Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

September 12, 2013

First Appalachian Heritage Day set Sept. 21 in Rugby


CROSSVILLE — Historic Rugby, Inc., will host its first Appalachian Heritage Day on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. The family-friendly event will honor the Appalachian families who lived in Rugby prior to English settlers arriving in 1880. The festival will honor Rugby’s Appalachian heritage by having old-time arts and crafts, games, antique shopping, historic presentations and Appalachian fare.

Visitors will witness blacksmith, spinning, quilting and rope and candle making demonstrations at Rugby’s Uffington House. Many demonstrations will offer visitors a chance to try the skill. The event will feature games and crafts for children including an opportunity to create a hand puppet and participate in puppet shows throughout the day. Highlander Bluegrass Band will provide musical entertainment and a historian will present on Melungeons, the native Appalachian people who were of mixed European, sub-Saharan African and Native American ancestry.

Melungeon descendent Druanna Williams Overbay will share period photographs of mountain families, the latest research on Melungeon origins and efforts to establish a Melungeon history center in Vardy, TN. The Melungeons of East Tennessee remain a poorly understood, but important, part of Rugby’s history. Overbay will sign copies of her Melungeon history book, Windows on the Past: The Cultural Heritage of Vardy, available for purchase.

Antique shopping will be available at the street fair and the Shops at Rugby will be open for business offering a variety of antiques, arts and crafts. The Harrow Café will be offering a special event menu for hungry visitors and Historic Rugby will have tours available through the Rugby Visitor Centre. Historic lodging is available for visitors wishing to spend the weekend.

Historic Rugby is a 501(c)(3) membership-based nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of a restored Victorian village founded in 1880 by social reformer and British author Thomas Hughes. The settlement was conceived as a class-free, agricultural community for younger sons of English gentry and others wishing to start a new life in America.

Today, Rugby is a living community and public historic site offering visitors a museum, historic building tours, lodging, stores and a full-service restaurant. Twenty original historic building still stand, nestled between the Big South Fork National Recreation Area and the Rugby State Natural Area. Historic Rugby has been open to the public since 1966 and is nationally recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.