Horn in the West takes Boone back in time

Michael Bragg

Visitors to Horn in the West last weekend were transported back in time to the 18th century. 

The second annual Boone Heritage Festival was held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum located on the grounds of the outdoor drama “Horn in the West.”

 The coordinators were satisfied with their turnout for the festival’s second year.

“Last year, we counted almost 1,300 attendees,” said Michelle Ligon, chair of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association. “This year, there was a roughly 50 percent increase as compared to last year.  That’s healthy growth and we are very pleased.”

As a celebration of history and culture, the event showcased the talents of men and women in the area. The festival included musical performers, storytellers, food and craft vendors and historical demonstrators.

The purpose of the festival is to “highlight the culture of Hickory Ridge Living History Museum and Horn in the West,” Lignon said. 

“Our festival mission is to educate folks about the influence Daniel Boone has had on this town,” she said. “[From] about 1761 to 1771, the famous frontiersman lived in what is now Ferguson, North Carolina, a mere thirty miles from this lofty mountain valley in the foothills. It’s reasonable to believe that Daniel Boone saw the Boone area as sort of his and his neighbors’ back woods.”

This preservation of High Country history was achieved through the activities offered at the festival.

Storytellers, vocalists and bluegrass performers took the stage Saturday afternoon, including folk singers Mary Greene, the Elkville String Band and The Sheets Family Band. There was a jamming area with more bluegrass performers and dancers and for a small fee, festivalgoers could participate in lessons on blacksmithing, candle making, tomahawk throwing, apple butter making and jack-o-lantern carving at the “Liar’s bench.” 

Visitors could also buy handmade soaps, linens and food items, like apple cider and kettle corn at various booths on the grounds.

Though not a student-heavy event, a few students and faculty attended.

“It was difficult to get student involvement this year because the event coincided with Fall Break, but we did list it with ACT,” Lignon said.

One student who attended was junior public relations major Katy Cook. 

“I was involved with a lot of the planning and publicity leading up to the festival,” she said.  “I also volunteered at the festival – in costume.”

The Boone Heritage Festival is sponsored by the Town of Boone, the Boone Tourism Developmental Authority, Wells Fargo Bank and Mast General Store and is set to occur the second Saturday of October each year.

Story: EMMA SPECKMAN, A&E Reporter