair committee members adapted their traditional fall festival into a cyber fundraiser by employing the help of Conner Strickland of Dogwood Creative to develop an eCommerce site with that simulates components of a real-world Valle Country Fair. Visitors to the virtual Fair can enjoy a little music while they shop for the quality handmade crafts that made the Valle Country Fair famous, purchase Fair merchandise like T-shirts and ball caps and stock up on apple butter, jams, jellies, pickles and home-baked treats prepared in Holy Cross kitchens.
“The personality of the event still exists very similarly to how it always has been,” said Boone Chamber of Commerce President David Jackson with a chuckle. “It has been a local mountain festival feel from the very start, and they figured out a way to make that happen online!”
To boost the potential for success of this never-before-imagined VIRTUAL fundraising event, the community helped Erin Welsh of Welsh Social create and post content about the Valle Country Fair on social media. Volunteers shared pictures of themselves modeling Valle Fair T-shirts and hats, grant recipients shared photos of the programs that our Fair dollars support, and a dozen of the longest-serving Fair volunteers joined Colton Courtney of C-Squared Productions to produce a video for the website that captures the feel of the Valle Country Fair.
The Fair’s history of giving back to the community is a long one. Over its first 41 years, the Valle Country Fair returned $1 million to non-profit organizations and individuals in need in the High Country. The 2020 Fair has pledged $25,000 in grants to area non-profit organizations for programs that provide services such as helping families increase their access to fresh produce and local food, ensuring that preschool age children have books of their own, and offering support to caregivers who need an afternoon off. Recipients of the 2020 Valle Country Fair grants include the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, the Children’s Council, High Country Caregivers, Hunger & Health Coalition, Life Village, Mountain Alliance and Spirit Ride.
The remainder of Fair proceeds go to the Holy Cross Mission and Outreach Commission to assist individuals with emergency needs.
Log on to 2020vallecountryfair.org today to listen to local music while shopping for amazing arts and crafts. You can also order homemade cakes, tarts, jams and relish in addition to apple butter and 2020 Fair sweatshirts, t-shirts, and hats. While you are on the virtual Fair website, use a credit card or PayPal to donate to the charitable work of the Valle Country Fair. The Fair and the local community need your support now more than ever.
Food items ordered through the 2020vallecountryfair.org website will be available for local pickup only. Pickup days are the first three Saturdays in October: 10/3, 10/10, and 10/17 from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM at The Church of the Holy Cross parking lot. Pickup will be handled using a drive-thru system to ensure physical distancing. Cars should enter at the Apple Barn by the Valle Crucis Conference Center, then follow the gravel road into the parking lot of Skiles Hall. Looks for signs and volunteers to direct you.
“The Valle Country Fair brings the community together to support those in need in the High Country. While we will miss the festivities of an in-person fair, the leadership committee of the Fair is excited to deliver a virtual experience to the public. In the end, the focus of the fair is to have fun and raise money for people and non-profit organizations in need. We appreciate the support of so many in the area. Please give with your heart to support this worthy cause,” said co-chair Bob Gates.
To support the charitable mission of the Valle Country Fair, log on to 2020ValleCountryFair.org to donate and shop. The website and its eCommerce features will be live on the Internet through Saturday, October 17, 2020. Please help spread the word about the Valle Country Fair by liking us on Facebook, following us on Instagram and sharing posts.