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Park Staff, Neighbors Celebrate Fall Harvest at Mountain Farm Museum

Posted by | 09.08.2017
Mountain Life Festival illustrates for park visitors
the traditional fall activities that were important
to life. - 
NPS photo

The annual Mountain Life Festival at the Mountain Farm Museum in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is scheduled for Saturday, September 16. This event continues to preserve the legacy of Appalachian folkways and is a tribute to the many families who lived on lands that would later become the national park. The event hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public.

Mountain Life Festival illustrates for park visitors the traditional fall activities that were important to life in the rural Southern mountains. The spirit of cooperation that existed among families and neighbors is reflected in this event.

Demonstrations on the grounds of the mountain farm museum include:

  • hearth cooking
  • apple butter making
  • blacksmithing
  • lye soap making
  • food preservation
  • gardening

The centerpiece of the event is the sorghum syrup demonstration, which the National Park has provided

The centerpiece of the event is the sorghum
syrup demonstration.
- NPS photo

each fall for over 30 years. The syrup is made much the same way it was produced a hundred or more years ago, using a horse or mule-powered cane mill and a wood-fired cooker. The syrup making demonstration is provided by students, staff, and volunteers from Swain County High School Future Farmer’s of America through a cooperative agreement with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains Association.

Artifacts and historic photographs from the National Park's collection will also be on display.  Mountain Life Festival will coincide with our music jam sessions held on the porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center from 1 -3 p.m. every first and third Saturday of the month.

The Mountain Farm Museum is located adjacent to Oconaluftee Visitor Center on U.S. 441 in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, two miles north of Cherokee, N.C.  For more information, call the visitor center at 828.497.1904.

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