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October 5 - October 8
Strains of German oom-pah music and the tempting aroma of schnitzel and bratwurst are coming to Canton’s Sorrells Park for PLOTT-TOBER FEST, October 5-8.
Sponsored by the Haywood County Historical & Genealogical Society (HCH&GS) in partnership with the Canton Historical Museum and the Town of Canton, PLOTT-TOBER FEST is a four-day festival celebrating the Plott hound, North Carolina’s state dog, and the rich German heritage of Haywood County.
In addition to Plott hound competitions and a UKC sanctioned bench show, the festival will feature German cultural events, children’s activities, Bavarian cuisine, and musical entertainment including a traditional oom-pah band. Thursday and Sunday events are free of charge, Friday and Saturday are ticketed events, and all school-aged children are admitted free throughout the entire festival.
“It’s a natural fit to combine celebrating the region’s German settlers with the excitement of Plott hound competitions because this incredible dog also has German ancestry dating back to the early 1700s before becoming a unique breed right here in Haywood County,” said June Smathers-Jolley, board member of the HCH&GS.
The festival begins Thursday, October 5 at 3:00 p.m. with opening remarks from the mayors of Canton, Clyde, Maggie Valley, and Waynesville as well as Bob Plott, author and expert on the Plott hound. The Milltown Farmers Market, held each week at Sorrells Park, will run from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m. while the Steubenville Tootlers, a traditional German oom-pah band, perform on the festival main stage. The Haus Heidleberg food truck will serve Bavarian cuisine, and BearWaters Brewery will premier their craft beer in honor of the event, Dutch Cove Hefeweisen.
Friday is History Day and features German genealogical assistance, historical accounts of German families who settled the area, and the history of the Plott hound. More German music and cuisine will be on site, and a shuttle service will run to the Museum of Haywood County History housed in the famous Shook-Smathers House in Clyde which was built and later owned by two prominent Haywood County German families. Children’s activities and regional acoustic music acts performing Appalachian and bluegrass music begin in the afternoon and run through the evening.
The sounds of baying Plott hounds will make it easy to find Sorrells Park Saturday morning when the competitions and bench show begin. Children’s events in the KidsFest Tent will run from 1:00 until 5:00 p.m. and include story telling of traditional German folk tales, make and take pioneer crafts, German children’s games, and activities that teach Pennsylvania Dutch language and history. KidsFest concludes with an old-timey corn shucking contest. Living history demonstrations will also run throughout the day and feature blacksmithing, hide tanning, and flintlock rifles. Singer-songwriters Richard Hurley and Daniel Johnston; the J Creek Cloggers; and a bluegrass all-stars band of Darren Nicholson, Reed Jones, Audie Blaylock, and Lincoln Hensley will take to the main stage from afternoon until closing.
On Sunday, the harmonies of shaped-note singing will ring throughout the Dutch Cove community south of Canton at the historic Morning Star United Methodist Church, once a German Lutheran church established by early settlers in 1825. Singers will gather from around Western North Carolina to sing in the do, re, me style as they have done for the last 133 years at the church. Under the direction of June Smathers Jolley, daughter of the late legendary shaped-note singing master, Quay Smathers, audience members are welcome to sing along with experienced shaped-note singers. The singing will begin at 1:30 p.m.
For more information about the festival schedule and admission visit https://www.nchchgs.org/plott-tober-fest/plott-tober-fest/