♫ “Chickens a crowin’ on Sourwood Mountain, Hey ho diddle-um day…♫” goes an old mountain ballad, ♫ “so many pretty girls I can’t count ’em, hey ho diddle dum day.” ♫ This toe-taping tune echoes the spirit of this year’s Sourwood Festival in Black Mountain. Yes, indeed, plenty of pretty girls, handsome lads, laughing grandmas and grandpas and every age in between were rocking it out in the warm summer breeze on Sutter Street the 2nd Saturday in August. Aromas of funnel cakes, burgers, jams and jellies blending with yard art, wooden rocking chairs, silver jewelry and pottery called to folks navigating the kiosks. A more laid-back crowd hung like ragdolls off the porch rails at Louise’s Kitchen listening to nearby mountain music permeating the air.
The Sourwood Festival was aptly named after the sourwood tree officially designated as the community tree of Black Mountain. In 1976, the Kiwanis Club purchased 25 sourwood trees to be planted in and near Black Mountain. The sourwood tree (sometimes called sorrel) is a small deciduous tree. Its leaves are dark green in summer and red in autumn. The sourwood is quite prolific in the Southern Appalachian region.
Perhaps, the best thing about the sourwood tree is the sourwood honey that comes form its bell-shaped flowers hanging in clusters 5-6 inches long. The tree blooms in July; therefore, at the end of June all the old “spring” honey is removed from the bee supers, and new supers are added to ensure pure sourwood honey. Sourwood honey is extra light and amber in color and extremely aromatic. It is considered premium, gourmet honey.
The old Sourwood Mountain tune dances on with, ♫ “My true love’s a blue-eyed daisy; If I don’t get her, I’ll go crazy…” ♫. Sure Point Builders is working like crazy. There are several houses going up on Tudor Way with some new 911 addresses. The street near the top of Tudor Croft is no longer an extension of Chepstow Place, but has been renamed Leeds Lane. Tudor Croft will be welcoming some new neighbors to the community: Linda at 5 Leeds Lane, Clint and Melissa at 30 Tudor Way, and John and Sarah at 39 Tudor Way. The addition of our new neighbors is as lovely and sweet as the sourwood tree and the honey it makes.
At the end of the festival, the vendors pack up their wares, and the shopkeepers close their doors to a day of sunshine and laughter. Shoppers busily pack their cars with sweet sourwood honey, prints of hummingbirds for a faraway friend, and a silver bracelet just the right size. The old mountain song nears its end with ♫ “My true love lives over the river; a few more days, and I’ll be with her.” ♫ After all is sung and done, isn’t the sweetest joy the peace we feel when we are with the ones we love and with those who love us back? ♫ “Hey, ho, diddle dum day.” ♫
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