Press releasefrom Great Smoky Mountain Railfest
Steam will be returning to the Bryson City Depot for the Great Smoky Mountains Railfest this year on September 15 and 16, from 9am until 5pm! The visiting locomotive LeHigh Valley Coal Co. engine # 126 will be providing special Caboose train rides throughout the weekend; Saturday at 12:15pm & 2:30pm and Sunday at 1:45pm, all trains depart from Bryson City to Whittier, NC. You don’t want to miss the awesome opportunity to view Steam on the Murphy Branch Line once again! Adult tickets are $35 and $17.50 Children (2-12).
Returning will also be a selection of historic Motorcars! These track cars were formerly used on railroads to inspect track and carry track gangs and their tools to work zones. The cars are now privately owned and used to ride on short line railroads nationwide. Various rides on these unique motorcars will be available during Railfest.
Mountain Craft Fair
Saturday and Sunday festivities include an authentic Mountain Craft Fair with food and close to 30 area crafters and artists displaying and selling their handmade crafts, pottery and artwork.
One of the crafters will be David Ammons, originally from Tuckasegee, who will be demonstrating the old time vanishing art of chair caning. “This year I’m bringing with me two wonderful old hearth latterback vintage chairs dating back to the 1900’s,” he says, “along with a couple of ice cream parlor chairs, and an antique Hipped Nursing Rocker from 1920...and assorted other chairs I have rejuvenated and re-caned.”
Another vendor is Luzell Wigins Bennett from Whittier, who paints mountain scenes on preserved leaves. She says, “I draw ‘home’ as I see it, surrounded by our friendly mountains, using the canvas the good Lord provided...leaves.”
Other vendors will include handmade jewelry, glass boxes, walking sticks, lamps, woodworks, wind chimes, authentic NC red dirt shirts, critters made from railroad spikes, artwork, musical CDs dedicated to train songs, and many, many other creations.
GSMR will be having an exclusive retail sidewalk sale which will feature special collectables and special event merchandise! Be sure to take advantage of this great sale!
Old Time Entertainment
Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, a local nonprofit organization, who is striving to preserve the Appalachian heritage and musical roots of the area, will present two days of local family entertainment featuring singing, dancing and mountain folk music.
Saturday, September 15, the “Heritage Alive! Mountain Youth Talent Contest will feature local children up to age 18 trying for the top prize in the contest as they play old time instruments and sing the old songs. Featured mountain entertainment following the contest is a group of talented, well accomplished local musicians who are teaching the old music to the up and coming musicians of tomorrow— “The Stecoah Leftovers.”
Sunday, September 16, featured entertainers for are extremely family oriented: The Collins Family and Spirit-Filled Trio bring eleven entertainers with mountain and gospel music and great wholesome Fun. Authentic mountain music in the afternoon features the award-winning Queen Family, who have come to represent Southern Appalachian heritage and a way of life that’s passing.
Other entertainers for the two-day festival are the J. Creek Cloggers (high-energy dance team), the Southern Mountain Fire Cloggers, Smoky Mountain Melodies, Dusk Waver and Jackson County JAM youth entertainer(s), and the Ross Brothers.
Don’t miss this spectacular railroading event, where you’ll return to a time when the railroad moved mountains and the short line railroad was a small town’s best friend.