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Did you know that in the 1800s, North Carolina was the biggest gold producer in the country until gold was discovered in California in 1848? Not many people are aware but gold was one of the reasons the US government wanted to move the Cherokee and other Native Americans out of the mountains so they could claim the land and poach the gold.

There are actually two Gold Festivals this year, and we’ll be attending the official one in Old Fort on the banks of Mill Creek at the Mountain Gateway Museum on Saturday, June 2nd, from 10-4. Activities include live music, gold and gem panning contests, gold vendors and a display by the Reed Gold Mine, a Bechtler Gold Coin exhibit and Bechtler Museum House exhibit, along with artisans and food vendors selling their wares. And for country music fans, comedian Cledus T. Judd will take the stage at 2 pm.

The other Gold Festival will be held at the Lucky Strike Gem Mine in the Vein Mountain region of McDowell County, near Marion, NC on Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2 from 10-6. There will be a variety of vendors, including the latest in gold mining equipment, and a lapidarist will demonstrate gem faceting. Other activities include live music, BBQ, nugget races, horseshoes, and artisans and food vendors selling their wares. At the mine, attendees can learn to sluice and crevice the river or pan for gold at the flume. The Thermal City gold mine is only two miles away.

The two festivals are within half an hour of each other, making it easy for those who would like to attend both in the same day. There is no entry fee for either festival, and as participants in past Gold Festivals, we can attest that it will be a fun day for all.

 

 

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This year’s Donut Festival in Marion is in the books and one we’ve decided we want to attend each year. This was a relatively small festival last year, but this year the organizers extended the festival area, and we were amazed at the number of people attending. We had a fantastic time meeting and talking to readers–both old and new–, signing books, listening to some really great music, seeing all the exhibits and eating some delicious food including scrumptious ice cream. And, of course, there was the lovely drive to and from Marion. You just can’t beat spring in the western North Carolina mountains!

It was wonderful to see our dear friend and awesome reader, Carole Markum, and to meet another of our beloved readers, Rita Jones. We also had the good fortune to meet the great-great-great (I think I got that right) granddaughter of Keith and Malinda Blalock, whose story we hope to include in the next Brown Mountain Lights book (don’t know why neither of us thought to get her name!). And finally, we really enjoyed chatting with readers who came just to see us and/or check to see if we had a new book this year. Thanks to all of you for your interest and support. You inspire us in so many ways and we are so blessed!

Next up, Pioneer Day in Old Fort, this Saturday, May 28, from 10 – 4. We’d love to see you if you’re in the area.

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We had a wonderful time last Saturday at the inaugural Mossy Creek Arts Festival in Jefferson City, TN near the beautiful campus of Carson-Newman College. It was a beautiful spring day and the drive to and from Jefferson City was gorgeous with dogwoods and redbuds blooming. Once we got off the interstate, the drive into town with the numerous blooming azaleas was nothing short of glorious.

Beyond all that beauty, we sold and signed a lot of books and met a bunch of new readers, including several politicians (election day’s coming up!).  The reception we received from the festival facilitators was heartwarming and we were made to feel more than welcome. We also received quite a few invitations to participate in future events in the area. I took notes but most of them look like chicken scratches. Let’s see if I can decipher them:

A lady stopped by who knew the head librarian at the Carson-Newman College Library. She took one of our cards with her to pass along because she said she was sure they’d be interested in having the books.

String art by the kids

The Mayor of New Market, TN introduced himself and invited us to participate in his city’s festival in September, which we look forward to.

Several people stopped by to invite us to participate in Jefferson City’s Old Timer’s Day in October which, from what we understand, is a really fun festival.

We were thrilled to meet Robert Tucker, candidate for Mayor of Jefferson City, who told us his son Kegan was required to read Whistling Woman in his history class at Jefferson County High School. He was kind enough to ask for a photo of us with him, with me holding the book.

Though it was the smallest festival we’ve ever attended, for us, it was a wonderful, fun day and we’re looking forward to adding the Mossy Creek Arts Festival to our permanent calendar of events.

Next up, the Donut Festival in Marion, NC on Saturday, April 21st. It’s a fun festival with lots to do and see and we’re really looking forward to it. We really enjoyed it last year and know we will this year as well.

 

We had a great time at the 2nd Annual Carolina Donut Festival this past Saturday, May 20th, in Marion, NC, hosted by Mr. Bob’s Donuts. (If you haven’t tried their donuts, you really should – absolutely the best we’ve ever tasted.) Marion’s beautiful downtown Main Street was lined with vendor booths and thousands of attendees throughout the day. Although the temperature got hot as the day went on (upper 80s), we were blessed with a cool mountain breeze and a portable air conditioner built by Christy’s husband Steve out of a cooler and batteries. As always, we had fun meeting and visiting with readers but an added bonus was receiving invitations from three different organizations to do future presentations.

So far, we’ve met quite a few people who have seen the Brown Mountain lights, two of whom said the ones they saw were amber in color, and one man, a historian, telling us they were different colors. We really love the mystery surrounding these lights and are fascinated hearing these stories, and hope to hear more as we go along, especially when we get to the Morganton Historical Festival this fall.

A bit of history about Marion:  It was founded in 1844 and named in honor of Brigadier General Francis Marion, an American Revolutionary War hero whose flare for guerrilla warfare earned him the nickname “Swamp Fox”.  It’s motto is “Where Main Street meets the mountains” and that couldn’t be more apt. It’s a gorgeous town, surrounded by green mountains and blue sky.

donutfestival7Next up: The Gold Festival in Old Fort, NC, on Saturday, June 3rd. Come join us for what promises to be a fun event. They’re even going to be panning for gold in the mountain stream behind the Gateway Museum!  panning for gold

We’ve had a pretty eventful past week. On Saturday, the 29th of April, we participated in the Pioneer Day Festival in Old Fort, North Carolina. Although the temperature reached into the 80s, it was a breezy day which made it seem cooler and was very comfortable. RoAnn Bishop, the museum director and event coordinator, placed us in the same spot we had last year, behind one of the log cabins on the museum property, across from the amphitheater where live bands performed throughout the day, and within eyesight of the beautiful burbling creek. A local radio station came by for an interview which prompted several people who knew Bessie and Fletch, and a couple who knew our dad, to come by and introduce themselves. This is one of our favorite festivals due the Civil War reenactments, music, food, friendly attendees and festival staff, and a gorgeous view. There was even mining for gold in the creek. But best of all, spending time with readers old and new. We were thrilled to receive invitations to several other festivals in North Carolina which we plan to attend. If you haven’t visited Old Fort, I’d recommend a trip. Although it’s a small town, it’s filled with history and beautiful views, and is one of the most charming towns we’ve visited.

On Tuesday, May 2nd, we were invited to the Noon Book Club at the Morristown-Hamblen Library in Morristown, Tennessee to speak about the first book in our Appalachian Journey series, Whistling Woman. (The picture on the left is the  room where we met. All the rest are of Frontier Day in Old Fort,) The ladies couldn’t have been nicer or more inspiring to us and we enjoyed spending time with them and eating the delicious home-made dishes they prepared for the covered-dish luncheon. We received great feedback, which means more to us than we can express, along with interest in the remaining books in the series and our new Brown Mountain Lights series. An added bonus: the library wanted the books for their system and invited us to a book signing in August which we’re looking forward to.

Next up: a presentation at the Old Fort Branch Library on Thursday, May 11th at 5:30, where we’ll talk about our Appalachian Journey series. Ashley Salazar, branch head of the library, stopped by our booth and told us there’s been much excitement about our presentation with several asking if they can share stories with us. We’re really thrilled about that. Who knows, maybe it will lead to a future book…

And on Saturday, May 20th, we’ve been invited to the Donut Festival in Marion, NC, sponsored by Mr. Bob’s Donuts. If you haven’t tried them, you’re missing out on something: they’re delicious. There will be over 100 vendors, including donut makers, regional artisans and nonprofit organizations. The festival will feature a 5K dash, car raffle, donut pageant and donut eating contest. Best of all, the proceeds go toward supplies for the local schools. This will be our first time at this festival and we expect to have a great time there. If you’re in the area, we hope you’ll stop by!

 

Seeking the Brown Mountain Lights

Through the Brown Mountain Lightss

Brown Mountain Lights Book 1

Wise Woman

Appalachian Journey Book 4

Beloved Woman

Appalachian Journey Book 3

Moonfixer

Appalachian Journey Book 2

Whistling Woman

Appalachian Journey Book 1

Madchen, die pfeifen

Whistling Woman (German)

Les deces arrivant toujours par trois

Whistling Woman (French)

Christy Tillery French Cynthia Tillery Hodges

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