Lots of Fiddlin Around at Heritage Festival

Last Year's Heritage Festival

The 14th Annual Union County Heritage Festival is loaded with ways to fiddle around on Saturday, October 6. With three venues and three music stages, there are sights, sounds, and activities for all ages. The 2018 Festival kicks off a two year tribute to Roy Acuff, Maynardville native and country music legend, who was hailed as the King of Country Music. The theme of Fiddlin’ Around reminds us of the importance of leisure time as well as Acuff’s favorite instrument. From the opening at 10:00 am with Mayor Jason Bailey, the Veterans, and Keaton Roach to the last notes of the Fiddle Contest Winners there will be lots of Fiddlin’ Around in Union County.

After the opening on the Main Stage at the Gazebo, Stoney Point Bluegrass Band entertains with a medley of familiar and modern tunes with a new twist. Wild Blue Yonder Band offers a mixture of traditional country dating back to the Carter family as well as hints of some Irish ballads like “Blue-Eyed Suzy”. WBY features one of the best fiddlers in these parts, Cindy Wallace, a teacher in Claiborne County. Back after several years is Andy Williams and the Cumberland Station Band. Rounding out the Gazebo Stage is a special performance by fiddler, Perry Cooper, who won last year’s Blue Mud Fiddle contest at the Big Ridge Bluegrass Festival.

More music and fiddling streams from the Front Porch Stage. Luttrell Music Festival Winner Dustin Ford showcases our talented youth with his own rendition of Wabash Cannonball, made famous by Roy Acuff and later Johnny Cash. Union County’s own Virginia Faith strums her ukulele straight to your heart with her Dolly Parton voice. Some of the best banjo pickin’ and fiddlin’ lands on stage with Wayne & Eric. Their musical talent and expertise combines for nearly a century of country, bluegrass, and gospel songs. More fiddling appears with Sleepy-Eyed John’s Band in the form of toe tappin’, foot-stompin’ melodies from country to bluegrass.

At 1:00 pm the Front Porch Stage erupts with Fiddlin’ All Around with the first Heritage Festival Fiddle Contest. Amateurs from three counties will compete for cash prizes. First place awards $300 with second place offering $200, and the third place winner receives $100. A grant from the East Tennessee Foundation Arts Fund supports the contest. Winners will also have a mentoring experience at the Lincoln Memorial Music Week hosted by Steve Gulley next summer. Closing out the Front Porch brings ever popular Chris Muncey and Narrow Way.

The Gospel Tent immerses the audience in praise all day with songs like “I Saw the Light”. Savannah and Chapel Hill return to open the stage with a variety of their own songs and some gospel favorites. New this year will be Andre’ & Vera Pratt. Andre’ grew up in Plainview and with his wife sings gospel love songs for the Lord and the good people of East Tennessee. Continuing the songs of praise and celebration will be Higher Ground, New River, Ernie Bradley of Grassy Ridge Band, and Heavenly Sunrise.

All this music is sure to ignite your appetite. Country victuals include Dollie’s Chicken n’ Dumplins on top of a real wood stove, cornbread from the oven, and pinto beans simmering in a big cast iron pot.

Of course, Hawg Heaven will offer BBQ with twirled taters and smoked bologna. Pick up a jar of homemade apple butter from the Scottish Rite Club and cool off with a shaved Italian ice from the Lions Club. Try a chicken or veggie quesadilla from Chef Mo and a brownie from Revival Vision Church, then wash it down with a latte, cold or hot, from Pedal Java. Relish every morsel of a fried pie served by Ann’s Gals and try a fried oreo by Rainbo. Enjoy breakfast, hamburgers, and sandwiches at Milan Church near the Front Porch. Other Festival fare includes funnel cakes, kettle corn, cotton candy, ice cream, and sodas.

On the walking trail above the Gazebo are tractors from the 1900’s to the 1950’s. Beginning at 2:00 pm, the tractors will parade through the Festival to continue down main street and return to Veteran’s Place.

A dozen or so Model A’s greet visitors near the entrance to Veteran’s Place. Perry, Norman, Shannon, and Danny grind real cornmeal at the Washam Corn Mill, which sits under the oak tree near the tractors. Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) Canton of Hochwald offers Medieval combat and artistry demonstrations along with heritage crafts.

Arts and Craft Vendors include woodworking from signs to toys, wreath making with grapevine, burlap, and tulle, beaded jewelry, and soy candles. Heritage crafts demonstrate chair caning, embroidery, crochet, and quilting.

The Luttrell Volunteer Fire department will host the Kidz Train and Bounce House. Nearby in the Kidz Zone, children can ride the Shetland Hills ponies or pet a farm animal. Moss’s Duck Pond and basketball Toss offer super prizes for a small fee for the games. Children can compete in the Heritage Olympics at 10:45 am in a Nail Driving Contest and at 2:30 pm in the Pumpkin Seed Spitting Contest. Children can watch their parents and other adults do Nail Driving also at 10:45 am or the Feed Bag Toss at the same time. Moms and other women can participate in the Skillet Throw at 3:00 pm. Lodge Cast Iron sponsors the prizes.

Visitors can hop on the free shuttle sponsored by State Farm Insurance and City of Plainview to relax and ride to the Union County Museum and the Historic Snodderly House. Wanda’s Antique Crystal Market is a must at the Museum. Collectible glassware at $5.00 each piece. Five authors will discuss their books and offer signed copies for sale: Cyn Taylor, Brooke Cox, Historian Bonnie Peters, Terry Kirby, and Tommy Daugherty. Brooke will also entertain with Storytelling at 11:30 am and 1:00 pm about vanishing children and mysterious lights in the tops of trees. Of course, the featured attraction is the Heritage Quilt Show. Ellen Perry and her committee will receive quilts from several counties. Some will reflect the theme, Fiddlin’ Around. Others are family heirlooms proudly displayed. Some are hand stitched, others machine sewn. All provide a colorful display of talent and craftsmanship.

Next, ride the shuttle to 720 Main Street, the Historic Snodderly House, where Betty Bullen, Gloria Holcomb, and Chantay Collins are displaying the Fine Art, Student Art, and Photography. Both two- and three-dimensional art from amateur area artists and UCHS and HMMS students are part of the exhibit. Photography of Union County people and places along with those that depict the theme, Fiddlin’ Around are on display. Prizes are sponsored by Jerry’s Artarama. Visitors can also view a Professional Artist Exhibit and the Archived Collectible Prints.

Board the shuttle to return to Wilson Park. Grab a funnel cake and some produce from the Farmer’s Market. October 6, 2018 will be remembered for just Fiddlin’ Around.

Martin Shaffer with his Hit & Miss Engine at Last Year's Festival.

Creative Arts & Crafts at Last Year's Festival

Ray Bull on guitar, Justin Smith on bass and David Parker on banjo at Last Year's Festival

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