On the first weekend of August, Burnsville’s historic Town Square and quaint Main Street reflect Americana at its finest during the Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair.
On Friday, Aug. 4, and Saturday, Aug. 5, crafters line the street with handmade quilts, blown glass, wooden carvings, paintings, pottery and furniture. Attendees watch as potters mold clay on their wheels, chair makers braid strips of cane to form seats, and weavers push and pull looms to turn yarn into textiles.
“The quality and variety of the work really set the crafts fair apart,” says Ginger Johnson, executive director of the Yancey County Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event. “Artists come from all over the Southeast.”
More than 200 vendors set up to sell their wares and demonstrate their skills, while approximately 20,000 people browse and shop. Now in its 61st year, the Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair is one of the largest and longest running events of its kind in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Yancey County and the surrounding Toe River Valley are known for the large concentration of artists with a diverse array of talents.
Local musicians and dancers provide entertainment each day. Friday’s lineup includes: Roberta Whiteside, Rob Levin, Jonah Riddle, Thistle Dew, Hot Duck Soup, Ragged But Right, Broke Holler, Austin Sound and Debbie Phillips & The 42nd Street Jazz Band. Saturday’s performers are: Logan Boone, WCD Cloggers, Kirby Troutman, David Wiseman, Dance Express, Ron & Minnie Powell, Sparkle N Shine All-Star Cheerleaders and Typical Mountain Boys. Actors from Parkway Playhouse will also perform.
No Southern festival is complete without a variety of tasty treats. Crafts Fair staples include barbecue, sweet tea, kettle corn and homemade ice cream.
“It’s a great two days to be in Burnsville,” Johnson says. “The mountain weather is fabulous. After you browse the crafts, you can bring a lawn chair and sit under the shade trees on Town Square to listen to the music and people watch.”
Hours for the Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Admission to the fair is free. For more information about the crafts fair, and other attractions and lodging options in Yancey County, visit www.ExploreBurnsville.com or call (828) 682-7413.