The 2013 Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Biennial Conference organizers invite the public to attend live music, dancing, presentations about hiking trails, and a Cherokee storyteller from Sunday, July 21 to Thursday, July 25 at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. Events each evening begin at 8 p.m. Nightly tickets are $7, and children under 12 are admitted free.
Sunday, July 21, “Called Again” author, Jennifer Pharr Davis, who holds the record for speed hiking the estimated 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail will talk about her experiences during the 46- day journey, marked by teamwork, positive attitude, and endurance. A contra dance is scheduled concurrently in the Reid Gym. Delia Clark of Vermont is calling the dance with music performed by Asheville-based band Appalachian Storm.
On Monday, July 22, author Danny Bernstein will present a slide show of her 1,000-mile hike of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Her presentation features the beauty, vibrancy, and history of this end-to-end route, captured in her book, “The Mountains-to-Sea Trail Across North Carolina.” Also on Monday, string band Southern Exposure will play Appalachian mountain music, influenced by Celtic, Caribbean, and American cultures.
Buncombe Turnpike will play traditional and contemporary bluegrass on Tuesday, July 23. Jim Kern, Sr., founder of the Florida Trail, the Florida Trail Association, the American Hiking Society, and Big City Mountaineers is also scheduled to talk about essential elements for founding a successful outdoor non-profit.
Wednesday, July 24, Pleasure Chest, named for a 1950s era cooler, will play high energy rock ‘n roll blues with some honkytonk soul, and Darcy Douglas will present a slideshow about the 288-mile Benton MacKaye Trail that runs from north Georgia to Davenport Gap at the north side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Eddie Swimmer, an accomplished Cherokee dancer, storyteller, and public speaker will present an evening of entertainment on Thursday, July 25.
Unless otherwise noted, all presentations will be held in the Forsyth Auditorium and musical performances will be held in the Grand Room of Hinds University Center.
The full schedule of the 2013 A.T. Biennial Conference, July 19-26, includes 137 organized hikes, 70 workshops, and excursions to some of the region’s best activities. Registration is open for one-day, weekend, or week-long admittance. Admission to the entire week’s evening events is $15 with conference registration.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. The A.T. is a unit of the National Park System, stretching from Georgia to Maine, at approximately 2,180 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Volunteers typically donate more than 220,000 hours of their time doing trail-related work each year, and about 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.
For more information on the Biennial Conference or to register, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/2013biennial