For an authentic mountain experience under the stars, enjoy six Saturdays of free evening concerts at Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage Center in Old Fort. David Holt, the Krüger Brothers and Sheila Kay Adams are among the well-known musicians who will perform traditional music at the site's picturesque outdoor amphitheater. The performances every Saturday (except July 5) from June 14 to July 26 at 7 p.m. are presented as part of Mountain Gateway Museum's summer series Blue Ridge Traditions. And there's more. . . . From 2 to 6 p.m. on the same Saturdays, there will be craft demonstrations, storytellers and hands-on activities.
"This summer, more than ever, is a great time to experience culture and heritage right here at home in North Carolina," said Cultural Resources Secretary Lisbeth C. "Libba" Evans. "Free activities like these will make everyone's vacation memorable."
Blue Ridge Traditions kicks off on June 14 with Grammy Award-winner David Holt and his band, the Lightning Bolts. Drop by in the afternoon to watch a wood-carver and broom maker at work or to quilt a few stitches with the Mountain Glory Quilters Guild.
"Bring a picnic, a lawn chair, family and friends," added Terrell Finley, museum administrator. "Our summer series is a wonderful opportunity for residents and visitors to North Carolina to experience the region's history, music and culture." And what could be easier? No advance registration is needed, and everything is free, including parking.
Craft demonstrations and activities will vary each Saturday. For example, June 28 centers on the theme Sheep to Sweater, so you can watch individuals spin, weave, knit and crochet. On July 26, you can see farm animals, learn about beekeeping and more. A weekly schedule will be posted on ncarts.org/free concerts, or call Mountain Gateway Museum at 828-668-9259 for details.
A schedule of the 7 p.m. concerts follows.
June 14: David Holt & the Lightning Bolts
June 21: Sheila Kay Adams and Balsam Range
June 28: The Welch Family and fiddler Bobby Hicks, plus Cherokee Heritage with storyteller Freeman Owle
July 12: George Shuffler and Family, Denise O'Sullivan, the New North Carolina Ramblers
July 19: The Griggs, Paul Brown and the Toast String Stretchers (At 4 p.m., join a mountain dance workshop with Phil Jamison and Loretta and Lynsey Freeman.)
July 26: Clarence Green with Wayne Martin, the Krüger Brothers
Blue Ridge Traditions is sponsored by Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage Center, the North Carolina Arts Council, the Department of Cultural Resources and the North Carolina Folklife Institute. Additional support is provided by McDowell County Tourism Authority. The media sponsor is WNCW-FM 88.7.
The summer series is presented as part of "Telling Our Stories," a yearlong celebration showcasing North Carolina's arts, heritage and cultural life. "Telling Our Stories" is an initiative by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
To reach Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage Center at 102 Water Street (the corner of Catawba and Water streets), take exit 73 off I-40, and go north four blocks. The museum is 23 miles east of Asheville and 50 miles west of Hickory.
Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage Center is part of the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, an agency of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. The department's Web site is www.ncculture.com.