Asheville Mountain Dance and Folk Festival

Asheville Mountain Dance and Folk Festival

First Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in August
The Asheville Mountain Dance and Folk Festival is the oldest festival of its kind in the country, held since 1928 in Asheville, N.C. Dedicated to traditional southern Appalachian music, it draws more than 400 performers: dulcimer sweepers, tune bow and mouth harp players, mountain fiddlers, and dancers who compete in smooth- and clog-dancing. Bluegrass and old-time bands also are on hand. ("Bluegrass" is not named for the Kentucky grass, but for the Blue Grass Boys, a band formed in 1938 by Bill Monroe, whose style of country popular music is still widely imitated; see also Bluegrass Fan Fest).
Other events of the weekend include a quilt show and the Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle World Competition at the Folk Art Center, which usually draws about 50 contestants. The whimmy diddle, an Appalachian whittled folk toy, is a notched wooden gadget with a propeller on one end; when a stick is rubbed across the notches, the propeller spins. The idea of the contest is to control the spin, to make the propeller gee (turn to the right) and haw (turn to the left). The winners of cash prizes are those who get their whimmy diddle to change the direction of rotation the most times. There is also a cash prize for the Most Unusual and World's Largest Whimmy Diddle.
CONTACTS:
Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 1010
Asheville, NC 28802
828-258-6101
www.folkheritage.org
SOURCES:
MusFestAmer-1990, p. 226