Every year in September as part of the harvest festivals we’ve all grown to love, a small town in Western North Carolina puts on an amazing Cherokee Heritage Festival. This year we were in town for this annual event and happy we were.
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Cherokee Heritage Festival in Hayesville, North Carolina
The Cherokee Heritage Festival is a free family event that’s hosted by the Clay County Communities Revitalization Association. This event celebrates the Cherokee culture with demonstrations, arts and crafts, dancers, musics, children’s activities and Cherokee food, and held at the Cherokee Homestead Exhibit.
Throughout the day, the Hiawassee River Watershed Coalition shares wonderful information about all the native plants with free guided walks, talks and activities for all ages to enjoy.
Events are scheduled throughout the day, so I recommend arriving as early as possible so you don’t miss anything. When arriving look for a tent set up that has t-shirts and souvenirs for sale. This is where you can get your schedule of events for the day. Most demonstrations are done once, and those are the ones that we didn’t want to miss.
First demonstration we attended: How to make a fire. My boys have been asking for awhile how to do this, and lucky for us it was in the line-up. The demonstrator did a wonderful job. During the demonstration, he explained step-by-step what he was doing and why.
The guided walks take place along the Quanassee Path, which is a 2-mile walk. This path leads to the Spike Buck Mound. Read more about it here.
The Cherokee dancers do a wonderful performance through they day, and they also call up volunteers for participate in a dance with them. The boys thought that was the coolest thing ever!
With the variety of arts and crafts available, it’s hard to not go home without taking at least one souvenir. Even for this budget savvy traveler. We always watch very closely what we spend at festivals since it’s easy to drop more money than planned, but I couldn’t resist but to purchase the necklaces my boys picked out. There was someone there that wrote their name in Cherokee. I thought it would be a wonderful keepsake for them.
We ended our day at the kids arts and crafts area (which is also free). The boys made a blow gun and a necklace to bring home with them.
Things to know when attending the Cherokee Heritage Festival
• This is a free event that also offers free parking and free shuttle service for those that aren’t able to park close.
• Being an annual event, it takes place every September and fun for the entire family.