Mountains of Music Homecoming Feastivals

The 2018 Feastival series will offer three opportunities for guests to steep themselves in Southwest Virginia’s best food and music, as well as allowing them to immerse themselves in the culture and ambiance of three special Southwest Virginia communities.

The Crooked Road (TCR), Virginia’s Music Heritage Trail, will soon launch its 4th Annual Mountains of Music Homecoming, an extraordinary nine-day event taking place June 8-16 in over 40 towns and communities across Southwest Virginia.  TCR is working again with Jean Haskell of Appalachian Highlands Consulting and Katie Hoffman of Appalworks, specialists in the design of Appalachian-themed events, to cook up a third series of spectacular events combining food and music called Feastivals.

These celebrations of Appalachian creativity and abundance feature farm-to-table style meals with custom-designed menus. Guests immerse themselves in the region’s heritage and culture while enjoying delicious farm-to-table style meals designed and cooked by notable regional chefs.

Jackie Archer, President of Blue Ridge Beverage, the Feastival Series sponsor, says “The Feastivals are such a great way to highlight the incredibly rich culinary heritage of the region.Appalachian cuisine continues to get so much national and international attention that we are delighted to help showcase it.”

Expect innovative Appalachian meals prepared by some of the region’s most celebrated culinary talents and inspiring performances by talented Crooked Road musicians—each in a unique community setting. The communities will highlight theirlocal food specialties, their history and heritage, and their community vitality.

Each Feastival will offer guests the opportunity to enjoy the work of Southwest Virginia’s best chefs, musicians, and community members and to meet and talk with them about their work.  Event organizers Hoffman and Haskell look forward to this third Feastival series, designed to highlight Southwest Virginia’s abundance of creativity and talent.

“The menus will really tickle a foodie’s fancy,” says Hoffman, “and each Feastival will offer its own specific farm-to-table-plus design.  The chefs have absolutely outdone themselves this year!”   Haskell adds that “every Feastival is created with the help of a community planning team, so each one reflects the personality of its host community through carefully selected menus, music, and stories.”

The overall theme for the 2018 Homecoming is “In the Key of Blue,” calling attention to blue mountains, bluegrass, and the influence of blues music and culture on Appalachian traditions.  The Feastival series also foregrounds African American heritage in Southwest Virginia’s food, music, and community history.

The Feastivals kickoff in Wytheville, Virginia on Saturday, June 9, with a cocktail hour at the Heritage Preservation Center. In keeping with the evening’s theme—“Tastes of Unexpected History,” guests will get acquainted with Wythe County’s long and fascinating story, viewing local historical artifacts and work by local artists.  Dinner follows at the Historic Bolling-Wilson Hotel, just down the block.

Honoring the region’s cultural diversity and its storied past, Chef J. C.Botero will bring Latin twists from his Columbian heritage to traditional Appalachian dishes, such as a delicious collard-and-potato empanada, Botero has chosen a dessert recipe from the files of First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson, a Wytheville native and wife of President Woodrow Wilson.  An after-dinner concert will feature the fabulous Glorylanders of New River Valley, asoul stirring acappella singing ensemble.

On Wednesday, June 13, the Feastival at Breaks Park in Breaks, Virginia, will bring together “Haute Cuisine and High Adventure.”Guests can work up an appetite outdoors birding, hiking, or zip-lining in beautiful, ruggedly scenic Breaks Park.  Or visiting the nearby Ralph Stanley Museum.  Or just relaxing in one of Virginia’s most gorgeous locations, also known as the “Grand Canyon of the South.”

Dinner will allow guests to indulge in the mouthwatering New Appalachian Cuisine of Chef Dale Hawkins, known for his show on West Virginia Public Television, The Appalachian Food Evangelist. Chef Hawkins has designed his menu around a “Hill William Surf and Turf,” featuring mountain-raised trout and Appalachian grass-fed beef. Rounding out the evening with exceptional music will be the Mike Mitchell Trio, who can play the gamut from rousing bluegrass to plaintive ballads to traditional music tinged with jazz.

The Feastival series will conclude on Saturday, June 16 at Draper Mercantile in Draper, Virginia, a lovely village set alongside the New River and the New River Tail.  The theme of “Imagine. Gather. Create” points to this community’s dynamic and successful revitalization.  Chef T. (Torrece Gregoire) has planned a delectable five-course menu highlighting the West African echoes that add flavor and texture to Appalachian food traditions.

Luscious pork will be central to the menu, with surprising twists on sweet potatoes and other dishes. If you watch Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen series on TV, then Chef T may seem familiar. She was the season 14 runner up. Round out this satisfying evening with music by traditional fiddler Erynn Marshall and multi-instrumentalist Carl Jones from Galax, Virginia, who epitomize the vitality of Appalachian music.

All three locations offer lodging, but book now, while rooms are still available.  Other lodging options are available nearby in each area.  All the Feastivals begin at 6:00 p.m.   For tickets and more information, visit the Mountains of Music Homecoming 2018 website at (www.mtnsofmusic.com), click on the Feastivals tab, and purchase tickets through Etix.

The Mountains of Music Homecoming is sponsored by Blue Ridge Beverage, Food City, Appalachian Regional Commission, Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development, Virginia Tourism Corporation, National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Commission for the Arts, Southwest Virginia localities, and many other generous sponsors.