Lees-McRae to celebrate 5th Annual Appalachian Heritage Week April 6-10

March 31, 2015

Celebrating spring’s return to the mountains, Lees-McRae will host the fifth annual Appalachian Heritage Week April 6 through 10. Each day, the College will highlight a unique aspect of mountain heritage and invites everyone to participate in activities sponsored by the Stephenson Center for Appalachia.

To begin the celebration of Appalachian heritage, the New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW) will host an Open House on Monday, April 6 from 12-4 p.m. to celebrate its 10th year at Lees-McRae College. The program's cornerstone is providing the opportunity for participants to embrace their Appalachian heritage. Join Director Jennie Harpold, members of the NOSW advisory council and past graduates to learn more about this program which has changed the lives of more than 80 women within the region and more than 700 in the 26 years since it was founded in Berea, Kentucky. Later, on Monday evening beginning at 5 p.m., MacDonald Dining Hall will serve traditional Appalachian fare while the group Us Fellers, led by Trevor McKenzie, will play old time mountain music. While the music will be free, the cost of the meal for those without a Lees-McRae meal plan will be $10.38.

On Tuesday, beginning at 12 p.m., Lee Rankin will feature animals from Apple Hill Farm on Tate Lawn. From adorable alpacas to feisty goats and pretty pigs, the domestic livestock that are the stars of her farm's agri-tourism enterprise will be on display. Socks, scarves and other products created from the fine alpaca fiber will be available for purchase. Also that afternoon, from 2-4 p.m. on Tate Lawn, students from Lees-McRae College Outdoor Programs, led by Dee Thomas, will present different features of outdoor Appalachia. Students from the Backpacking Club will display both a contemporary campsite and one typical of a century ago. Similarly demonstrating how new technology has revolutionized outdoor activities, the Rock Climbing Club will model belaying, rappelling and climbing techniques of the past and today, while the Search and Rescue Team will show how first-aid techniques have changed over time. On Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. in MacDonald Dining Hall, the celebrated Bailey Mountain Cloggers will perform during dinner. Clogging holds a special place in the history and culture of our area, and no group dances better than this team. While the clogging will be free, the cost of the meal for those without a Lees-McRae meal plan will be $10.38.

Wednesday is the 11th Annual Mountain Service Day during which students, faculty, staff and community members volunteer their time and efforts in projects around campus and in the community. For information or to volunteer, contact Cassie Hughes in the Student Development Office at hughesc@lmc.edu

On Thursday, the campus will celebrate old and new Appalachian crafts and traditions. Starting around noon, potter Rob Withrow from Brasstown, N.C., will demonstrate his pot-throwing technique in Swank Park behind the Chaffee Administration Building. Students and visitors are invited to get their hands dirty and shape clay on the turning wheel. Withrow will also have a selection of his acclaimed work for sale.

Thursday evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Evans Auditorium, local farmers will display their produce and, at 7 p.m., Adam Keener from the Avery County Agricultural Extension Office will lead a discussion of agriculture in the area and the growth of the farmers’ market.

The week’s festivities concludes on Friday when Greg (Bumble Bee) Miller brings his Percheron team and carriage to campus to take students and visitors for rides the old-fashioned way – by real horsepower. Horse and carriage tours will be available from noon until 3 p.m.

“Once again we invite everyone to join us in Lees-McRae's celebration of our Appalachian heritage. 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,” said Dr. Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia. "We look forward to a rewarding week.”

Except for dinner on Monday and Tuesday, all events are free and open to the public. For further information contact Pam Joslin at 828.898.8721 or email Dr. Michael Joslin at joslin@lmc.edu.

Click here to view the schedule of events and photos of past Appalachian Heritage Weeks

Media Contact:

Nina Mastandrea  |  Content Manager
Tel: 828.898.8729  |  Email: mastandrean@lmc.edu