The Mountaineer

April 10, 2024

All things Appalachian will be celebrated in Haywood starting April 18 when Carolina Heritage Weekend opens.

This multi-day event is being hosted by a collaboration of dining, creative and performing arts organizations — all shining a light on the heritage of Western North Carolina.

The series of four events April 18-20 will be in Downtown Waynesville and at Haywood Community College, Clyde.

“Appalachian roots have inspired so much of our mountain creativity,” said Downtown Waynesville Commission Executive Director Beth Gilmore. “Carolina Heritage Weekend is a compilation of events that showcase the craftmanship, creativity and ingenuity that have shaped mountain culture for centuries.”

• Appalachian-rooted newgrass

Folkmoot kicks things off at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18, with a concert by The Well Drinkers at the Folkmoot Friendship Center. Prepare to be energized by this progressive, original bluegrass band based out of WNC.

Since the band’s creation in 2019, the group has worked to combine the traditional roots of the Appalachian region with progressive instrumentation, songwriting and subjects.

The Well Drinkers put their own spin on familiar sounds of the bluegrass genre, not shying away from bringing experimental jams, jazz, Cajun, classical and reggae into live performances.

Having shared the stage with the likes of Molly Tuttle, Sierra Hull, Balsam Range and more, The Well Drinkers is a rising force in the bluegrass scene.

Doors open at 6 p.m.; concert begins at 7 p.m. The event includes a bar (beer and wine service), plus the Appalachian Smoke Food Truck onsite. General admission tickets are $22. The Folkmoot Friendship Center is at 112 Virginia Ave., Waynesville.

• All-star bluegrass musicians

Friday, April 19 brings a special line up of world-class Bluegrass musicians together for one special night of great music featuring: Darren Nicholson, Shawn Lane, Aubrey Haynie, Ron Stewart and Aaron Ramsey at 7 p.m. at the HCC Auditorium.

“The opportunity to hear this particular line up of extremely talented guys playing together is a special occasion,” said Gilmore. “They are coming together for one extraordinary night of music, and it’s free.”

Nicholson is a multi-talented musician, a GRAMMY nominee, winner of 13 International Bluegrass Music Association awards and Canton resident. He has taken his own brand of mountain music around the world.

A regular for years on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and a founding member of acclaimed bluegrass group Balsam Range, Nicholson now spends his time recording, writing new songs and performing.

While Nicholson has played duo performances with Lane (well-known Blue Highway vocalist and instrumentalist), this is the first time the five musicians have performed all together.

“These guys are as good as you will ever hear anywhere,” Nicholson said. “I think the biggest winners are the music fans in Haywood County and Western North Carolina — they will experience a free concert April 19, as good as any bill anywhere. This will be a memory night.”

The HCC Hemlock Building auditorium is at 185 Freedlander Dr., Clyde.

• Appalachian True Mountain Market

The celebration moves to Downtown Waynesville Saturday, April 20, starting with the Appalachian True Mountain Market 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. in two Waynesville locations — the Main Street District and historic Shelton House, connected by a shuttle on festival day.

This market showcases a special collection of artisans, performers, demonstrators, and educational displays that preserve the sacred ways of mountain life, combined with fun activities for kids and families.

Enjoy the juried art and craft show; small antique car show; Waynesville Museum exhibit, by curator and historian Alex McKay; true crime trail; demonstrations by the HCC Lumberjack team; axe throwing; face painting; photo booths; live music and dancing; the Cherokee Warriors; bagpipes; antique tractors; heritage demonstrators; live animals; and a community jam led by Cider Ridge, open to the public.

• The Haywood Made

The Haywood County Arts Council (HCAC) will close out the weekend, celebrating modern-day Appalachia at the Haywood Made event 5-8 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at The 37 Venue, in Waynesville.

The event features a variety of activities and events for all ages, celebrating the talent and creativity of emerging local artisans, musicians and performers.

Enjoy live music, dancing, art activities, a full art display by local youth and a silent auction featuring handmade goods by local artisans.

The evening kick offs with a performance by the Maggie Valley Band, a local favorite known for its unique blend of bluegrass and indie rock.

Plus, guests will have the opportunity to participate in line dancing lessons led by professional instructors from the American Ballroom Company dance studio.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for youth, and free for children under the age of 10. The 37 Venue is at the top floor of 37 Church St., Waynesville.

The collaboration

Carolina Heritage Weekend is a collaborative partnership between the Downtown Waynesville Commission, HCC, HCAC, the Historic Shelton House and Folkmoot; funded largely by Tourism Development Authority grant funds administered by Visit NC Smokies.

“Collaborating on this Carolina Heritage Weekend has been a wonderful experience,” said Tonya Harwood, HCAC executive director. “It’s a way to make positive connections in our beautiful community.”

For event tickets, visit: