Almost festival time: Mountain Glory set for Saturday with new features

PHOTO BY CHRIS ALLISON ROCKET SLED MARKETING

For 34 years, Marion has hosted the popular Mountain Glory festival on the second Saturday in October near the peak of leaf season in the mountains. Each year, approximately 20,000 people attend Mountain Glory, making it one of the most popular festivals in western North Carolina. Admission to the festival is free.

On Saturday, the 34th Annual Mountain Glory festival will celebrate the arrival of autumn in the Blue Ridge. And this year’s festival in downtown Marion will have exciting new features such as the crowning of Miss Mountain Glory, a wider variety of entertainment and more time for fun.

The Mountain Glory festival will also extend for an additional hour, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For 34 years, Marion has hosted this popular celebration on the second Saturday in October near the peak of leaf season in the mountains. Each year, approximately 20,000 people attend Mountain Glory, making it one of the most popular festivals in western North Carolina. Admission to the festival is free.

This year's celebration will feature a record number of more than 150 food, craft, business and non-profit vendors spread out over three blocks of Main Street. Visitors looking for original handicrafts will find plenty of choices for shopping, including locally made arts and crafts. You can enjoy a great variety of festival foods and a wide array of live entertainment on two stages, featuring some of Marion's finest musicians, including Possum Creek, Greg Conley, the Addie's Chapel Adult Choir, Dave Dribbon and Sidecar Honey, ShBoom, the Lake Lure Cloggers, RMA Karate, Little Miss McDowell Addison Cunningham, the Coleman Arrowood Band and other local talent, according to a news release.

“While at Mountain Glory, you can also visit the numerous restaurants, pubs and shops in downtown Marion that will be open,” said Marion Business Association Director Freddie Killough. “Downtown Marion has had many new businesses open in the past year or two, so if you haven't visited downtown recently, you are in for a treat.”

The recently renovated city of Marion’s railroad caboose, located beside the Historic Marion Depot at 58 Depot St., will be available for free tours throughout the Mountain Glory Festival. Please make sure to check out the caboose and experience railroad history, said city officials.

New for the 2017 festival is the First Annual Miss Mountain Glory Festival Pageant. Miss Mountain Glory and Miss Mountain Glory's Outstanding Teen will be crowned on the Family Stage on the courthouse lawn during the afternoon of the festival. A $500 scholarship will be awarded to Miss Mountain Glory.

The kids will have fun in the Children’s Area on the courthouse lawn with hands-on activities, including a balloon artist, fishing booth, spin art, make your own tutu activity, face painting, rock painting, local entertainment and the ever popular best-dressed pet contest. There will also be inflatables and a moonbounce for children on Main Street near the northern end of the Festival area between Fort and New streets, according to the news release.

Returning to the 2017 Mountain Glory festival is a beer and wine garden. Beer and wine will be available for purchase by glass or bottle between noon and 6 p.m. for those 21 years of age and older in the garden, located next to State Farm Insurance on Main Street. ID is required to enter the Beer and Wine Garden. The beverages will be provided by local and regional breweries and wineries.

There will be a car show throughout Mountain Glory in the parking lot of Wells Fargo Bank on North Main Street, with many great cars on display.

The public will not want to miss the annual Mountain Glory Quilt Show inside the McDowell Arts Council on South Main Street. The quilt show is the gallery's featured exhibit for October. The mountain tradition of quilting is alive and well with dozens of quilts and quilted pieces on display. “The Quilt Show has been a beautiful and colorful addition to Mountain Glory Festival for many years and all quilts are one of a kind works of art,” said Killough.

There is no charge for the Quilt Show. You can also enjoy the McDowell Arts Council Art Gallery while looking at the quilts.

This year's Mountain Glory Festival includes a free shuttle service. This transportation service will run approximately every 15 minutes between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. between the Rose's parking lot on North Main Street and a point located near Kirksey Funeral Home on Fort Street next to the festival area. The transportation service is provided courtesy of the McDowell County Department of Social Services.

The Mountain Glory Festival is sponsored by the city of Marion and coordinated by the Marion Business Association, with numerous businesses also serving as sponsors. The 2017 sponsors include the McDowell Hospital, McDowell Technical Community College, The McDowell News, Jim Cook Chevrolet Buick GMC, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, Asheville Savings Bank, Hunter’s Liver Mush, Pepsi, McDowell Cornerstone Credit Union, U.S. Cellular, H. Russell Neighbors and Tiffany Morgan (attorneys at law), Tom Johnson Camping World, Mountain Area Community Services, Marion D.D.S. Family Dentistry, Killough’s Music & Loan, Appalachian Trading Post, Westmoreland Funeral Home & Crematory, Premier Insurance Services, Blackbeard Outdoor World, TS Orthodontics, Encompass Home Health, Workout Anytime and JC Construction & Tree Service.

“Please make plans to come to downtown Marion on Saturday, October 14 for the Mountain Glory Festival,” said Killough. “You'll be glad you did!”

For more information about the Mountain Glory Festival, call the Marion Business Association at 828-652-2215, e-mail info@mtngloryfestival.com or visit www.mtngloryfestival.com.

To find additional area events, attractions and lodging information, you can visit www.blueridgetravelers.com or call toll free (888-233-6111) to receive a free visitor guide and map.