A mountain cultural celebration called “Our Story,” sponsored by Everything Has a Story at Shatley Springs Inn and Restaurant, showcased local artisans for a day of fun on Saturday.
“The point of the event is to share our mountain culture, reminisce about times gone by, and just to entertain our guests,” said Talara Parrish, operator of Everything Has a Story.
This was also an opportunity to unveil the “Winding Through Ashe Quilt,” which has been a summer long effort to raise money for the upstairs renovations of the Ashe County 1904 Courthouse Museum. This quilt will be the centerpiece of a raffle to be held Oct. 27 at Shatley Springs.
Earlier this year, local residents were invited to submit a piece of fabric that brought to mind a special memory of an Ashe County person, place or experience, along with a story of that memory.
Parrish volunteered her time to piece these memories together into a one of a kind “crazy” quilt. Along with the quilt, Carolyn Bosely has compiled a scrapbook that includes different pieces of the quilt, along with a story and any picture that may have been included.
“This is a good way to get the community involved in the restoration effort,” Parrish said. “Each ticket is only one dollar, and someone will walk away with a one of a kind quilt.”
Raffle tickets are available at the Museum of Ashe County History in Jefferson and at Everything Has a Story located at Shatley Springs in Crumpler.
Ramona Renfroe, director of the museum, said over 1,000 tickets have already been sold and she is hopeful that ticket sales will total 2,000 before the raffle.
“As of right now, Jefferson doesn’t have a venue for events, and we would like to see the upstairs of our museum fill that void,” said Renfroe.
Renfroe went on to express the significance of the old courthouse. “So many important things happened in the courthouse, good and bad, to shape the history of the county,” she said.
The “Our Story” heritage festival was also an opportunity for visitors to see how artisans work on their trade. Some of the crafts on display included knife making, blacksmithing, quilting, fiber arts, paper arts, jewelry and apple butter making.
All of the artisans displaying their talents during the festival were venders for the Everything Has a Story shop at Shatley Springs.
This unique store promotes local artisans by setting some firm rules for the merchandise they offer. The first rule is that everything in the store must be handmade. Also, vendors must be born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the items need to result from a family trade, and the items need to be reminiscent of the vendor’s childhood.
According to Parrish, Everything Has a Story operates on a consignment basis. Parrish also said 83 different venders have work in the store, with the youngest vendor being nine and the oldest vendor being 90.
Parrish says the store sees between 1,500 and 3,000 customers every week, meaning merchandise is being bought quickly.
“Our vendors are worn out,” she said. “It’s not like we can just call up a manufacturer to get new merchandise.”
Everything Has a Story employee Nancy Weaver said, “This store is an awesome service for folks in the high country.”
According to Parrish, this festival was put together in a time span of only two weeks.
“We hope to make this an annual event,” she said. “If we have it again next year, we will be able to make the heritage festival even better.”