Valle Country Fair Oct. 17
Mountain music, handmade crafts, tasty barbecue and Brunswick
stew, and a scenic mountain setting make the Valle Country Fair a "must attend" event in the North
Carolina High Country on Saturday, Oct. 17.
Started by a small church as a parish fundraiser, it has grown into an annual happening that attracts thousands and raised more than $40,000 for local charities in 2008.
Always held in Valle Crucis on the third Saturday in October, the Valle Country Fair takes over the grounds of the Valle Crucis Conference Center on N.C. 194 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is free, and ample parking is available in the adjoining field for $5 per car.
The fair takes place in a huge meadow between a picturesque red barn and a field of sorghum. The tents of 135 craft vendors 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 find the highest quality handmade crafts available, and to insure that there are a wide variety of unique products available for the shoppers. Exhibitors selected for the event donate at least 10 percent of their earnings back to the charitable work of the fair.
Two stages are set up to provide entertainment throughout the day. The stage located near the dining tent features musical performers. A second stage located among the crafts booths features cloggers, magicians and more.
Guests can feel good about stuffing their faces at the Valle Country Fair because almost all of the food concessions are operated by the church or other non-profit organizations that return 100 percent of their earnings to fair charities. Tables and chairs are provided under a large tent located near the music stage so that fairgoers can enjoy the entertainment while they dine.
Food concessions include Brunswick stew, barbecue, chili, hot dogs and hamburgers, corndogs, sausage with onions, ham biscuits, ice cream, funnel cakes, baked goods, jams and jellies, fresh-pressed apple cider, and hot-out-of-the kettle apple butter. In an effort to confront the congestion that usually develops on N.C. 105 at the turn to Valle Crucis, organizers publicize alternate "scenic" routes to the fair by posting detailed directions on the fair Web site and by putting out signs along the alternate routes.
The 2009 Valle Country Fair grant recipients are WAMY Community Action, Western Youth Network, the Hunger & Health Coalition, Parent-to-Parent Family Support Network, Child Service Coordination Program, Caregiver's Haven, School Social Work Back Pack Program, Watauga Children's Council Parents as Teachers, Watauga Habitat for Humanity.
All remaining profits will be distributed to individuals and families in crisis by the outreach committee at the Church of the Holy Cross.
For more information, including printable PDF files with maps and driving directions from towns across the region, visit the fair on the Web at http://www.vallecountryfair.org.