40 years old, Sourwood Festival is as sweet as ever

Paul Clark

The 40th edition of Black Mountain’s bodacious Sourwood Festival happens Saturday and Sunday, and it promises to be as great an event as it ever was.

The alcohol-free, pet-friendly event sponsored by the Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce is a street fair, crafts show, dance party and children’s carnival that features rides that include a Ferris wheel, as well as a rock wall, inflatables and other attractions.

The two-day affair is preceded Friday, Aug. 11 with the annual Sourwood Idol contest. The 7 p.m. sing-off is free to nonprofessional individual singers of all ages. The singers compete for trophies and cash, while the audience is treated to all manner of talent and enthusiasm. Organizers have added a $50 prize for the winner in the children’s division (12 and under) this year.

Entertainment throughout the festival this year includes the Lake Lure Cloggers, the soul band Gotcha Groove, jazz by local resident Michael Jefry Stevens and classic rock by the Cat Daddy All Stars. And that’s just Saturday (and it’s not a complete list of all the artists scheduled). On Sunday, Chad Rae plays some blues on a cigar box guitar, Appalachian Deep Band performs bluegrass and country and the Valley Jam Locals play a variety of music to close (but there’s plenty more music in between).

Many people come every year for a little pre-season Christmas shopping. Artists and craftsmakers line the streets with tents that display their work. You just might find a handmade toy to the tyke in your life, or a bracelet that your niece would love to have.

There will be more room for rides at this year's Sourwood Festival, organizers say.

A festival just isn’t a festival without great food, and here Sourwood excels. Oakie Dokie’s of Swannanoa will be serving up barbecue, and Foothills Farm will have a booth on Black Mountain Avenue. Old Depot Association and Gallery will be selling hot dogs and hamburgers, and True Holiness Fellowship will have its fried pies (and jellies and jams) again this year.

In the children’s area will be a rest tent for new mothers and diaper changing stations for babies. Edd Buchanan of Black Mountain will be one of a half dozen honey vendors.

“You never know who much sourwood honey there will be (each season), but this year looks like a pretty good year,” said Bob McMurray, executive director of the Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce.

There will be a free shuttle from the Ingle’s parking lot to Suntrust Bank parking lot throughout the festival hours.

Organizers have dedicated this year’s festival to the late Peggy Buckner. An organizer herself for 38 of the festival’s 40 years, she and others began working on Sourwood in February every year.

Sourwood Festival

When: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 12, 9 a.m-5 p.m. Aug. 13

Where: Downtown Black Mountain

Cost: Free