County clash reaches No. 50

Weekend events are plentiful
Oct 17, 2013

Since 1966, one of the largest gatherings of Haywood County residents has been not at a festival, a fundraiser or fair, but at a single game held annually.

A crowd of about 10,000 shows up for the Pisgah and Tuscola rivalry game to watch their hometown team fight for bragging rights and another chance to make history by winning the match.

Certainly there are larger events in the county, but since the vast majority of those in the stadium are from Haywood County, the rivalry game is a place area residents are sure to run into their neighbor, relative or an old high school friend or competitor.

The current rivalry began in 1966 when the seven high schools across the county were combined into two — Pisgah in the east and Tuscola in the west. Though the rivalry won’t reach its 50th anniversary until 2016, there have actually been 50 football clashes with extra games in 1972 and 1974 when both teams saw playoff action.

The game was voted in a nationwide fan poll in USA Today last year in North Carolina as the best high school rivalry game in the nation and sixth best in a 14-state southern region.

The fans are enthusiastic to say the least. The buildup around the game creates an electric atmosphere for both players and fans, and ball players say the game is one they will always remember.

Those who have attended a game certainly know what’s in store. For those who have never been to one, perhaps this is the year to give it a try.  The weather is expected to be dry with a low of 50 — conditions football enthusiasts will agree is perfect for the day.

Arrive early to get a parking spot even remotely close to the stadium, and be prepared to  see plenty of action, both on the field and in the stands.

Downtown Waynesville will be buzzing with activity Saturday as an expected 40,000 people flock to the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce’s Apple Harvest Festival.

The crowd at the event has grown annually, (last year, there were an estimated 35,000 in attendance) as have the number of vendors who are anxious for the opportunity to have their produts seen by so many people.

In addition to shopping, there’s plenty of entertainment, a chance to slip into one of the downtown stores and plenty of choices to satisfy your appetite or quench your thirst.

Maggie Valley is also holding its fall arts and crafts show Saturday and Sunday,  the Junaluska Singers will be performing by the lakeshore at 7:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, the final Cruise-in will be held at the Canton Municipal Building and the Haywood Community Band will present its final concert at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Maggie Valley Pavilion.

While Saturday is expected to be overcast, there isn’t a drop of rain forecast for the weekend. Fall in Haywood County is filled with plenty of events, ensuring locals don’t have to travel very far to find something to do. Then there’s the nearby park and parkway, now fully open after visitor services ground to a halt during the 16-day federal government shutdown.

Take a few moments this weekend to experience the many reasons why so many visitors come to our county — and why most living here are proud to call it home.