Heritage Weekend

The 36th Annual Heritage Weekend will be held on September 17 and 18 at the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Folk Art Center. This free celebration of mountain heritage is sponsored by the Southern Highland Craft Guild and features traditional crafts accompanied by music and dancing.

A highlight of the weekend is the 36th Annual World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition on Saturday, from 2:00 to 3:00. A whimmy diddle is an Appalachian mountain toy traditionally made from two sticks of rhododendron. Notches are carved into one stick and a propeller is attached to the end. Rubbing the notches with the second stick makes the propeller spin. Can you get it to gee (spin to the right) and haw (spin to the left)?

During the World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition contestants are judged on the number of rotations between gee and haw they can complete during a given time. They may be asked to switch hands or whimmy diddle behind their back. All ages may compete with trophies given for best child, adult, and professional. Winners receive a Moon Pie, a t-shirt, and bragging rights.

On going demonstrations will include traditional woodworking with traditional tools, weaving, spinning, dyeing, broom making, stone carving, and print making. Visitors will have the opportunity to try their own hand at some of the crafts and an activity table will encourage young people to create.

On Saturday, Anthony Cole will be on hand to demonstrate sheep shearing throughout the day, and on Sunday, Joe Parham will bring animals to demonstrate how he trains dogs to work with sheep at 1:00 and 3:00. A music stage will provide further entertainment with blue grass and gospel music. Local cloggers will demonstrate the energy and fancy footwork that goes into the mountain dance tradition. A quality lunch will be available from Farmhouse BBQ, selling delicious barbecue and tasty side dishes.

The Blue Ridge Parkway’s Folk Art Center is the ideal place for Heritage Weekend! There is free parking and a grassy area for picnics and relaxation. Spend an early autumn weekend in WNC honoring and learning about the crafts of yesteryear. Tour the Folk Art Center and maybe take a walk through the woods. For more information, including a list of participating craftspeople and musicians, call 828-298-7928 or visit www.craftguild.org . We hope to see you there!


Saturday, September 17
– 11am Southern Crescent Bluegrass
– 12pm Split Rail
– 1pm Firefly
– 2pm 36th Annual Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition
– 3pm J Creek Cloggers and the Ross Brothers

Sunday, September 18
– 12pm Level Ground Gospel
– 1pm Carol Rifkin
– 2pm Cole Mountain Cloggers with Carol Rifkin
– 2:30pm Gospel Grass
– 3:30pm Buncombe Turnpike

Exhibition Participants/Participating Exhibitionists

  • Don Duncan treenware
  • Lyle Wheeler chair making
  • Will Hines coopering
  • Ronnie McMahan wood carving
  • Billy Henry whittling
  • Tim Nestor bowl carving
  • Ed Lampert wood carving
  • John Dickens wood carving
  • Deedee Styles natural dyeing
  • Rita de Maintenon crochet
  • Lin Oglesby knitting
  • Barbar Miller weaving
  • Mary Nichols spinning
  • Martha Owen spinning
  • Peter Wener broom making
  • Colleen Karcher stone carving
  • Karen Collis cornshuck dolls
  • Peggy Whitted weaving
  • Ellie Kirby printmaking
  • Yancey Davis blacksmithing
  • Judith Long soap making
  • Connie & Ted Brown bee keeping
  • Tom Brown heritage apples
  • Anthony Cole sheep shearing
  • Joe Parham sheep dogs
  • Hugh Bailey pottery/handbuilding