Celebrate mountain heritage at Railfest

Every year, railroad enthusiasts and history buffs gather in Bryson City for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s Railfest. This year, the 9th annual weekend railroading event takes place Sep. 17, 18 and 19.

The fun begins Friday night with a special “Wet Your Whistle” celebration train reception. The festival offers guests a taste of railroad food, memorabilia, storytelling, dance, music, special excursions and events that happen only once a year.

In addition to many display vehicles, motorcar rides will also be available on both Sept. 18 and 19. Railroads from the present and the past will be represented by motorcars from the U.S. and Canada. These track cars were formerly used on railroads to inspect track and carry track gangs and their tools out to work zones. The cars are now privately owned and used to ride on short line railroads nationwide.

On Saturday, Sept. 18, festivities include an authentic Mountain Craft Fair with close to 50 area crafters and artists displaying and selling their handmade crafts, pottery and artwork. Catch the Spirit of Appalachia will present local entertainment featuring singing, dancing and mountain folk music.

There will be food vendors, a children’s talent contest and winner’s jamboree and a bouncy train for children 8 and under.

On Sunday, Sept. 19, there will be a Nantahala Gorge “Photo Special” Excursion. This eight-hour roundtrip excursion takes you from Bryson City to Andrews, and includes two photo run-by opportunities and a picnic lunch. Visitors to Bryson City will enjoy mountain music with various artists throughout the day.

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