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Events Calendar

April

Cherokee Spring Ramp Festival
Ceremonial Grounds, US 441 between downtown Cherokee and Drama Road
Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, P.O. Box 455, Cherokee, N.C., 28719, (828) 497-2771.

In the spring, a Cherokee community festival heralds the return of the ramps, an extremely pungent member of the onion and garlic family that grows only in remote mountain coves at elevations of 3,000 feet or higher. The ramp festival primarily entails eating ramps prepared in a variety of ways—raw, steamed and fried—and accompanied by fried potatoes, fried trout or fried chicken.

May

Fading Voices Festival
Robbinsville
Little Snowbird Baptist Church
1897 Little Snowbird Road, Robbinsville, N.C. 28771
(828) 479-4649

Held since 1986 on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, the Cherokee people of the Snowbird community invite members of the public to join them in an "Annual Demonstration Day" that includes a mound-building ceremony, arts and craft, performances of music and storytelling, and Cherokee food.

June

Cherokee Voices Festival
Museum of the Cherokee Indian
www.cherokeemuseum.org

This one-day festival highlights the community's elders and their families as well as younger generations of tradition-bearers. Storytellers entertain with Cherokee tales, and musicians play traditional flute and sing songs for traditional Cherokee dances. Many of the elders have received recognition far beyond the community, like North Carolina Folk Heritage Award-winning potter Amanda Swimmer and basket maker Emma Taylor.

June through August

Unto These Hills, an Outdoor Drama
www.cherokee-nc.com/index.php?page=9

Premiering in 1950, this long-running outdoor drama tells the story of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and their removal from Cherokee country on the Trail of Tears. Unchanged for half a century, this drama has undergone a significant rewriting by Kiowa playwright Hanay Geiogamah to improve historical accuracy and address a lack of Cherokee tribal participation in the cast.

July

Trail of Tears Singing, Brush Arbor Singing
Robbinsville
www.cherokeeheritagetrails.org/robbinsville_home.html

The Cherokee tradition of gospel singing dates back two hundred years. During the month of July, Cherokee gospel groups in the Snowbird community host a series of "singings" at which the public is welcome. The Trail of Tears Singing lasts for three days, bringing together Cherokee and white gospel groups from Oklahoma and the Southeast.

September

Mountain Heritage Day
Western Carolina University
www.mountainheritageday.com

Held the last Saturday in September since 1974, Mountain Heritage Day presents hundreds of performers and vendors representing Appalachian traditions, including Cherokee craft and dance. The festival attracts more than 25,000 visitors every year.

October

Cherokee Indian Fall Fair
Ceremonial Grounds, US 441 between downtown Cherokee and Drama Road
Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, P.O. Box 455, Cherokee, N.C., 28719, (828)497-2771.

Held the first full week of October since 1914, this fall fair features Cherokee arts and crafts, music, dance and traditional stickball games. Like other country fairs, this one features prize-winning pumpkins along with heirloom varieties of corn and beans, as well as hickory nuts, walnuts and chestnuts gathered from the woods.

November

Annual Wreath Laying at Junaluska Gravesite
Robbinsville
www.cherokeeheritagetrails.org/robbinsville_places.html

The Junaluska Memorial and Museum honor this Cherokee leader who was who was held in high esteem by both Cherokees and whites. Seven large granite markers erected around his grave tell the story of his life, 1776–1858, which was shaped by the events of the turbulent period leading up to and following Removal of the Cherokee along the Trail of Tears.

North Carolina Department of Cultural ResourcesLogin

The North Carolina Arts Council is a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. Susan Kluttz, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor