Cradle of Forestry Hosts Forest Festival Day and Woodsmen’s Meet

The Cradle of Forestry invites people of all ages to celebrate the heritage of western North Carolina and the Centennial of the Pisgah National Forest during the annual Forest Festival Day on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. This is the Cradle’s largest event of the year.

This activity-filled, family event commemorates the traditions of mountain living and craft in the Cradle’s unique and beautiful setting, while celebrating the creation of the first National Forest in the eastern United States. More than 100 forestry students, traditional craftsmen and exhibitors will be on site during the celebration. During the event, ten colleges will compete for a trophy in the 21st Annual John G. Palmer Intercollegiate Woodsmen’s Meet, organized by Haywood Community College in Clyde, NC.

Festival-goers can cheer as college forestry students compete during the Woodsmen’s Meet that has the flavor of an old-time lumberjack competition. The students test their skills in a number of events including archery, axe throwing, crosscut sawing and pole felling.

Participating colleges are Haywood Community College, Penn State Mont Alto, Montgomery Community College in Troy, NC, Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC, North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, Dabney Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge, Virginia, Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA, Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC, University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and West Virginia University in Morganton, WV.

The Woodmen’s Meet is held in the open field at the Pink Beds Picnic Area. This area allows for safety of participants and spectators while at the same time providing opportunities to see all the action. Spectators are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket for comfort. Limited bleacher seating is provided.

The Pink Beds Picnic Area and Pink Beds trailhead will be closed to non-event use for the day. The Pink Beds Trail can be accessed from FS Road 1206 via the Barnett Branch Trail and from the South Mills River gauging station area off Wolf Ford Road FS 476.

Traditional crafters and exhibitors will congregate along the Biltmore Campus Trail. These include demonstrations of whittling, wood carving, turning and burning, blacksmithing, soap making, candle making, primitive fire building, and creating corn husk dolls. Exhibitors include the Hemlock Restoration Initiative, the Forest History Society, the Transylvania Heritage Museum and the Pisgah Conservancy.

Festival goers can learn to cut a tree “cookie” with a cross cut saw to take home. They can see a Wood-mizer portable sawmill in action turning logs into lumber and learn the fine points of cutting and properly drying wood.

Falconry demonstrations will be from 11:00 to 3:00. Old fashioned wagon rides will be offered from 11:00 to 2:00. For a complete list of activities, exhibitors and demonstrations during Forest Festival Day call the Cradle at (828) 877-3130.

Accents on Asheville will provide a shuttle between the Forest Discovery Center and the Pink Beds from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

The Cradle of Forestry is the birthplace of modern forestry in America. Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck, forester for George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate from 1895 – 1909, founded America’s first forestry school in 1898 and used the present Cradle of Forestry area as its summer campus. This land was the nucleus of today’s Pisgah National Forest, established in 1916. Forest Festival Day celebrates this heritage and our forest lands today.

Visitors are encouraged to add their memories of Pisgah National Forest through the years to a timeline exhibited in the Forest Discovery Center. Take a selfie by a special Centennial commemorative sign. Keep an eye open for Smokey Bear around the Center.

Admission for this event is $6.00 for ages 16 and older; $3.00 for youth ages 4-15, and holders of America the Beautiful and Golden Age passes. Children under 4 years old are admitted free. The Cradle of Forestry is located four miles south of Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 412 on Hwy. 276 in the Pisgah National Forest, or six miles north of Looking Glass Falls.


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