Bakersville NC “Home of the Rhododendron Festival”
Town of Bakersville North Carolina
The town of Bakersville North Carolina is the county seat of Mitchell County and the gateway to Roan Mountain, the world’s largest rhododendron garden. Enjoy small town life amidst world renowned artists, studio tours, a beautiful creek walk with native trout and more. Bakersville is well known for its picturesque landscapes, abundant recreational rivers, and creeks like the Toe River, South Toe River and Cane Creek. Bakersville is also home to the annual North Carolina Rhododendron Festival every June. Many artists and craftsmen travel to or live in Bakersville to display their works of art in town art studios, galleries and the Penland School of crafts.
History of Bakersville NC
Founded in the mid 1800’s, and incorporated in 1870, our town is noted for its history and picturesque beauty. Bakersville offers abundant outdoor recreation, an enjoyable and relaxed lifestyle, a temperate climate and a supportive community. David D. Baker, a son of David, was a large land owner, innkeeper, merchant and political leader until about 1859, when he and his family migrated to the far west. In January 1857, an adventurer who had stopped with “Colonel” David described the town as one of “some mark.” It is probable that Baker’s plantation became known as Bakersville in the 1840’s; certainly by 1852, for in this year the court records of Yancey County refer definitely to the town of Bakersville
The surrounding territory including the Little Rock Creek area was known in the tax records up to 1860 as the Cane Creek Company. Bakersville has experienced all types of economic weather, fair and foul. Shut off from markets of the southeast during and after the Civil War, the residents found that living was tough here, as it was elsewhere in the isolated sections of the Appalachian Mountains.
However, in the 1870’s uses for mica were discovered, and Bakersville lay midway between the Hawk, Clarissa and Stagger Weed deposits and the Sink Hole deposits at Bandana.
In 1901 weather brought a terrible disaster, remembered as the “May Flood.” Nearly half the town’s dwellings and business establishments were swept away. Disaster struck again in 1923 when much of the town burned. Again the town rallied and became strong enough to survive the Great Depression of the thirties. Bakersville enjoyed a surge in building and economic prosperity during the middle 1950’s. Much of the town was rebuilt during that era. However, disaster struck again in January, 1998 when Cane Creek swelled by torrential rains brought on by El Nino destroyed many roads, homes and businesses, resulting in the declaration of Bakersville as a disaster area and eligible for Federal funds to assist in rebuilding and in preparing the terrain to avoid another such disaster.
The Rhododendron Festival, Inc, (RFI) was born out of the ashes of other attempts to bring the residents of Bakersville and the area into a common action and goal. With the success of the first Christmas Parade and the first street festival citizens soon realized that a few could do a lot. As a result, the Rhododendron Festival Committee was formed and now has upwards of forty members. A mission was identified and the committee began its work. With the timely involvement of the Small Towns Project and HandMade in America, Bakersville has leaped to the forefront in Western North Carolina small towns. The RFI, through its many efforts with the town of Bakersville and HandMade in America has been responsible for three quarters of a million dollars in grants. These efforts have brought new businesses, new jobs, a clean-up campaign, and a renewed sense of pride to “our town.
–NC Rhododendron Pageant at Bowman Middle School,Doors open both nights at 6pm with pageant beginning at 7pm. Cost: $8/adult and $5/child. A special two-night discount pass will be available for $13/adults and $8/child.
–Rhodondendron Car Show, Bowman Middle School football field. 10am – 3pm. Vehicle registration: $20.00. A small admission fee will be charged for spectators. Awards include: Trophies for Top 50, Best of Show and Peoples Choice. Lots of Golden Oldies music and family fun!
Rhododendron Street Fair, Saturday, June 16: on the Creekwalk in Bakersville from 9am to 4pm. Arts, crafts and food vendors, live entertainment, ducky derby.Free admission.
–Ducky Derby, Saturday, June 16, along the Creek Walk. Watch and cheer on your own as thousands of ducks race down Cane Creek in this Festival fundraiser that is a real kid-favorite event! Tickets are available from any Festival Committee Member during the Street Fair. Quack!
–Street Dance, Friday and Saturday Nights, June 15 & 16: Rhododendron Square Dance on the street! Dance will be on main street in Bakersville, in front of United Community Bank. Live music will be provided by The Wisemans. Time: 8pm – 12am; Admission: $5. Concessions will be sold by Bakersville Ruritan.
-Golf Tournament Grassy Creek Golf Club, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Grassy Creek Golf and Country Club . Call 828-765-7436 for information.
–Rhododendron 10K Run, Race begins at Gouge School in Bakersville. Entry begins at 7:30am
Bakersville Creek Walk Arts Festival
Bakersville Creek Walk festival offers nearly 50 exhibitors of glass, jewelry, pottery, paintings, furniture, fiber, woodcraft and sculpture. The Bakersville Creek Walk Arts Festival has become known for showcasing some of the finest arts and crafts to be found in the Southeast.
The Festival, which is open to the public and free of charge, takes place along the banks of Cane Creek, which winds through the center of this beautiful and historic small town. It has become a local favorite with artists and visitors alike; many returning year after year. Proceeds from past festivals have addressed local needs such as stocking food banks, providing heating subsidies for the elderly and town beautification projects.
Bakersville is just over an hour away from either Asheville, Boone or Johnson City,TN. Penland School of Crafts, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Spruce Pine and Burnsville are all within 20 minutes of Bakersville and provide plenty of activities to see or do during the weekend.
Come experience our local music, food, atmosphere and more! If you haven’t been to Bakersville lately, you have missed the best kept secret in western North Carolina.
Toe River Arts Council
The Toe River Arts Council (TRAC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1976 to promote the arts in Mitchell and Yancey Counties. Our numerous community programs involve many of the over 33,000 citizens of Mitchell and Yancey Counties, as well as promote the area for our tourist trade. Support for local groups, artists, and students is provided by grants and stipends generated by our staff at Toe River Arts Council. Toe River Arts Council is governed by a bi-county board with offices above the Burnsville Gallery, a gift shop and exhibition space. The Spruce Pine Gallery offers a gift shop and large exhibition/reception space. Our exhibitions are educational, entertaining, are of the highest quality and represent local and outside artists and craftspersons including traditional and contemporary work.Toe River Arts Council sponsors the Toe River Studio Tour twice a year on the second weekend in June, the first weekend in December. Over 100 studios and galleries are represented in this free, self-guided tour. Paint Out, held one day in the spring, brings together 2-dimensional artist who participate in a day of painting in and around Burnsville. Toe River Arts Council sponsors the Toe River Chamber Ensemble, a group of 20-25 volunteer musicians, who meet weekly to rehearse, then perform concerts throughout the year in schools and local churches. The second Friday of the month is reserved for Java Jam, an evening of music and dancing at the Burnsville Town Center. Musicians are invited, home-baked desserts provided and coffee donated by the local coffee shop. Music in the Mountains Folk Festival, dedicated to the “preservation of mountain music and culture” happens in the fall with old time string bands, ballad singers, clogging, storytelling and blue grass. Foremost in Toe River Arts Council’s focus is education and communication in the arts.
Crimson Laurel Gallery
The Crimson Laurel Gallery is located in Bakersville, NC, offers one of the largest selections of contemporary studio ceramics in the country. The vast and selective scope of work represented in the gallery is inspiring both to enthusiasts and artists alike. In business since 2002, Crimson Laurel Gallery has the largest selection of studio ceramics in Western North Carolina, fine jewelry, hand crafted furniture, glass, sculpture, and paintings round out the collection, culminating in an aesthetic unique to Bakersville and beyond. The gallery also includes a working jewelry studio, exhibition hall, and select antiques. Special exhibits and lectures are held throughout the year. Owners John Lara and David Trophia are working artists committed to educating customers about the artists they represent and how the work is made. The artists represented here have been recognized locally and nationally, from Bakersville Creek Walk Best in Show to the Smithsonian Collection. All are working artists, many of whom teach and have been featured in magazines nationally and abroad. Their unique vision is evident in the careful design of displays, the preservation of the historic Blevins Building, and welcoming nature of the space. From its origins at the turn of the last century, the Blevins building has served as a warehouse, silent movie theater, billiard hall, tobacco shop, bowling alley, sandwich shop, and general store and particular residents of Mitchell County can even recall two days when it became legal to sell alcohol at the store.
During 15 months of renovations in 2006-07, all efforts were made to retain the historic imperfections of the building. The original heart pine floors, tongue and groove ceiling, and walls are still in tact and wormy chestnut was salvaged from the building’s exterior for use throughout the renovations. The square front on the face of the building is close to the original design and the original entrance and porch ceiling have been preserved. Today the Blevins Building serves as the flagship of a revitalized and growing art, craft and antiques community in Bakersville and Mitchell County. Crimson Laurel Gallery is a place to ask questions, have fun, and be inspired.
Penland School of Crafts
Penland School of Crafts is a national center for craft education dedicated to helping people live creative lives. The Penland School is world-renowned for its one-of-a-kind instruction. Penland hosts teachers from colleges, universities and studio artists each year to continue its commitment to craft art education. Penland’s rustic, idyllic and secluded setting provides the perfect setting for artists to renew, revive and refine their skills. Penland School of Crafts offers spring, summer and fall classes in the medias of books & paper, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking, textiles and wood. One and two week classes are offered in the summer and eight week concentration classes are offered in the spring and fall. Whether you are 19 or 90, beginner or professional artist, Penland School welcomes all to their classes.
Troutacular Trout Festival Bakersville
A tale of two cities, well actually two towns. Two Mitchell County towns are joining together to host a trout festival simultaneously in both towns on the same day. Spruce Pine and Bakersville, the two largest towns in Mitchell County will host Troutacular! a Mountain Heritage Trout Cities festival on Saturday, June 6, 2009 .Troutacular will feature events in both towns beginning the morning of June 6th with fishing tournaments. Bakersville will begin their Troutacular festivities at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning with the kickoff of their fishing tournament on Cane Creek.
The fishing tournament is open to kids under 16 years of age with prizes including a Lifetime Fishing Membership to NC Fish and Wildlife. Kids will also enjoy making fun and unique crafts such as Giant popping bug lures, clay and bead fish and more.
Competitions will include casting competitions, orienteering competitions and paint ball fishing in a barrel. There will be a free hamburger lunch for kids and the first 50 kids in attendance will receive a Troutacular hat. Live music by Back Then begins at 3 p.m. with a fish fry beginning at 5 p.m. Everyone is invited to bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the music and food.