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Boone goes back in time

By Sarah Ann Schultz (sarahann.schultz@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Oct. 3, 2013 | Modified: Oct. 13, 2013
Boone goes back in time

Hickory Ridge Living History Museum curator Dave Davis invites area residents and visitors to the annual Boone Heritage Festival Oct. 12.

Photo by Sarah Ann Schultz



Ever seen someone demonstrate flint knapping?

How about flintlock rifle firing or tatting? Ever tried a Scotch egg or listened to a fretless mountain-style banjo?

If you don’t even know what these things mean, that probably means you should come to the Boone Heritage Festival.

Hickory Ridge Living History Museum will host the third annual Boone Heritage Festival on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is located on Horn in the West Drive in Boone. Admission to the event is free.

The festival, originally known as the Apple Festival, was created in the 1980s. According to organizers, the Apple Festival never had a very big turnout, so Dave Davis, Hickory Ridge curator, suggested changing the name to the Boone Heritage Festival in 2011. Davis revamped the event to focus more on the history of the area instead of just the fall season. The festival’s turnout has been growing ever since.

“Some of the other towns in the area have a signature festival, and Boone didn’t seem to have one,” said Michelle Ligon, the festival’s planner and a long-time volunteer at Hickory Ridge. “We wanted to put it together and name it in a way that the town could feel proud of it.”

The festival displays a little bit of everything about colonial life: traditional music, storytelling, flintlock rifle firing, pewter molding demonstrations, leather working, flint knapping (the shaping of flint), spinning and weaving demonstrations and tatting (lace work). Vendors will also be selling various crafts and concession food. All volunteers will be dressed in 18th-century period clothing.

“This festival gives the community an opportunity to get up close and personal with the cultural and historical roots of Boone,” said Mark Freed, cultural resources coordinator with the town of Boone. “The traditions are showcased and celebrated. That is what a heritage festival is all about.”

The lack of admission charge separates the Boone Heritage Festival from other festivals of its kind. The food and craft vendors have to turn 10 percent of their profits back over to the museum, and the festival is sponsored by the town of Boone, Mast General Store and the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority. Visitors are asked to consider donating to the museum, but no charge is required.

“We don’t make a big bunch of money off of it,” Davis said. “But it’s something good for everybody to get out and see stuff and learn stuff.”

And that’s the real heart behind the festival: teaching the people of Boone about where they came from.

“It’s a learning experience for a lot of people,” Davis said. “It’s a culture that everyone needs to know about. I think it’s good for the people to really see what was going on and what it was like.”

The volunteers hope the festival will generate publicity for Hickory Ridge Living History Museum, which is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May through October. The festival will end the 2013 season at the museum.

And everyone’s hoping that this year’s festival will be full of people and good weather.

“I hope it’s just going to be gangbusters,” said Jane Campbell, a fiber artist and long-time volunteer at Hickory Ridge. “I hope it’s just popping with people.”

As such, anyone with an interest in making scarecrows, listening to some old-time bluegrass jams and experiencing a taste of 18th-century Boone is invited to take a step back in time at Hickory Ridge Oct. 12.

“It’s certainly a different type of festival,” said Mike Campbell, a long-time volunteer at Hickory Ridge. “It’s that great window which offers us a view to the past.”

Hickory Ridge Living History Museum is located at Horn in the West off Horn Avenue in Boone. For more information, visit http://www.booneheritagefestival.com.

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