Plan to help celebrate Lake Junaluska's 100th anniversary
Lake Junaluska is often a favorite place to celebrate Independence Day in Haywood County. Their community parade, picnic lunch and July 4 evening entertainment with the Junaluska Singers and then fireworks is an event most have taken in at one time or another.
This year the events will be far more extensive and spectacular in celebration of the conference and retreat center’s 100th anniversary. There are so many events planned to celebrate the 100 years of history that the excitement began on Sunday.
More than 50 former Lake Junaluska singers are returning, along with the group’s founder, Glenn Draper, to perform during the homecoming week celebration. In addition, there will be plenty of history told, not only in the reminiscing, but through dramas, tours and re-enactments. At 6 p.m. Monday, all are encouraged to dress in vintage clothing and participate in the trek made by early lake visitors where they were dropped off at the train depot and walked to the lake where they were taken by boat to Stuart Auditorium. Afterward, there will be a drama where the ghosts of James Atkins and George R. Stuart, the founders of Lake Junaluska, meet and discuss the birth and early years of Lake Junaluska.
On Tuesday, a 2 to 5 p.m. event offers a tour of the earliest homes built at the lake and at 10 a.m. Wednesday, visitors can take a self-guided tour of the Corneille Bryan Native Garden, which features the unique plant life in the Southern Appalachians. A guide will be available until noon to answer questions during this time period. A 5 p.m. boat parade, then fish fry will precede the 6:45 p.m. re-enactment of the historic photo where all lake guests were included. Lake Junaluska leaders hope to have several thousand people on hand for a photo that will be taken at the same site of the original photo. The evening will be topped off by a 7:30 p.m. concert put on by the Lake Junaluska Singers, which is a ticketed event.
On July 4, the traditional 11 a.m. parade, followed by the barbecue picnic lunch, will be held with another Lake Junaluska Singers concert starting at 7:30 p.m. The day will be capped off with fireworks, which will begin at 9:45 p.m.
The festivities will continue through the weekend, with Family Olympics, a showing of “The Swan,” which has scenes filmed at the lake, a water ski show Friday and a concert put on by alumni Lake Junaluska Singers Saturday.
The week is one that has something for everyone. History buffs will have a chance to pick up another tidbit or two about the lake’s history; those who have memories of the lake can relive them with friends and there are plenty of events on the schedule that can be the foundation for new memories at the lake to be formed.
Congratulations on your 100th anniversary, Lake Junaluska.
We are thankful for all you have brought to this county and for what you will provide in the future.