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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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