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Lees-McRae to celebrate Appalachian Heritage Week April 1-5

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Article Published: Mar. 28, 2013 | Modified: Apr. 6, 2013
Lees-McRae to celebrate Appalachian Heritage Week April 1-5

From right, Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia, and then-student Renee Roberson spin pottery at a previous Appalachian Heritage Week at Lees-McRae College.

Photo submitted

“In the Mountains, of the Mountains and for the Mountains” — these words have long defined Lees-McRae College.

This spring, the third annual Appalachian Heritage Week will once again highlight Lees-McRae’s debts and commitment to Appalachia.

From April 1 to 5, each day the college will celebrate a particular aspect of mountain heritage and invites everyone to participate in activities sponsored by the Stephenson Center for Appalachia.

Monday, April 1, will be natural history and outdoor activities day. From 3 to 5 p.m. LMC students from the Outdoor Studies program will present different features of outdoor Appalachia.

Highlighting the natural denizens of the area will be students from the Wildlife Rehabilitation Program, with some of the birds and beasts that are wildlife ambassadors.

Also, students from the LMC Backpacking Club will display both a contemporary campsite and one typical of a century ago.

The Rock Climbing Club will demonstrate belaying, rappelling and climbing, while the LMC Search and Rescue Team will man a first-aid station.

Beginning at 5 p.m., the cafeteria will serve traditional Appalachian fare, while the band, Us Fellers, led by area musician Trevor McKenzie, will play old-time mountain music. While the music will be free, the cost of the meal for those without meal tickets will be $9.95.

On Tuesday, the campus will celebrate old and new Appalachian traditions. Beginning at noon, Lee Rankin will bring the furry residents of her Apple Hill Farm to campus. From alpacas to goats and pigs, the animals who are the stars of her farm’s agri-tourism enterprise will be on display. Rankin will have available socks, scarves and other products created from the fine alpaca fiber.

That evening in the cafeteria, Karen Sabo will lead a clogging exhibition of dancers from the Appalachian Rhythm Studio in Boone.

Wednesday will feature Appalachian Arts and Crafts. Beginning at noon, potter Rob Withrow from Brasstown will demonstrate his pot-throwing technique in Swank Park behind Chafee Administration building. Students and visitors are invited to get their hands wet and shape clay on the turning wheel. Withrow will also have a selection of his acclaimed work for sale.

Thursday, Sabo, director of the New Opportunity School for Women, will host an open house at the Stephenson Center for Appalachia on campus from noon to 4 p.m. After that, a reunion will be held for women who have graduated from the New Opportunity School.

Beginning at 7 p.m. in the Stafford Room of the Carson Library, Jane Stephenson, founder of the NOSW and an alumna of LMC, will present a lecture, “Appalachia is My Heart.” Stephenson will also have copies of her latest book, “Changing Lives in Appalachia,” available for purchase and signing.
Concluding the festivities Friday will be Old-Time Horse and Wagon Day. Beginning at noon, Greg “BumbleBee” Miller will drive his team of Percherons with a carriage around campus, providing rides for anyone willing to climb aboard.

Except for the dinners on Monday and Tuesday nights, all events are free and open to the public. The dinner with music in MacDonald Dining Hall of the college will be served from 5 to 7 p.m. and costs $9.95 per person.

Throughout the week, Carson Library will feature a display on Appalachian Women Authors, developed by research librarian Donese Preswood.

“We invite everyone to join us in Lees-McRae’s celebration of our Appalachian Heritage,” said Dr. Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia. “Whether you can contribute to our understanding of the past, or hope to learn more about mountain culture, please join us for one or all of our activities. We look forward to a rewarding week.”

For more information, contact Megan Hall at ( or Joslin at (

Lees-McRae College is located in downtown Banner Elk. For more information, visit, or call (828) 898-5241.

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