APPALACHIAN HERITAGE OLYMPICS
HUNTINGTON — The next summer Olympics may not be until 2020, but the fall Appalachian Heritage Olympics, of sorts, takes place this weekend.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, Heritage Farm Museum & Village, 3300 Harvey Road in Huntington, is playing host to the third annual Mountain Games, a fundraiser for the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital.
Watch teams from around the region compete in eight different Heritage-themed events like the tomahawk throw, an obstacle course, a 5K trail run, archery, paintball shooting, climbing and a heavy sack run.
For the kids, enjoy a Mountain Games Family Zone featuring such lawn games as ladder golf, a giant sling shot, giant Jenga, boat races, an obstacle course, bucket ball and a softball throw along with much more.
After the hearty outdoors workout, get a taste of what’s cooking during the 8th annual Cast Iron Cookoff. Here, chefs will compete in teams from around the region for prizes and bragging rights.
There also are eight museums, as well as other Way Back Weekend fall fun including wagon rides, cider, and more.
Admission to watch and enjoy the other Way Back Weekend festivities down on the Farm are $12, $10 seniors, $8 kids and free for those under three. If you pay $25 you get that and can compete in Mountain Games. Go online at mountaingames. chhfoundation.org for more info.
Because of the set-up for the Mountain Games in the field where folks normally park, all the parking is at Christ Temple Church, 2400 Johnstown Road, where Heritage Farm will have free shuttle buses all day long.
An idea birthed by Bradley Burck, vice president of the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation, Mountain Games with its coal shoveling, sack carrying, climbing and obstacle course running is a great way to have fun and connect to the hardships of some Appalachian ancestors.
The day starts with the Mountain Games Buffalo Heart Trail Run and then heads out onto the field where games begin for anyone ages 6 and up.
“Their idea fits right in with Heritage Farm where we are celebrating those people who made our lives possible,” said Audy Perry, who oversees the operation of Heritage Farm. “It is raising money for the hospital and done in a way to invite the whole community from the guy who chews nails to a group of folks who just want to get together for fun. It is that community of Appalachia where everyone is included.”
Velma Workman, development outreach coordinator at Cabell Huntington, said more than
120 people have registered to participate in the Mountain Games, coming from as far away as Chillicothe, Ohio, and Logan, West Virginia.
“The best part about it is that it brings in a whole different set of donors to the Children’s Hospital,” Workman said. “There are those who don’t want to get dressed up and go to a gala but they do want to go and have fun on the weekend and know they are helping kids. One of the things that is most fun is that the whole family can enjoy it.”
Perry said River Cities Church has constructed a miniature version of the Mountain Games for kids, while Buckskin Council Boy Scouts of America staff will be manning their BB gun target range. This is the first year that the Heritage Farm fall festival will include both the Mountain Games and the eighth annual Cast Iron Cook off on the same day.
Heritage Farm founder Hen-riella Perry, who is 82 and Dan Preece will be cooking and serving up Henriella’s famous peach cobbler in the middle of the blacksmith field. There will also be up to half a dozen teams cooking to win cash prizes for their Appalachian dishes.
Well known regional chef Izzy Cross, a former winner of The Greenbrier resort’s Cast Iron Challenge, is heading up the cook off. His competitors include such teams as The Spice Girls, Appalachian Flavor Dalila’s Kitchen and others battling for bragging rights and prize money while giving folks a sample of their dishes. These creations have to be locally sourced, cooked on the spot, some over open flame and all in cast iron.
“The hardest part is to be able to create something unique with indigenous ingredients,” Cross said. “So you’re using Appalachian ingredients and being creative. This is not just pinto beans and cornbread.”
Cross said the pressure is on as the teams must cook over the fire and prep everything there while crowds of people are milling about.
“It’s pretty cool that you get to play with your creativity and ingredients but then doing that outside can make it hard,” Cross said. “You have to keep the fire going and steady for all of those components that are all important for your dish to come to life.”
Deciding the winner is a panel of judges, in addition to a People’s Choice winner.
In addition to the Mountain Games and the Cook off, this Way Back Weekend will also feature the Farm’s multiple museums and a full village of artisans including renowned West Virginia glassmaker Ron Hinkle.
Workman said they are excited seeing the seasonable weather forecast for Saturday.
“Last year it was 92 so it was a big sweat fest,” Workman said. “This year it’s supposed to be 60 and sunny — the perfect fall day to come out and enjoy everything.”
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: The third annual Mountain Games and eighth annual Cast Iron Cookoff as part of the Way Back Weekend
WHERE: Heritage Farm Museum and Village,
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13
HOW MUCH: Admission to watch and enjoy the other Way Back Weekend festivities down on the Farm are $12, $10 seniors, $8 kids and free for those under three. If you pay $25 you get that and can compete in Mountain Games.
ON DECK @ THE FARM: Oct. |27 is the Heritage Farm Woodworking Festival, Nov. 3 is an Appalachian Food to Table Dinner, Nov. 10 is a Veterans Day celebration of WWI, Nov. 30 through Dec. 15 (every Friday and Saturday) is the annual Christmas Village
ON THE WEB: Go online at https://www.heritagefarmmu-seum.com/for more info.