The Mountaineer Folk Festival Hits Falls Creek Falls
When I’m at Fall Creek Falls State Park, my ears and eyes are initially drawn toward the centerpiece of this bit of paradise on the Cumberland Plateau, a spectacular free-falling cascade of water that plunges 256 feet into a 400-foot diameter basin.
In addition to Fall Creek Falls, which is the tallest waterfall in Tennessee and among the tallest east of the Mississippi River, there are three other waterfalls, hemlock-lined gorges, countless acres of mountain laurel and rhododendron, a 375-acre lake with good fishing and 34 miles of hiking trails within the award-winning park’s more than 20,000 lush acres.
Now that’s my kind of place.
Besides incredible natural beauty, Fall Creek Falls provides creature comforts in its 145-room inn, a restaurant and 30 two-bedroom cabins including 10 two-story fisherman cabins with private porches on the lake and two handicapped-accessible landside cabins.
There are three campgrounds with hookups and bathhouses, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, pedal boats, canoes and aluminum fishing boat rentals (bring your own trolling motor and battery unless you want to move about under paddle power), bicycle rentals, horseback riding, and an 18-hole, par 72 golf course.
With so much to do, see and hear all year long it’s hard to imagine what more you could expect during the three-day Mountaineer Folk Festival being held Sept. 6-8.
So I asked Fall Creek Falls’ Nature Center Director Tommy Solomon, who’s had a hand in the Mountaineer Folk Festival goings-on since 1998, what’s planned to celebrate the festival’s 35th anniversary.
Here’s the rundown…
Friday, Sept. 6
Activities begin with a bang, or really more of a boom at 7 p.m. when the Civil War encampment fires a cannon. For the next three hours there will be pickin’ and grinnin’ jam sessions, toe-tappin’ music making and square dancers do-si-do-ing.
One of the key performers on Friday night is Leroy Troy who brings his old time banjo pickin’ and singin’ to the mix of solo and group musicians joining the celebration. My wife, Cathy, has been a fan of bluegrass musician, Norman Blake, since hearing his album, “The Fields of November,” in 1974 and was delighted to hear he will be a featured artist during the weekend as well.
Wagon rides, pioneer and craft demonstrations are scheduled throughout the festival with mule teams working a sorghum mill, brooms being made, quilts being pieced and chairs bottomed.
Saturday, Sept. 7
Saturday more than 120 vendors and crafters will be set up with handmade wares from wood working, wrought iron and leatherworks to crochet, knitting, basketry and pottery. Food vendors serve country breakfasts, burgers, hot dogs and country cooking classics like mashed potatoes, green beans, ham, turkey and dressing, hot roasted corn and home made ice cream in a variety of fresh fruit flavors including peaches and strawberries.
Sunday, Sept. 8
Storytelling, music and demonstrations will continue on Sunday with crafts and foods booths opening around 9 a.m. and closing at 5 p.m.
Suggested donations are $3 per person per day, $6 for the weekend or bracelets may be purchased prior to the Friday night kick-off for $5 that will admit you for each day of the three-day festival.
It’s gotta be the best ticket in town.
For more information and schedule details visit www.tn.gov/environment/parks/FallCreekFalls or call 423-881-5298.