Dancing in the street, a 5K run, a classic car show and a new health and wellness fair are all activities being held in conjunction with Mountain Gateway Museum’s 35th Annual Pioneer Day festival Saturday, April 27, in Old Fort.
Begun in 1984 to celebrate and help preserve the history, heritage and traditional lifestyle of people in western North Carolina’s mountains, Pioneer Day features Southern Appalachian crafts, live bands, food trucks, vintage farm tools and equipment, Civil War re-enactors, special exhibits, authors, animals, children’s games and much more.
The free, family fun-filled festival will kick off at 10 a.m. and run until 4 p.m. on the museum’s grounds at the intersection of Catawba Avenue and Water Street, a quarter-mile off Interstate 40 at Exit 73. Parking will be available at the end of Water Street.
Saturday, April 27, Schedule:
7 a.m. 4th Annual Super Leader 5K race registration at Old Fort Elementary School, 128 Mauney Ave; online registration available until 8 p.m. Friday, April 26. Registration: $10 per youth age 18 and under ($15 on race day); $15 per adult ($20 on race day); and $40 for a family of four ($60 on race day). All proceeds will benefit the school’s “Leader In Me” initiative.
8 a.m. Super Leader 5K begins; ends at Old Fort Elementary. Award presentations around 9 a.m. for top three overall finishers and top three male and female finishers by age group. Old Fort Elementary PTO hosts; contact Old Fort Elementary School at (828) 668-7646 for more information.
9 a.m. Mountain Thunder Benefit Car Show on Commerce Street behind town hall featuring 200 to 400 classic cars; hosted by Route 70 Cruisers rain or shine, until 2 p.m. Grand prize is a GM 350 engine, and the “Cruisers Prize” is a set of four tires valued at $500, provided by Baker Automotive of Marion.
All vehicles are welcome to participate. All proceeds benefit local charities. For information about fees, vendor spots, door prizes, and the 50/50 drawing, please contact Phillip Poe at (281) 798-4805.
10 a.m. Health and Wellness Fair. This new event will be set up in the old textile mill parking lot on Mauney Avenue. It is organized by the Old Fort and Catawba Basin Alliance. Several local health and fitness organizations will offer free blood pressure, blood sugar and heart rate checks, free health information and children’s activities, until 4 p.m. For more information contact Cathy Moore at (281) 798-7869.
10 a.m. Pioneer Day Festival officially begins with band performances in the Mountain Gateway amphitheater: 10 a.m. Wingin’ It; 11 a.m. Possum Creek, both bluegrass bands.
Noon Friendship Dulcimers, always popular, performs old time favorites on the museum’s front porch; 1 p.m. Coy Robinson & the New Mix at the amphitheater; 2 p.m. the all-volunteer Foothills Community Band, an amateur concert band from Marion.
4 p.m. Street dance with music by the Rewind Band of Old Fort on Catawba Avenue between Commerce and South Railroad streets. Organized by the Old Fort Community Forum, the free dance ends at 7 p.m. Contact Kirstie Thompson for more information.
Traditional craftspeople, many veterans of the State Fair in Raleigh or Mountain State Fair in Fletcher, will demonstrate skills throughout the day, including weaving, woodworking, needlework, jewelry making and others. Vendors will have crafts for sale.
In the food court around the fountain and gazebo, food trucks and vendors will sell drinks, hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue, fried fish, funnel cakes, and other foods.
Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 379 will be encamped on Mountain Gateway Museum’s grounds throughout the festival weekend to display uniforms, weapons, and equipment, and discuss Civil War camp life.
Community organizations, including McDowell County Public Library, Keep McDowell Beautiful, the Old Fort Extension & Community Association, the McDowell Trails Association, and others, will showcase their services and offer memberships.
For more information about the 2019 Pioneer Day Festival, please contact RoAnn Bishop at Mountain Gateway Museum at 828-668-9259 or at email@example.com.
# # #
Mountain Gateway Museum & Heritage Center (MGM) is a regional branch of the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh and is the westernmost facility in the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ Division of State History Museums. It is located at 24 Water St. in Old Fort, NC, just a quarter-mile off I-40 at Exit 73. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m. Closed Monday. Admission is free.