Story of dramatic mountain rescue to be centerpiece of Liars Bench show

The Liars Bench will perform the first in a series of stories called "Balsam Chronicles" at 7 p.m. on March 15 at Western Carolina University's Mountain Heritage Center.

The free series will start with the story of Gus Baty, a man who jumped/fell off Whiteside Mountain and slide 60 yards down the steep mountainside. His friend Charlie Wright rescued him after he came to rest against a laurel bush suspended on the very edge of Whiteside's cliff, 1,000 feet above the valley floor.

The March 15 performance will also feature Haywood County native Joe Sam Queen with a square dance team and buck dancers and Kidder Cole, the most beautiful woman in Cashiers Valley, who prompted Felix E. Alley to write a square dance tune that was played all over Western North Carolina.

Each of the three "Balsam Chronicles" shows will showcase the history and folklore of one of the counties in the Balsam range.

Recently, The Liars Bench, in conjunction with the Mountain Heritage Center, developed a grant proposal that was funded by the Jackson County Arts Council.

"This grant will give us the resources to develop programs that deal with topics such as Dr. John R. Brinkley, the hanging of Jack Lambert, and the historical basis for the belief that Abraham Lincoln was born here. We plan to do this with storytelling, music, poetry and drama," said Carden.

The Liars Bench is a two-year old program featuring authentic traditional Southern Appalachian storytelling, music, poetry and drama.


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