- Last fall, Steve Geddes of New Hampshire made national news for growing the biggest pumpkin in America. His record-cracking curcubit weighed in at 2,528 pounds.
- The NC Mountain State Fair, held Sept. 6-15, includes a gigantic- pumpkin contest. To our knowledge, no world records have been set recently.
- But in addition to its agricultural and horticultural competitions, the Mountain State Fair includes hundreds of chances for makers to show off their talents, including categories in quilting, painting, photography, woodcarving, and recycled art.
- Dispensing thousands of dollars in award premiums each year in youth, adult, professional, and amateur categories, the Fair is essentially the year’s biggest juried art show for locals only. (The Asheville Quilt Show, also held this month, dispatches $10,000, with competitors coming from across the country.)
- The Fair is the only local venue we know of that artistically recognizes Lego sculptures and shoebox dioramas.
- Shoebox dioramas are big fun, and, we suspect, monumentally under-appreciated as a medium.
- Speaking of big fun, if you need to take a break from the midway, consider the WNC Bigfoot Festival, happening in downtown Marion on Sept. 14. Sasquatch might seem like a Northwestern phenomenon, but a sighting at local Lake James has forever changed the game.
- Though it’s only in its second year, the local Bigfoot Festival is already, well, the biggest event of its kind in North America. (Organizer John Bruner, a locally based but nationally recognized expert in the field, has a lot to do with that.)
- Bigfoot prints have been recorded up to 24 inches long. (The ten biggest human footprints, according to a poll on sportscasting.com, belong to NBA players and only range between 12 and 18 inches long, or a size 18-22 in men’s shoes.)
- Metal fabricators Turtle Laboratories of Marion create special Bigfoot keychains for the event, and the artisans at Sweet Betsy Farm, also of Marion, make a special run of “Bigfoot Bait” soap. This is microlocal making with mammoth appeal.
The North Carolina Mountain State Fair runs Sept. 6-15 at the WNC Agricultural Center (1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher, wncagcenter.org). The WNC Bigfoot Festival happens Saturday, Sept. 14, 10am-3pm in downtown Marion; see the event’s Facebook page for more information. The Asheville Quilt Show, also at WNC Agricultural Center, is Sept. 27-29 (ashevillequiltguild.org).
— M.M. Bianchi