Valle Country Fair returns Oct. 15
The colors, flavors, sights and sounds of harvest season in the Blue Ridge Mountains all come together at the Valle Country Fair in Valle Crucis, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15.
Started as a fundraiser for a little country church, it has grown into an annual happening that attracts thousands and raised more than $30,000 for High Country charities in 2010.
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. Pets are not allowed.
The fair takes place in a huge meadow between a picturesque red barn and a field of sorghum. The tents of 150 craft exhibitors 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 ensure that there are a wide variety of 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 the best in local mountain music. The youth stage located near the live alpacas, face painters and sand artist booth feature cloggers and other younger performers.
Eat all you want for a small price at the Valle Country Fair because almost all of the food concessions are operated by the church or by other nonprofit organizations that return 100 percent of their earnings to local charities.
Tables and chairs are provided under a large tent next to 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.
Due to extensive road construction taking place on N.C 194 between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk in 2011, organizers are alerting guests to expect one lane traffic if they plan to use N.C 194 to drive from the Valle Country Fair to the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk. The winding mountain road is a beautiful drive in the fall color, but that route may be slower going in 2011 than in the past.
The 2011 Valle Country Fair grant recipients are the Avery County Senior Center Caregiver’s Haven, Children’s Council of Watauga County, the Edgar Tufts Memorial Association, Grandfather Home for Children, Green Valley Elementary School Together to Learn, High Country Caregiver Foundation, High Country Relatives as Parents Program, High Country Prison Ministry, Hospitality House, Hunger and Health Coalition, L. Dawn Franklin Memorial Fund, New Opportunity School for Women at Lees-McRae College, Parent to Parent Family Support Network, Reaching Avery Ministry Emergency Food Pantry, Watauga Basic Skills/Family Literacy Program, Western Youth Network.
The outreach committee at Holy Cross Church distributes all remaining profits to individuals and families in crisis.
For more information, including printable PDF files with maps and driving directions from towns across the region, visit http://www.vallecountryfair.org.
A list of vendors follows, though booth numbers are subject to change.