33rd Annual Valle Country Fair October 19th, 2013
Mountain music, handmade crafts, tasty barbecue and Brunswick stew, and a scenic mountain setting make the Valle Country Fair a must attend event in the North Carolina High Country on the third Saturday in Ocotber. Admission is free and ample parking is available in the adjoining field for $5 per car.
The Valle Country Fair takes over the grounds of the Valle Crucis Conference Center on NC Highway 194 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Because the Fair coincides with the first day of the Woolly Worm Festival, many people set aside the day to visit both.
Holy Cross Episcopal Church started the event three decades ago to raise money for a church parish hall. Today it has become a major celebration attended by 10,000 people each year and raises money for parish outreach ministries, generating more than $40,000 for charity last year.
The Fair takes place in a huge meadow between a picturesque red barn and a field planted with corn and sorghum. The tents of 135 craft vendors line wide lanes that meander back and forth across the grounds. Bales of hay are stacked in the intersections of these alleys to offer fairgoers a spot to sit as they ponder which craft booths to visit next.
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Two stages are set up to provide entertainment throughout the day. The stage located near the dining tent features musical performers. A second stage located among the crafts booths features cloggers, magicians, cowboys and more.
Guests can feel good about pigging out at the Valle Country Fair because almost all of the food concessions are operated by the church or other non-profit organizations that return 100 percent of their earnings to Fair charities. Tables and chairs are provided under a large tent located near the music stage so that fairgoers can enjoy the entertainment while they dine.
Food concessions include Brunswick Stew, barbecue, chili, hot dogs and hamburgers, corndogs, sausage with onions, ham biscuits, ice cream, funnel cakes, baked goods, jams and jellies, fresh-pressed apple cider, and hot-out-of-the kettle apple butter.
The 2009 Valle Country Fair grant recipients are W. A. M. Y. Community Action, Western Youth Network, the Hunger & Health Coalition, Parent to Parent Family Support Network, Child Service Coordination Program, Caregiver's Haven, School of Social Work Back Pack Program, Watauga Habitat for Humanity and Watauga Children's Council's Parents as Teachers. All remaining profits are distributed throughout the year by the outreach committee at the Church of the Holy Cross to individuals and families in crisis.