Celebrating heritage

Winter Festival in the Smokies honors past

During the 2007 Winter Festival last year, the descendants of Big Will and Nancy Walker gathered for a presentation on the life of the pioneers who lived from 1860-1920. Posing with a photo of the Walkers are granddaughter Phyllis Stinnett Atchley, great-granddaughter Debbie Wilbourn, great-grandson Dwight McCarter and great-granddaughter Connie Miller.

During the 2007 Winter Festival last year, the descendants of Big Will and Nancy Walker gathered for a presentation on the life of the pioneers who lived from 1860-1920. Posing with a photo of the Walkers are granddaughter Phyllis Stinnett Atchley, great-granddaughter Debbie Wilbourn, great-grandson Dwight McCarter and great-granddaughter Connie Miller.

Ruth Davis of the Cades Cove Preservation Association shows guests to the Winter Heritage Festival an old wooden bread bowl.

Ruth Davis of the Cades Cove Preservation Association shows guests to the Winter Heritage Festival an old wooden bread bowl.

Folks from all over the country are invited to a family reunion in Townsend, no matter their last names. When the Winter Heritage Festival kicks off its four-day celebration, it will bring people from far and near. For members of the Cades Cove Preservation Association, the celebration will be akin to a reunion.

The group has been working for several years trying to contact as many former residents of Cades Cove as possible, CCPA museum director Missy Tipton said.

“Since we have started getting together, one our main concerns was getting everyone together at one time who resided in Cades Cove, and we have never been able to do that. We want everyone who lived in Cades Cove to be involved,”’ she said.

So on Feb. 10, the last day of the festival that started in 2007 and has already been widely acclaimed, the CCPA is hosting an event they’re calling Precious Memories - A Cades Cove Homecoming. The event is to be held at the Valley View Lodge at 7726 East Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend.

“We want the room to overflow,” said Tipton. “We’re trying to pull as many former residents of the cove as possible. There’s no charge to participate. We just want it to be a reunion - very informal.”

The group already knows of 150 to 200 former cove residents and would like to find more. “We would like to know everybody. We don’t want to leave anybody out. I want people to know it is more like a family get together. It is not a big fancy to-do. It’s very informal and causal. Come as you are,” she said.

Tipton said there will be a panel discussion with six or seven speakers and other people will be involved. All audience members will be welcome to participate. “We’ll have a narrator asking specific questions and hopefully get everyone involved,” she said.

The CCPA already has lifetime members who were former residents of Cades Cove who live as far away as Georgia, Michigan, Virginia and Illinois. “We’re going to send everyone we can get a name for an invitation,” Tipton said.

The Precious Memories - A Cades Cove Homecoming panel discussion will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 10 on the upper floor at Valley View Lodge and refreshments will be on the lower floor. Pete Maples, owner of the lodge, will supply fried apple pies as part of the refreshments.

The Homecoming is just one event in a packed four days of activities for the second annual Winter Heritage Festival.

The inaugural Winter Heritage Festival in 2007 surpassed many of the expectations planners had for the event, Great Smoky Mountains Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Vice President Herb Handly said.

“It really surpassed our expectations last year as to the number of people who participated and the high level of interest. We expected we would be looking at a select few. As it turned out, we found there is a great deal of interest in the human history of our area,” Handly said.

Handly said the 2008 festival is going to be even better. “The event this year is much more expanded than last year. We have several new and different kinds of presentations that I think will have a great deal of interest,” Handly said. “We’re very excited by the expanded program. This is kind of what our plan was. Determine interests and once we determined that, begin expanding our program. We think we have a great outline of lectures and activities that will have great interest to a lot of people.”

Tipton said the CCPA will sponsor the kick off event for the festival -- a presentation by Bill Landry, star and narrator of the WBIR-TV, Channel 10 award-winning program, “The Heartland Series.” On the program with Landry is Mike Clemmer on his dulcimer. The program is free. A special reception to meet the participants and enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres is a ticketed event, with tickets selling for $44.

Tipton said programs and events will be held at the Townsend Visitor’s Center, the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont and Highland Manor. In addition, the Little River Railroad Museum in Townsend and The Cades Cove Preservation Association Museum on East Lamar Alexander Parkway just down from the Blount County Justice Center will be open each day of the festival for people traveling to Townsend through Maryville, Tipton said.

Tipton said on Saturday morning, Feb. 9, the Kiwanis Club will have a pancake breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. at Townsend Elementary School. There also will be several different hikes led by National Park rangers during the festival, Tipton said.

For more information about the Cades Cove Preservation Association or to register for the Precious Memories - Cades Cove Homecoming, call 865-448-6134, 1-800-525-6834 or on the web go www.smokymountains.org/winter-heritage.

Schedule of Events

Please note: Pre-registration required for all programs, except exhibits. Reservations are required for meals. Please arrive 5 minutes early!

THURSDAY, Feb. 7

6 -- 9 p.m. Kick-Off Reception at Dancing Bear Lodge-Heavy Hors D’oeuvres, Reservations: 865-448-0044 ($43.99) Program: Mike Clemmer, Dulcimer music; Speaker: Bill Landry of “The Heartland Series” (programs only: free)

FRIDAY-SATURDAY, Feb. 8-9

All Day Exhibits and Activities:

10 a.m. -- 3 p.m. Cades Cove Preservation Association Exhibits-Descendants and former residents will be available at Townsend Visitor Center for discussion of the cultural history and personal family memories of life in Cades Cove. A display of family artifacts and graphical information may be viewed. Other CCPA displays are at Cades Cove/Thompson-Brown House Museum, Maryville.

9 a.m. --- 5 p.m. Little River Railroad Museum will be open for tours with special exhibits. Special exhibits of model railroads, lecture sessions concerning railroad construction and logging inside the national park.

10 a.m. -- 3 p.m. Blount County Historical Museum will be open for viewing displays of area features, places, and people.

9 a.m. -- 5 p.m. Walker Room Exhibit- Discover the lives of Big Will, Nancy, and the rest of the Walker family at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.

At Tremont

9 a.m. -- 5 p.m. Portraits by Mary Grace- Have a vintage photo of you and your family taken infront of the stone fireplace at the Townsend Visitor Center.

9 a.m. -- 5 p.m. Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center-Blount County Student Art Show and Townsend Artisan Guild “Winter in the Smokies” exhibit (through 2/17)

Friday Morning Programs

At Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center:

9 a.m. -- 10 a.m. Cades Cove Armchair Tour, Allen Coggins

10:15 -- 11:15 Grazing the Balds, Missy Tipton

11:30 -- 12:30 Cades Cove Medicines, Inez Adams

At Highland Manor:

10:30 a.m. -- 11:30 a.m. “Hills, Hollers, and Harmonies” concert, Lisa Free

11:30 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m. Hiking the Smokies, Sue Jenkins

Friday Afternoon Programs

At Highland Manor:

12:30 p.m. -- 2 p.m. Lunch catered by Sister Cats, and Storytelling with Faye Wooden. Reservations for lunch: 865-448-0044 ($10)

2 p.m. -- 3 p.m. Geology of White Oak Sinks, Harry Moore

At Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center:

2 p.m. -- 3 p.m. Sugarlands Memories, Bonnie Myers

3:15 p.m. -- 4:15 p.m. Rich Woods, Betty Best

4:30 p.m. -- 5:30 p.m. Mountain Baskets, Bill Alexander

At Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont:

1:30 p.m. -- 3:30 p.m. Tremont History Ramble, Ken Voorhis Meet: Tremont Office

3:30 p.m. -- 4:30 p.m. Fire Towers of the Smokies, Charles Maynard Spruce/Fir Room

4:30 p.m. -- 6:30 p.m. Walker Room Exhibit, Hot Cider; Concert: Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales, The Woodpickers Meet: Spruce/Fir room

At Cades Cove:

1 p.m. -- 3 p.m. The Oliver Family of Cades Cove, walking tour, Mike Maslona Meet: John Oliver Place Parking Lot

Friday Evening Programs

In Maryville, at Blount County Historical Museum:

4:30 p.m. -- 6:30 p.m. Special Viewing/Visitor Reception

In Townsend:

7 p.m. -- 10 p.m. Taste of Townsend -- Enjoy area restaurants!

Saturday Morning Programs

At Townsend Elementary School:

7 a.m. -- 11 a.m. Kiwanis Pancake Community Benefit Breakfast; Tickets: $5.00. Call: 865-448-0044.

At Townsend Visitor Center:

9 a.m. Meet for Elkmont Community History Hike , Bill Deitzer. (carpool to trailhead; half day hike, return by 1 p.m.)

At Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center:

9 a.m. -- 11 a.m. Drawing History’s Icons Workshop, Andrea Wilson Limit 20

9 a.m. -- 10 a.m. Cades Cove Images, photography by Bill Lea

10:15 a.m. -- 11:15 a.m. Cades Cove Military History, Mayor Jerry Cunningham

11:30 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m. The Cades Cove Baptist Church, Jim Cooper

Saturday Afternoon Programs

At Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont:

1 p.m. -- 2:30 p.m. Wild Edibles of the Smokies, Ila Hatter. Meet: Spruce/Fir room

3 p.m. -- 5 p.m. Tremont Logging Hike, Ron Briggs. Meet: Tremont Office

At Little River Railroad Museum:

1 p.m. -- 2 p.m. Whistle Over the Mountain, Jim Thurston

2 p.m. -- 3 p.m. Railroad Bed Walk, Don Headrick and Rick Turner

At Cades Cove:

1 p.m. -- 3 p.m. Cades Cove Cemetery Stroll, Ann Schlichting. Meet: Primitive Baptist Church

At Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center:

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Native American Flute, Randy McGinnis.

2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Chestnut Flats, Dave Post.

3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Rich Woods, Betty Best.

4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.: White Oak Sinks History, David Ledbetter.

At Valley View Lodge:

Afternoon snack – fried apple pies.

3 p.m. to 4 p.m.: The Hawkins Line, Dwight McCarter.

4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.: Cherokee Storytelling and Flute Music, Kay Littlejohn and Danny Bigay.

Saturday Evening programs

At the Barn Event Center of the Smokies

5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Dulcimer Music, Mike Clemmer, Wood-N-Strings.

6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Stars over the Smokies, star gazing, Lee Erickson, SMAS.

7 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Supper catered by Miss Lily’s.

8 p.m. to 9 p.m.: Native American Culture, Bo Taylor, member of the Eastern band of the Cherokee Indians.

SUNDAY, Feb. 10 Afternoon Programs

At Richmont Inn:

12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.: The Walker sisters of Little Greenbrier, Robin Goddard; harp music, Jennifer Love. (Light refreshments)

At Valley View Lodge:

2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Precious Memorials – a Cades Cove Homecoming hosted by Cades Cove Preservation Association.

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