The Macon County Quilt Trail will hold its first annual “Airing of the Quilts” on May 7, Mother’s Day weekend. Downtown merchants and Quilt Trail block owners have been asked to “air” quilts on the weekend of the event by hanging them on porches, benches, fences or other visible locations outside.
Deb Heatherly, owner of Deb’s Cats & Quilts, explained that the airing of quilts and bed linings done traditionally during spring cleanings has recently been given new significance in several small communities around the country which now hold festival-type events for the colorful quilt airings. The largest airing of the quilts festival takes place in Sisters, Ore., each July. In 2010, the Sisters festival celebrated its 35th year, attracting more than 26,000 visitors.
The Quilt Trail committee selected Mother’s Day weekend because of the associations between quilts and the mothers and grandmothers who have commonly made them and passed the tradition down through the generations. The organization also plans to decorate the clock tower and other areas of downtown Franklin with quilts.
At a recent meeting of the Franklin/Nantahala Tourism Development Commission (TDC), members voted to approve a grant request of $1,500 for the event as well as two others – one for the Third Annual April Fools Trail Days festival ($3,500) and another for the Ruby Ride & Run ($3,000), also in its third year.
Heatherly said the grant funds from the TDC, combined with a $1,500 grant approved by the Franklin Tourism Development Authority (TDA) in January, will be used to properly advertise the event using flyers, signs, and newspaper and radio advertising. For more information, go to http://www.maconcountyquilttrail.org/ or call (828)349-8912.
April Fools Trail Days Festival
The Third Annual April Fools Trail Days Festival, hosted by the Franklin Main Street Program on April 1 and 2, will celebrate the beginning of the “thru-hiking” season on the Appalachian Trail. The festival, held every year in conjunction with Ron Haven’s Hiker Bash at the Sapphire Inn, is moving downtown this year as organizers feel the event has outgrown Big Bear Park where it was held in the past.
In addition to food and gear vendors, organization booths, and a line up of noted speakers, this year will see more entertainment, including the bluegrass outfit Buncombe Turnpike. Speakers at the event will include Dr. Warren Doyle who has hiked more than 34,000 miles on the trail, completing the full length a record 16 times. Jennifer Phar Davis, who holds the women’s record for the fastest thru-hike, is also scheduled to speak.
In 2010, Franklin received the Appalachian Trail Community designation through the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Franklin’s annual Trail Days festival was one of the reasons the town was able to receive the designation. This year the event is being sponsored by Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine. The TDC approved a grant of $3,500 to the Franklin Main Street Program to help with advertising and maintenance of the festival website www.aprilfoolstraildays.com/. The TDA has also contributed $3,000 in funds for the event.
Ruby Ride & Run
Franklin Daybreak Rotary Club is hosting the Third Annual Ruby Ride & Run on Saturday, May 21. The Ride & Run is a non-profit fundraiser for various charities in the area. In 2010, the event generated $2,500 which went to “Stop Hunger Now,” an international organization focused on world hunger. The year before, $2,700 was raised for the Macon County Child Services Coordination Department. This year’s proceeds will again go to Stop Hunger Now.
The bicycle race, with 24-, 63-, and 100-mile routes, is a challenging course that weaves its way through various terrain in Macon County. The 5k and 10k foot-races will be held on the Little Tennessee Greenway. Billi Black, one of the event’s organizers, noted that the Ride & Run attracts participants from Knoxville, Asheville, Atlanta, Greenville, Florida and numerous other areas of the country. Last year, 93 runners and 75 cyclists participated in the event.
Looking to increase participation through more extensive advertising, Franklin Daybreak Rotary asked for $3,000 from the TDC this year, up from $2,000 in 2010. The total budget of the event for the year is estimated at $4,850. For more information about the Ruby Ride & Run, go to www.therubyride.com/.
The TDC’s mission is to support and promote events and activities that enhance travel and tourism in the Franklin and Nantahala area.