Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Cherokee Fair

Posted October 2, 2006

I was five years old when I made my first trip to Cherokee with my parents. It was there I received one of the most cherished gifts of my childhood. It was given to me in a dimly lit room of a museum. I will never forget the voice reverberating in the cavernous room. I remember the rhythm of his speech, the cadence and the strong dialect. Moses Owl autographed a bow and arrow set for me. The Cherokee leader made a powerful impression on me that day. He spoke of honor, pride, history and fate. Moses Owl is long gone but the traditions he spoke about with me continue this week with the 94th Annual Cherokee Fair. You will find authentic Cherokee artists displaying their wares. The event which begins tomorrow is billed as "FIVE GREAT DAYS of rides, games, arts, crafts, fireworks and entertainment." Personally, I get a little turned off by some of the gaudy qualities of Cherokee consumerism. I feel the same about Gatlinburg, Cherokee’s tourist town bookend on the other side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you are going to Cherokee I recommend that you stick with the truly historical museums and the excellent outdoor drama Unto These Hills. Give yourself some time to explore the national park. There are some great trails and marvelous vistas.

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Bill Leslie