Crowds gather in Huntersville to honor Appalachian traditions
The twang of old-time bluegrass and the savory aroma of food filled the air as a respectably sized crowd gathered in Huntersville Saturday morning for the annual Huntersville Traditions Day.
Attendees came out for the wagon rides, old-time demonstrations, mouth-watering food and traditional music.
Huntersville Traditions Day is unique compared to other local festivals because event organizers strive to maintain a historic, period theme.
Visitors spent the day observing blacksmith demonstrations, cider pressing, tin-type photography, tours of the historic buildings and live bluegrass music.
"We've formed this festival in the old, traditional way of doing things. We try to keep in the 1890's, early 1900's time period. A lot of these younger people have never seen this stuff before. We try to emphasize the history of Huntersville too, to promote the old arts and letting people have access to these old buildings," said Tim Wade of Marlinton, who helped coordinate the event. "We try to do things in the old way, no electric cords, no propane or anything like that, this is about as modern as you'll get," indicating the antique engine powering the cider press.
"I really appreciate the authenticity of the all the old tradition. It was fantastic; the homemade ice cream was amazing, seeing Drew Tanner doing the tin-types, everyone pressing apples, it was all really nice," says Lyn Marie Knight of Hillsboro, who was attending the festival for the first time.
Vendors lined the streets selling barbecue, beef stew, biscuits and gravy, chili and corn bread, pies, cobblers, jams and jellies. Homemade jewelry and handcrafted goods were also available for sale, but the vendors weren't there just to try and turn a buck.
"We try to keep as much of it as free as possible," said Wade while serving complimentary homemade ice cream and fresh pressed apple cider. "We get lots of volunteers and we all try to dress in the old dress as much as possible."
The festival included Civil War re-enactors and wagon rides for the kids.
"I like the pony rides," said Ally Lane who was attending the event with her father Jason Lane of Huntersville.
"Pretty cool, old-time, almost like Pioneer Days used to be, they got the wagon rides and exhibitions going on, things they don't do much around here anymore," says Jason.
The foot traffic was only moderate, due partly to the brisk fall weather according to event coordinators.
Attendance might have been slightly lower this year compared to years past.
"It's kind of hard to tell, it's so cold, people are kind of on the move," joked Wade.
The event drew attendees from all over.
"We had a guy here who was helping us with parking. He said he had numerous people who were just passing through Huntersville," said Wade. "They stopped and parked their cars here and they've been here all day. That's tourism at its best."