Welcome to The Village Of Yesteryear Information Website

We are open from 10 AM until 9:45 PM 

every day of the North Carolna State Fair 

The Village of Yesteryear is one of the most popular and best attended exhibits at the NC State Fair!  We have won awards and recognition from the NC Department of Agriculture several times, and we continue to be an important part of the North Carolina Heritage!  Our 77 year history at the State Fair has been wonderful, and our next years are looking just as positive!

Under the leadership of Pam Earp, one of our own artists, but who is also aretired professional educator, The Village has begun to create even more educational possibilities that were never touched upon before.  Our new Guest Booth, a location for craftsmen who are up to the village standards, but unable to spent the entire 10 days at the fair is a good example of the innovative new programs.  

Other programs include links with museums and local civic centers, a free giveaway vintage book library that is available each day of the fair, and resources for artists.  For more information, keep looking though this website!

We are always changing as our roster changes, so we will be making several changes over the next few months. 

The names change, and the craftsmen retire and new ones enter with the same or new crafts, but The Village of Yesteryear is still all about family, just like it is described in this wonderful narrative by one of our artists who grew up in the Village of Yesteryear!

-The Village of Yesteryear

By Emily Trantham (2004)

The round, domelike building in the middle of the fairgrounds attracts thousands of visitors every day of the North Carolina State Fair.  The white, Old English style lettering on the outside does not do much to disguise the warehouse look of the structure, but it does give a small hint to the wonders that lie within.  

As I climb up the small hill the building sits on, my excitement builds and my heart beats faster at the magic and history present here.  I pass many people sitting on benches under the shade trees lining the walkways.  I am assaulted with the telltale smell of fair food as my eyes take in the characteristic, brightly colored clothing of fair goers, and I smile at the sizable and varied collections of stickers on their fanny packs and rain slickers.  Anything from pickles to political candidates can be advertised on the jacket of a tourist.  Those same tourists look at me as though I am the one dressed strangely.  I suppose their curiosity is valid considering my Eighteenth century clothing.  

I walk in the back doors and enter the sea of humanity circling the building to view the heritage crafts on display.  My eyes wander around, taking in the crowd and eventually wandering to the curved ceiling covered in American flags from all time periods.  A child brushes my skirt as he runs to find his mother, and I hear people laughing at the jokes Jim Weber tells as he throws a pot on his potter’s wheel.  My own lips curve up in a smile at the contrast between my friend Anitra, in her apron and bonnet, and the customer she is serving, who is dressed in an American flag sun visor and carrying a balloon in the shape of an alien head.

I breathe deeply the smell of fresh sawdust and grin at the people passing by as I make my way around to the front of the building.  I pass my friend Virginia Boone’s booth and complement her on the pink and red braided rug she is working on.  I pause for a moment to watch amazed as Karl Johnson free hands a silhouette of a wiggly child using small scissors and jet black paper.  I wave hello to Jennie Roper, taking in the rich smell of the pine needles she uses to weave her baskets, and then I hurry on to the booth that will be my home for the next ten days.

As I make my way closer, I hear the melodic sound of a hammered dulcimer dancing over and penetrating the excited chattering of the crowd.  My eyes slide closed as childhood memories wash across my heart.  It is not long before I can see them.  My father, dressed in jeans and suspenders, is standing behind the instrument my grandfather built adding the last melodic flourish to the fiddle tune “Over the Waterfall.”  My brother Adam waits patiently beside him to take up his own instrument, a mountain dulcimer also made by Papa.  My mother and grandmother stand near the CD display ready to answer questions or help with purchases.  They whisper to each other about Christmas presents and laugh at the small child in the front who cannot stop wiggling to the sound of my daddy’s music.  The song ends, the people huddled around the booth clap, and I hear the sound of Papa’s hammer against his chisel again.  I give Nana a hug as I enter the booth and take my place in the Village of Yesteryear.  

The Village of Yesteryear is an organization dedicated to preserving and encouraging the tradition of handmade crafts in North Carolina.  It is a village of “working artists,” which means that all the crafters on display are constantly demonstrating some or all aspects of their work, occasionally letting someone else try their hand at it.  The crafters are there to sell their wares, but they are all very dedicated to the preservation of our heritage as Americans and North Carolinians.  The dress code for the approximate 100 members is colonial period clothing in hopes of creating a more historic atmosphere.  My grandfather is the director of the organization, and my family has a long history with the place.  My father went there as a teenager to play his dad’s instruments for people passing by.  When my brother and I began to take up the instruments ourselves we joined the two generations before us in the booth, demonstrating the music and educating the public about music from eighteenth century Appalachia.  The Village and the people in it have a unique role in the lives of the people, like me, who work there as children.  The crafters realized early on the influence they could have on such young people to pursue traditional handiwork and make it a special point to indulge our questions and curiosities.  In my days spent there I have learned numerous crafts at the feet of masters, igniting in me a passion for traditional heritage.  Ever since then, the sights, sounds and experiences I have had in the Village have held a special place in my heart. 

After singing several songs and joining my grandfather in explaining what the Village is all about to a curious visitor, Nana asks me to join her in a stroll around the building.  I feel the warmth of being near my grandmother and enjoy her matriarchal presence as we people-watch and greet other villagers stretching their legs.  After several minutes I hear my name called from one of the booths.  The voice is high pitched and excited and I know it immediately as that of my youngest sister, Sara.  As I approach the booth, Pamela Earp, the crafter Sara is working with, winks at me as I listen to Sara tell me all about the beautiful corn shuck doll Pam is teaching her to make.  I ask her if she is having fun and Sara’s red hair bounces in braids against her shoulders as she nods. 

I know the joys of making a doll with Pam first hand.  She was the first crafter I worked with and I still have the dolls I made with her.  I remember vividly the feel of the wet corn shucks in my hands and Pam’s steady fingers helping my smaller ones tie the knots I needed.  
Pulling myself out of Village memories, I tell Sara I can’t wait to see her doll finished and continue on around the building with Nana.  

My boots tap out a rhythm on the cement floor and I pass booth after booth where I have worked, thanking God for the rich experiences I have had there and the people who have made those memories so special.

We have working information pages for most of our artists.  Some of these pages have links to their own websites.  We will soon be adding several galleries of photos from the Village of Yesteryear

If you have any questions that this site does not answer,  please email us  

If you have questions about the website itself, please email the >>webmaster<<

© Village of Yesteryear 2018