Last Updated on October 5, 2023 1:29 pm
VALLE CRUCIS, NC — Thirty-two High Country artists are among the 140
exhibitors chosen to sell their creations at the 45th annual Valle Country Fair
coming up Saturday, October 21. The work they will be offering for sale is all
original to the artist, handcrafted and/or artistically created by the exhibitor.
“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.”
The Valle Country Fair is held on the third Saturday in October (Saturday, October
21, 2023). 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.
The fairgrounds teem with crafts booths, food tents, musical stages and
demonstrations of harvest traditions like pressing apples into cider and stirring
applesauce over an open fire until it becomes the thick, sweet condiment that is
apple butter. Tents 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.
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 the new exhibitors (who have never showed at the
VCF before) are bringing to the mix.” There are 20 first-time exhibitors participating
in 2023, which Shepherd says is a few more than 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 tirelessly 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 45 years, 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 2023 Valle Country Fair are Amorem, the Children's
Council, the Community Care Clinic, The Hearts of Hospitality House, the Hunger
& Health Coalition, Jason Project, Mountain Alliance, Parkway After School
Program, Valle Crucis School PTSO and WAMY. The outreach committee at Holy
Cross Church distributes all remaining proceeds to help local families.
Traffic to and from the Fair has improved greatly over the past two years since
organizers created two entrances to the Fairgrounds. During the morning hours,
traffic managers direct vehicles off NC 194 and onto the fairgrounds via two
different gates, meaning that fairgoers spend less time on the road 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
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 nonprofit
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.