Building from the success of last year’s “Wild River” Days, the community of Charleston is planning the Hiwassee River Heritage Festival for June 3-4.
The newly named festival will focus on the 100th birthday of Charleston School, a hometown reunion. Each year, the event will focus on a different aspect of Charleston’s history, while offering entertainment, food vendors, activities and more.
The festival will feature an alumni basketball game featuring men and women basketball players from throughout the years. The basketball game will be played at Charleston School on Friday night, June 3.
Anyone wishing to participate in the game should contact Deb Hart at 715-1733.
Saturday will be filled with various activities around town. Live entertainment and food venders will be in the park. Details will be released as they are confirmed.
A fun food feature will be the first-ever “Cow Pea Cookoff.” Charleston was once a major exporter of cow peas, whose varieties include black-eyed peas, field peas, crowder peas and other varieties.
The town was considered the “Cow Pea Capital of the South.” Each vendor will feature at least one menu item with cow peas as an ingredient.
The public is invited to share their recipes involving any variety of cow peas for the Cow Pea Cookoff. Cow pea creations will be judged in the categories of appetizer, side and entrée. Watch for more information on how to enter.
A “Wild River” movie display will be set up on Market Street at the old gas station used in the movie, now the location of Hiwassee Canoe Co.
The past year has been a big year for the movie as 20th Century Fox had it digitally remastered for its 50th anniversary and has been showing it in historic theaters and special locations throughout the country.
A documentary following last year’s anniversary celebration and gathering stories about the filming of “Wild River” in Charleston is being finalized by Life Care Center of America’s Media Center.
The documentary will premiere June 2 at the Museum Center at Five Points. The movie and documentary will show through Saturday, June 4, in the brick building at the end of Market Street (formerly the auto parts store).
The “Wild River” Christian Retreat is hosting its annual open house that weekend, so tours of Coon Denton Island (where much of the movie was filmed) and ferry rides will be available on Saturday. A shuttle will run continuously throughout the event, transporting festival-goers from the Market Street activities to the “Wild River” Retreat.
A Charleston Alumni subcommittee is seeking photos, memorabilia and people from Charleston School.
Already, they have gathered old yearbooks, class rosters from many years ago and many photos.
The group has a Facebook page set up to locate alumni and items of interest as well as collect stories and comments.
Alumni may also contact Linda Goble at 423-667-1683 for more information or help with the event.
Community leaders say they are proud Charleston is rich with stories, heritage and significant pieces of American history, and much of that history is centered on the Hiwassee River.