Valle Country Fair Announces 2023 Grant Awards; Ten groups bring the total number of recipients to 122 

Last Updated on September 28, 2023 10:33 am

VALLE CRUCIS, NC — Attend the Valle Country Fair and you'll experience a fall harvest festival that celebrates hand-made crafts, home-cooked food and live mountain music. But permeating the festivities is a spirit of caring and generosity that calls hundreds of members of the Valle Crucis community together to raise monies that are used to help our neighbors in need.

Last year the Valle Country Fair channeled $55,000 back into the community through grants to local non-profit human-service organizations and through emergency assistance to families in crisis. The Mission and Outreach Commission (MOC) of Holy Cross Church approved ten High Country non-profit organizations to receive grants from 2023 Fair proceeds. The organizations selected for Fair grants will use the funds for an array of life affirming and community building programs.

“The success of the Fair is people helping people from the heart,” said VCF ’23 Chairman Tav Gauss. “This year the Valle Country Fair will celebrate 45 years having raised over $1 million to help others. Everyone should have joy in their hearts.”

Gauss noted that the total number of recipient organizations numbers 122 non-profit groups. Here is a listing of the 2023 recipients and a description of their outstanding work in our region:

From the Latin root word for love, AMOREM Hospice serves the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients and those they love. The product of a merger between Burke Hospice and Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, Amorem serves 12 counties in Northwestern North Carolina, including Avery, Watauga and Ashe. The Fair grant will support AMOREM’s efforts to build a 9,000 square-foot, freestanding hospice patient care unit on 10 peaceful acres in Boone.

The Children’s Council of Watauga County works to build a strong foundation for children's learning. The grant will be used for the newly created DUAL school which is a half-day preschool program to help prepare children ages three & four years old for success when they attend school. Half of the students in the DUAL program are from homes where English is a second language.

The Community Care Clinic provides free integrated health care to low income, uninsured individuals living in Watauga County and the surrounding area.  The agency will use the VCF grant to help support the salary of its medical assistants. Vital to providing quality medical care to patients, Medical Assistants support the staff Nurse Practitioners and the volunteer doctors, manage patient education, draw blood for diagnostics, handle intake appointments and more.

The Hearts of Hospitality House is a resource committee that shares the mission of Hospitality House to rebuild lives and strengthen community by equipping families experiencing homelessness and poverty-related crises to become self-sufficient and productive. Funds from the 2023 Valle Fair grant will allow the resource committee to prepare more than a dozen “Fresh Start boxes.” Provided to newly housed couples and families, the provisions help clients set up housekeeping without draining limited funds on the most basic household supplies.

The Hunger and Health Coalition aims to compassionately relieve poverty and hunger for low-income and uninsured residents of Avery, Watauga, and Ashe counties. This year's grant will be used to supplement local emergency food pantries with healthier foods, such as low-sodium canned goods and fresh produce, ensuring that clients with special dietary needs have healthier choices.

The Jason Project, Inc. hosts a wilderness-leadership-mentoring hiking program called “The Grandfather Challenge.” This program takes at-risk kids from Avery & Watauga Counties on four rigorous hikes over the course of a month and provides each individual youngster with encouragement, leadership, experiences that build self-esteem and confidence and relationships with caring adults. The Valle Country Fair grant will be used for boots and other hiking gear, professional hiking guides and other program costs. 

A small non-profit with a big impact, Mountain Alliance is credited with transforming teenage lives in Avery & Watauga Counties. Known for their Leadership Development Program and the School's Out after-school academic support program, funds from the Valle Country Fair will be used to support experiential education and after-school programs in both counties.

The Fair's grant to the Parkway After School Program will be used to support single parent and grandparent households that are dependent on after-school childcare. The after-school program gives working parent peace of mind that their children’s intellectual, social, emotional, and physical well-being are being looked after.

WAMY's mission is to partner with families and communities to give the disadvantaged the support and tools they need to become self-sufficient. The grant from the Valle Country Fair will make it possible for 3-6 low-income children from Avery and Watauga Counties to attend summer programs that would otherwise be financially unattainable for their families.

The Valle Country Fair and the Valle Crucis School PTA have worked hand-in-hand for 45 years to put on a wholesome community celebration while raising funds for their respective missions. For many years the PTA fried up scratch-made chicken dinners that both Fairgoers and Fair volunteers could pick up on the way home from a busy day in the Valle. The School will have a booth at the 2023 Fair where they will sell cold drinks.

The grant that the Valle Crucis Elementary PTSO receives from the 2023 Valle Country Fair will be used to support and expand the school's phenomenal enrichment program. Valle Crucis students can choose from experiential learning opportunities as varied as yoga, knitting, watercolors, crafting, jigsaw puzzles, fly fishing, stained glass, carpentry, coding, bird watching, journaling, poetry and the outdoor program Muddy Sneakers.

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 2023 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

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