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Swannanoa festival seeks to highlight communitys rich history

Gabriel Sistare, staff writer

Swannanoa will host the second annual “Mill Around the Village Festival” in the town’s historic downtown area, where Park Street meets the railroad tracks. The festival will take place on Sept. 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Last year, 1500 people attended the event, which featured live music, food, arts and crafts vendors, localhistory and heritage displays, including games and activities for the kids.

According to festival coordinator Linda Kinney, “we had a great experience last year…the vendors and festival attendees all commented on the wonderful community feeling at the festival.” This year’s festival will continue to focus on “showcasing local businesses, craftspeople, and musicians,” Kinney concluded.
Food from local Swannanoa Valley restaurants will be available, and vendor booths will include everything from locally-made arts and crafts to free chiropractic exams.

One of the booths that will be returning from last year is the Swannanoa Heritage Exchange. The booth will feature photos and artifacts from Swannanoa’s rich history, and Gene Mills, author of the book “Another Time, Another Place – Growing Up in Swannanoa,” will be signing copies of his book and answering questions.

To continue the spirit of presenting Swannanoa’s rich history, Bill Alexander, self-proclaimed Swannanoa Valley history buff, will lead tours throughout the historic downtown area.

Five musical acts will perform during the festival including Ol Hoopty, a funk/rock/blues/jazz band that recently won a Mountain Xpress “Best of WNC” award. Singer/songwriter Bert Brown will entertain the crowd with original songs about Swannanoa and the Valley. Bud Bradley, a local favorite, will play some foot-tapping bluegrass with his band, Circle D.

Sponsored by the Swannanoa Pride Community Coalition, “Mill Around the Village” is a genuine and exciting expose of the community of the Swannanoa Valley.

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