The Gathering of the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail will return to Elkin on March 23-25. Expected to bring about 300 people to the area, the friends will gather at Coley Hall at The Liberty for their annual conference.
Participants will begin their weekend Friday evening with Supper and Sonker, a dinner of chicken n’ dumplings and a vegan root veggie stew featuring the North Carolina dessert similar to cobbler.
“Folks from our new host community will be there to share about where we are headed next,” said FMST Executive Director Kate Dixon in a welcoming email upon registration. “Though we are sad to bid adieu to Elkin, we are really looking forward to get to know another special area on the MST.”
On Saturday morning, the annual meeting will include information on improvements made to the ongoing project as well as plans for its future.
Special notice will be given to individuals who have completed the more than 1,000-mile trek from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks since the last gathering such as Jennifer Pharr Davis, who will also be sitting on a panel.
In addition to the activities at The Liberty, participants will be eligible for a number of other activities including a variety of guided hikes and workshops.
Several of these, such as the Quilt Show at The November Room and the Downtown Art Crawl, are available to the public as well as registered participants of the gathering.
Some public activities initiated by The Gathering, such as Honey Island Swamp Band at The Reeves Theater, require tickets to be purchased. Others are free to all.
One of those free activities is the Overmountain Victory Trail Encampment, which will take place throughout the weekend. In addition to a battle, which this year is expected to include cannons, the mounted cavalry is expected to arrive in Elkin.
Yadkin Riverkeeper also will be highlighting the river through a guided paddle on Friday.
In addition to the hikes that will exhibit the treasures of downtown and the local parks, several hikes will explore adjoining areas including the stills of Stone Mountain.
Both Elkin breweries — Angry Troll and Skull Camp — will be highlighted with a special tour made safe through the designation of drivers from Frog Holler Tours.
The beer tour and other happenings require activity registration as well as registration to the gathering.
For a complete list of gathering weekend events, including information on registration, go to mountainstoseatrail.org/gathering-of-friends/.
To read about the 2017 gathering, go to https://www.elkintribune.com/news/12892/video-elkin-organizers-went-all-out-for-the-gathering-of-the-friends-of-the-mountains-to-sea-trail-40th-anniversary-in-elkin-2
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.