Mountain Empire Community College to Host 45th Annual Home Craft Days Festival  

hcd-2016-2Big Stone Gap, VAMountain Empire Community College will once again welcome thousands of visitors to the campus this fall for the 45th Annual Home Craft Days Festival held Oct. 14-16.

Celebrating the rich music, culture, and artistry of Southwest Virginia, the Home Craft Days Festival features demonstrations of weaving, pottery making, grist milling, wood crafting, basket weaving, broom making, quilting, tatting and much more.

This year’s festival is dedicated to long-time festival organizer and MECC Dean of Workforce Development, Sue Ella Boatright-Wells. A free tribute concert in her honor will be held Friday night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Phillips-Taylor Hall Goodloe Center. Performers include Dan and Robin Kessinger, Bill and the Belles, Dale Jett and Hello Stranger, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, and Kelsey Rae Copeland.

According to festival music coordinator Tommy Bledsoe, “The 45th annual festival is dedicated to Sue Ella Boatright-Wells, who helped the Home Craft Days Festival become one of the best celebrations of traditional arts, crafts and music in the mountains. She worked so hard to respect the traditions of the elders and to make a way for the youth to become invested in their culture and traditions. This festival is her gift to the local community and a promise for the future of Appalachian music and culture.”

Craft and food vendors will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday’s music schedule includes featured performers: Todd Meade, Debbie Adams, Beth Bailey/Osborne Family Band; Scott County and Wise County JAM program; Patti and Glenn Roberts; Sycamore Hollow; Bill McCall & Southern Country; Lee Sexton and Son; Bill and the Belles, Center Stage Cloggers; Kelsey Rae; Dale Jett & Hello Stranger; Scott County Boys; White Top Mountain Band; Empty Bottle String; Town Branch Bluegrass Band; Miss Ellie’s String Band; New Harvest Brothers; Angelyn DeBord; Richard Phillips, Tommy Clements, and Roger Bullock; Poor Valley Girls; Buttermilk Girls; High Test Grass; Jimmy and Ada McCown; New Circle Bluegrass; Sparky and Rhonda Rucker.

Sunday’s music schedule includes: Skin and Bonz; The Childress Girls; Rich Kirby and Nate Polly; Pam Randolph & Doug Dorschug; T.V. Barnett and his Roan Mountain Moonshiners; Center Stage Cloggers; Fred O’Quinn and the Bluegrass Travelers; Smith Family Singers; The Sheets Family Band; Crooked Road Ramblers; Jack Wright and Roger Hall; Ben’s Boys; Poplar Hill Reunion; Ben’s Boys; Brandon Maggard; Anndrena Belcher; Wolfe Brothers; Corbin Hayslett; Ron Short & the Possum Playboys and Nancy and Bill Smith.

Admission is FREE to all the festival events. MECC is located on US Route 23 just south of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Parking and shuttles for the festival will be offered at five locations in Big Stone Gap. Shuttle rides are $1 per person at boarding. Locations include:

  • Union High School (formerly Powell Valley High School) – Front Parking Lot
  • Curbside, Wood Ave, in Front of Food City
  • Curbside, Municipal Parking Lot behind Post Office/Federal Building
  • Country Inn
  • Comfort Inn

For more information on the event, including a detailed schedule of vendors and musicians, visit the Home Craft Days website at