Appalachian Heritage Week

Join us April 18–22 in celebrating the people, places, and artistry that distinguish our mountain home!

The twelfth annual Appalachian Heritage Week brings both familiar favorites and new talent to the festivities.  

Appalachian Heritage Week is a celebration of everything that makes this region special. According to Kathy Olson, the director of the John B. Stephenson Center for Appalachia, "It’s important to know where we come from. As each year and each decade goes by, we sometimes develop stereotypical ideas about what it was like in the old days. We’re not just this monolithic culture here in Appalachia, but rather we come from a variety of backgrounds. Sometimes it’s hard to highlight that, and it must be intentional. We need more of that intentionality."

This year's events are free and open to the public unless otherwise stated. 

2022 Schedule of Events

All Week

New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW) quilt display
King-Shivell Gallery

Quilting is a long-held tradition and art form in Appalachia. Each year the women of NOSW create a series of quilts; this year’s will be on display throughout the week.

Monday, April 18

Traditional Appalachian Dinner
5 p.m., The Summit Dining Hall

The Summit Dining Hall will serve an Appalachian-themed dinner, featuring foods like chicken and dumplings, soup beans, and cornbread. 
This meal is only available to the campus community. 

Jack Hinshelwood: "50 Years in the Making"
7 p.m., Evans Auditorium

Jack Hinshelwood is an award-winning guitarist, singer, and composer who has promoted and performed the music of Appalachia for over 40 years. His latest recording, entitled “50 Years in the Making,” is a 22-track collection of old time, blues, and bluegrass music featuring 25 master artists from those genres.

Tuesday, April 19

NOSW Open House
11 a.m.–2 p.m., Stephenson Center

Learn how the NOSW supports women in the Appalachian region. Jane Stephenson, Lees-McRae alumna and founder of NOSW, will be in attendance, along with Jennie Harpold, current director of NOSW. 

Back Porch Anarchy
6 p.m., Swank Park Gazebo

Back Porch Anarchy consists of Lees-McRae professors and plays Appalachian-themed music.

Musical Performance by Ed Snodderly
7 p.m., Evans Auditorium

Born and raised in East Tennessee, Ed Snodderly is a songwriter, singer, and guitarist who mixes blues and old-time music with archaic and modern lyrics in the effort to explore the back roads of memory and place. The Country Music Hall of Fame inscribed the lyrics to his song "The Diamond Stream” on the wall of that museum's Hall of Honor. In Fall 2022, Ed will release a new solo album entitled "Chimney Smoke,” produced by R. S. Field in Nashville. 

Wednesday, April 20

The Art of Ceramics with Rob Winthrow
10 a.m.–3 p.m., Swank Park

Professional local potter Rob Winthrow will have some of his work displayed for sale, but attendees will also be welcomed to take a seat at the wheel themselves. Potter’s wheels will be set up on the lawn for participants to throw pots of their own under his guidance. 

“The Harlan Renaissance: A Memoir of Black Life in Appalachian Coal Towns” with William H. Turner
7 p.m., Evans Auditorium

William H. Turner, PhD, is an academic known for his ground-breaking research on African American communities in Appalachia. He will be giving a presentation about his latest book, the award-winning “The Harlan Renaissance: A Memoir of Black Life in Appalachian Coal Towns. The book draws from his life in Harlan County, Kentucky.

Thursday, April 21

"Scots Irish Heritage in the High Country" with Ted Olson
7 p.m., Evans Auditorium  

Ted Olson, PhD, is a faculty member at East Tennessee State University in their Appalachian, Scottish, and Irish Studies program. He will be giving a presentation on the influence Scots Irish heritage has had on the history and culture of Appalachia.

Friday, April 22

Alpacas from Apple Hill Farm
10:30 a.m.–12 p.m., Tate Lawn
Participants are invited to enjoy the warming Appalachian weather and pet alpacas from Apple Hill Farm, a local alpaca farm in Banner Elk. A representative from the farm will speak about the history of alpacas in this region, what they have been used for, and their connection to fiber arts such as spinning and weaving.

For more information, contact Kathy Olson.