Traffic Flows Freely at the Valle Country Fair Saturday, October 15, 2022
VALLE CRUCIS, NC — "There is no comparison to past years," commented Captain Carolyn Johnson of the Watauga County Sheriff's Department when asked about how adding a second entrance to the Valle Country Fair has impacted traffic to and from the popular harvest festival. "The second entrance allowed traffic to flow smoothly and made for a happier crowd both coming and going."
For years, scores of potential Fair patrons have let the anticipation of roads clogged with long lines of vehicles stop them from experiencing the sights, sounds and flavors of one of the region's premier mountain festivals and crafts expositions. But now, in its 44th year, traffic congestion is no longer a reason to avoid the sprawling church bazaar.
A second entrance was added in 2021, getting fairgoers off the two-lane feeder roads and parked in the huge hayfield beside the Fairgrounds more than twice as fast, eliminating the frustration of sitting in traffic for extended periods of time and letting guests start enjoying their fair-going experience that much sooner.
"Traffic improved by a landslide," said Captain Johnson. "Having two entrances practically eliminated time spent sitting in long lines of cars and, for the most part, kept traffic flowing continually."
Always held on the third Saturday in October (October 15, 2022), the Valle Country Fair takes over the grounds of the Valle Crucis Conference Center on NC Highway 194 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is free and ample parking is available in the adjoining field for $10 per car. NO PETS allowed.
Upon entering the event, fairgoers encounter the tents of 150 jury-chosen artisans whose hand-made work stands out for its creativity and quality. Organizers select exhibitors whose offerings will provide Fair guests the greatest selection of product and media, ensuring that shoppers can choose from an abundant assortment of original crafts and that no two craftspeople will be selling the same product.
The exhibition of handmade creations includes items as disparate as antler art, apparel, baskets, birdhouses, books, candles, folk art, furniture, glass, handbags, jewelry, leather goods, paintings, photography, pottery, quilts, sculpture, soaps, textiles, toys, turned wood, weavings, wood carvings, wreaths, yard art and more.
Most of the food booths at the Valle Country Fair are operated by the parishioners of Holy Cross Church. Serving up barbecue, Brunswick Stew, chili, burgers and sausages with onions, the members of the little country church put a whole new spin on the term "dinner on the grounds"!
The baked goods booth spreads out a plethora of sweetness on long tables that groan with cookies, candies, cakes and pies. For apple cider to accompany your treats, wander down behind the red barn where locally grown apples are loaded into a 1940s-era cider press and brute strength is used to squeeze every the thirst quenching goodness out of the orbs.
Need a souvenir to take back to a coworker or a Christmas gift for the kids' teachers? The jelly ladies have been canning all summer to fill their booth with homemade jellies, jams, relishes and pickles.
And for a stocking stuffer you won't find anywhere else, visit the Apple Butter Boys. They'll be over by the sorghum patch, stirring their thick, sweet, cinnamony condiment over an open fire in huge copper kettles. All day. Stirring and stirring. All day. To keep the bubbling sweetness from scorching and ruining the 2,000 pounds of applesauce that they cook down into the 190 gallons of apple butter sold each year at the Valle Country Fair!
Mountain music floats on the autumn breeze throughout the day. The main stage, located by the dining tent, showcases the best in local bluegrass, country and gospel music. A second stage located near the Kids’ Activity Area features cloggers, magicians and more. In the Activity Area youngsters can find games like Twister and pumpkin bowling, get their faces painted or lose themselves in an arts and craft project.
Near the Kids' Activity Area your family will also encounter alpacas from the nearby Apple Hill Fiber Farm and horses from Spirit Ride Therapeutic Riding Center, one of the amazing charities that will benefit from the proceeds of the Fair.
Proclaiming "Community Supporting Community," the Valle Country Fair builds and celebrates community while raising money to support the good work of local charities. Proceeds from the Valle Country Fair go to fund grants for area non-profits and to provide an emergency fund for local families who face unexpected needs.
Recipients of grants from the 2022 Valle Country Fair are the Children’s Council, Girls on the Run, High Country Caregivers, the Jason Project, LIFE House, the Mediation and Restorative Justice Center, Mountain Alliance, Reaching Avery Ministries, Spirit Ride Therapeutic Riding Center and Watauga County Schools Extended Learning Centers. Theoutreach committee at Holy Cross Church distributes all remaining proceeds to local families with emergency needs.
The single-day harvest festival is held in a large pasture 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 2022 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.