Last Updated on October 2, 2022 7:46 am
VALLE CRUCIS, NC — Over 150 exhibitors will be selling their original handmade creations at
the 44th annual Valle Country Fair coming up Saturday, October 15. The craft masters include
fourteen artisans who will be showing their work for the first time, and four craftspeople have
participated in the Valle Fair for 20 or more years.
The exhibitors who have sold their creations at the Valle Country Fair the longest include John
Dean of Valle Crucis who has been selling poplar bark birdhouses, bird feeders and berry baskets
for 41of the 44 years since the community harvest celebration began, and Scott Deming of Butler,
TN, who has sculpted art pieces from wood for 31 years. Brenda Schramm of Boone and Joyce
Albrecht of Hilton Head Island have each participated in the Valle Country Fair for 20 years, with
Schramm selling red stoneware pottery and Albrecht offering gourd bowls.
The Valle Country Fair is held on the third Saturday in October, which this year is on Saturday,
October 15, 2022. The festivities spread out across a large hayfield on the grounds of the Valle
Crucis Conference Center on NC Highway 194. Admission is free and parking is available in the
adjoining field for $10 per car. PETS ARE NOT PERMITTED AT THE FAIR.
Crafts booths, food tents, musical stages and demonstrations of harvest traditions like apple cider
pressing and apple butter cooking are set up along wide lanes that meander back and forth across
the meadow. Bales of hay are stacked in the intersections of these walkways to offer fairgoers
places to sit while they ponder which booths to visit next.
“Although there may be several booths selling work fashioned in the same artistic medium,” said
arts & crafts committee co-chair Carolyn Shepherd, “Each artisan was selected because they have
a unique style and point of view that differentiates their work from the others.”
Exhibitors submit to a jury process designed to make certain that all work meets the Fair's primary
requirement “to be original in design, form, and concept,” as well as to ensure that shoppers will
have a wide variety of artistic media to choose from.
“We have shoppers who come each year to see what new work their favorite exhibitors have added
to their portfolios,” continued Shepherd, “and others who come to see what kind of wares folks
who are exhibiting for the first time bring to the mix.” There are 14 first-time exhibitors
participating in 2022, which Shepherd says is about average.
“A surprising number of the artists tell us that this is their favorite show,” Shepherd said. “And
these are people who travel across several states attending multiple shows a year.
“They like the people and the atmosphere, and they like the reason our community works so hard
to put on a quality event,” she said. “The artists appreciate that net proceeds from the Fair go back
into the community to help those less fortunate. As a show of support for the mission behind the
event, the artists donate 10% of their earnings back to the charitable work of the Fair.”
Over its first four decades, the Valle Country Fair raised more than one million dollars for human
services and emergency relief in the High Country. Last year the Fair put $55,000 back into the
community through grants that support the programming of local non-profit organizations and
through financial assistance to local families with emergency needs.
Recipients of grants from the 2022 Valle Country Fair are the Children’s Council, Girls on the
Run, High Country Caregivers, the Jason Project, LIFE House, the Mediation and Restorative
Justice Center, Mountain Alliance, Reaching Avery Ministries, Spirit Ride Therapeutic Riding
Center and Watauga County Schools Extended Learning Centers. The outreach committee at Holy
Cross Church distributes all remaining proceeds to help local families.
The big news in 2022 is that Fair organizers and County Public Safety officers both report that
because a second entrance to the fairgrounds was added last year, traffic congestion is no longer a
problem at the Valle Country Fair.
“Traffic improved by a landslide,” said Captain Carolyn Johnson of the Watauga County Sheriff's
Department. “Having two entrances practically eliminated time spent sitting in long lines of cars
and, for the most part, kept traffic flowing continually.”
During the morning hours, traffic managers direct vehicles off NC 194 and onto the fairgrounds
via two different gates, meaning that fairgoers spend considerably less time in traffic waiting to
get into the event. When traffic arriving at the Fair slows down around mid-day, the second gate
is converted into a second exit, allowing cars departing the fairgrounds to get back on the highway
quickly and easily.
The single-day harvest festival is held in a large hayfield located alongside NC Highway 194
between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk. Admission to the Valle Country Fair is FREE and parking
is available in the adjoining field for $10 per car, $25 for a small bus or van, and $50 for a motor
coach. NO PETS are allowed.
Media sponsors for VCF 2022 are Curtis Media Group and Mountain Times Publications.
The event is produced by Holy Cross Episcopal Church in cooperation with the Valle Crucis
Conference Center. Proceeds are used to provide grants to local non-profit organizations, and relief
to local families with emergency needs. For more information, contact Holy Cross Church at 828-
963-4609 or visit the Fair on the Web at www.vallecountryfair.org.