The Mars Hill-based Cole Mountain Cloggers are a team of sixteen cloggers between the ages of five and fifteen, from Madison, Buncombe, Henderson, and Avery Counties. Led by Jeff Atkins, an alumnus of the Bailey Mountain Cloggers of Mars Hill College, many of the Cole Mountain Cloggers have deep roots in this region’s traditional culture. Three current members, for example, are kin to Bascom Lamar Lunsford.
The team’s motto is “Keeping a Mountain Tradition Thriving!” and to that end they keep up a busy performance schedule. The Cole Mountain Cloggers have danced at the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival, Shindig on the Green, the Smokey Mountain Folk Festival, the Bluff Mountain Festival, Fiddlers Grove, the Asheville Christmas parade, and at the Biltmore Estate and Grove Park Hotel.
At the 2007 North Carolina Mountain State Fair, the team won first place in the Traditional Freestyle Clogging division. A few weeks later they traveled to the State Folk Festival at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh, where they were first-place winners in Traditional Clogging in their age division. Several of the dancers received individual awards in their age divisions as well. As a team, the Cole Mountain Cloggers received the special Smokehouse Appalachian Freestyle Team Award, given yearly to “the dance team of four or more couples whose performance, their selection, and execution of dance figures best exemplifies the Southern Appalachian freestyle clogging routine.”
“We were proud to represent Western Carolina,” Atkins has said, “and the dance that originated at the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival by Sam Queen and the Soco Gap Dancers.”
The Cole Mountain Cloggers are available to perform at festivals, fairs, and other events.