The Valle Country Fair Celebrates 45 Years on Saturday, October 21, 2023
VALLE CRUCIS, NC — “The Fair was an idea that came from our beloved Polly Capps," said Dedy Traver, a Holy Cross Church member and worker bee for the first Fair. "A small group of parishioners sat on the porch of Bob & Polly Capps' house to do some brainstorming. Whenever Polly came up with an idea, we knew it would happen AND we would have to work!”
What began 45 years ago as a fundraiser for the Holy Cross Church Building Fund became a regional event that is as colorful as the surrounding Autumn hillsides.
The first year it was a small event. It was held at the Valle Crucis Apple Barn and featured a pig pickin’ lunch, freshly pressed apple cider, and a square dance with a cakewalk that evening. Amazingly, the event was pulled off by the 35 members of the church. All the proceeds that year went to build a parish hall for Holy Cross Church. Since the second year, all proceeds have been given back to the community.
"We felt we had given to ourselves once; thereafter, the fruits of our labors should go to helping other people,” explained Traver. According to Holy Cross Church records, over one million dollars ($1,000,000,000) in net proceeds raised by the Valle Country Fair have gone to local community support since 1978. That amount includes grants to 122 different agencies throughout the High Country, as well as to emergency funding for thousands of individuals and families experiencing financial hardships.
Funds are generated by food booths operated by the church members and from the approximately 150 arts and crafts exhibitors who pay fees to participate. "Exhibitors donate 10 percent of their earnings from sales at the Fair to help people in need in this area,” said Exhibitor Co-Chair Suzie Long. “Everyone who purchase hand-made crafts, home-cooked food, apple butter, baked goods, jams and jellies is lending a hand to folks that need our support. "
The whole community pitches in to make the Fair a success. Each year, performers including cloggers, storytellers, square dancers, musicians, and more contribute their talents for the enjoyment of fair goers. Skyline Communications sets up a cyber network that connects 140 crafts booths and two dozen food booths to the Internet, enabling sellers to accept credit cards. The Children's Council organizes games and activities for children, the Boy Scouts manage trash removal and teenagers from the Western Youth Network and Mountain Alliance haul decorations and equipment from storage to the fairgrounds and back to storage again.
“It takes every member of our church, plus friends, to pull together the event,” said Fair Chairman Gustav Gauss. “That’s over 200 people – from Dedy Traver standing up on Sunday morning to remind everyone it is time to make jams & jellies to the volunteers from the Valle Crucis Conference Center who help with parking on the day of the Fair.
“The success of the Fair is people helping people from the heart," Gauss said. "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.”
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 www.vallecountryfair.org.