Wednesday, September 16, 2015

GSMNP Celebrates Fall Harvest with Annual Mountain Life Festival in the Smokies

Every year at mid September the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) hosts the annual Mountain Life Festival at the Mountain Farm Museum adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee North Carolina This year this popular program will be taking place on Saturday, September 19th, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

This Mountain Life Festival helps preserve the legacy of Appalachian folkways and is meant to be a tribute to the people of European heritage who moved after their land was purchased in order to create the Great Smoky Mountains national park. The event is suitable for all ages and the activities are free.

Besides there being artifacts and historic photographs from the national park’s collection on display, this living history event will include demonstrations on old fashioned life skills such as blacksmithing, lye soap making, food preservation, hearth cooking, apple butter making, and chair bottoming. There will be a music jam session too from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.

One of the highlights of the Mountain Life Festival has been taking place for more than 30 years. The sorghum syrup demonstration, shows how with the use of a horse powered cane mill and a wood-fired cooker syrup is made much the same way it was produced a hundred or more years ago.

For the first time ever the Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA) which helps support the park is launching the new Mountain Farm Museum audio tour with free handsets available to visitors and members. There audio tour devices will be distributed for use on a first come first serve basis.

The location where the event take place right of Newfound Gap Road US411 has pretty vistas, a small working farm area with numerous historical structures and a hiking trail along the river which si one of the few places in the GSMNP where you can hike with your dog.

The farm area also contains one of the satellite herds of North American Elk in the Smokies introduced into the area in 2001. Since this is Rut season, male elk are especially active and aggressive so you must keep your distance from them for their safety as well as your own.

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