A beard growing contest, craft fair and folk dancing will all be part of West Virginia University’s annual celebration of West Virginia heritage and tradition – Mountaineer Week.

The 63rd annual week will kick off Friday (Nov. 5) and run through Saturday, Nov. 13 when the WVU Mountaineers take on the University of Cincinnati’s Bearcats in football.

Since 1947, Mountaineer Week has been the time when West Virginia’s culture and heritage is celebrated and shared with WVU students. Mountaineer Week has been honored as one of the top 20 events in the southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society.

“Mountaineer Week is organized with students in mind. We want to educate them on the culture and history of our great mountain state,” said Sonja Wilson, Mountaineer Week advisor.

This year, Appalachian heritage will be celebrated with events that emphasize Mountaineer pride and tradition; there will also be a focus on the women of Appalachia. Special programming will showcase the woman of Appalachia’s achievements, struggles and talents.

“We hope to bring in thousands of visitors from our campus, community, state and region to enjoy our diversified Mountaineer Week programs that will encompass Appalachian cuisine, music, dance, programs and traditions,” Wilson said.

Events include an Appalachian Folk Dance, Craft Fair and Quilt Show, Country Vittles Dinner Buffet, Beard Growing Contest and Family Fun Day, designed for Mountaineers of all ages.

The week will begin at noon Friday (Nov. 5) with opening ceremonies for the Craft Fair in the Mountainlair ballrooms. Finalists from the Mountaineer Idol competition will be featured.

Throughout the week, there will be various vendors throughout the Mountainlair with Appalachian treats, including Bavarian Nuts, Kidwell’s Funnel Cake and Wild West Kettle Corn.

Nov. 5-7, the WVU Collegiate 4-H Club will host a Corn Roast on the Mountainlair front lawn from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12 p.m. Sunday.

On Nov. 6, the Country Vittles Dinner Buffet, which has been switched to Saturday for this year’s celebrations and is presented by WVU Dining Services, will be held at the Mountainlair in Hatfield’s from 5- 7:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to come to this traditional Appalachian feast and enjoy the music of “The Diving Ducks.” Tickets will be sold at the door for $13/adult, $10/student and $8/child.

The Fiddle Contest will take place on Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gluck Theatre of the Mountainlair and will feature the best fiddlers from the state and region. The Robert C. Byrd Fiddler Award will be presented to the state’s best fiddler.

WVUp All Night, WVU’s premier late-night program will showcase the Hillbilly Gypsies on Nov. 5 and the Fox Hunt on Nov. 6, both will begin at 9:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair food court.

Appalachian Folk Dance Lessons will be held in the Vandalia Lounge on Nov. 5 as a part of Up All Night’s events. Lessons will be given by the WVU Collegiate 4-H Dance Ambassadors, trained in heritage dancing.

The 4-H Dance Ambassadors will also be presenting an Appalachian Dance Showcase on Nov.6 from 2:30-4 p.m. in the Gluck Theatre.

As part of the 2010 West Virginia Native American Heritage Series, presenter and historian Greg Carroll will lead the Researching Native American Ancestry program on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Rhododendron Room of the Mountainlair. The event will focus on genealogy resources available through the state archives office and offer tips on using some of the online services to research Native American ancestry.

Mountaineer tradition
As part of the traditional Mountaineer Week Beard Growing Contest, presented by The Ridge and MedExpress, the final beard shaving event will be held at noon on the Mountainlair grand staircase on Nov. 10. Cash prizes will be awarded for first ($100), second ($75) and third ($50) places.

To coincide with the Beard Growing Competition, the Inaugural Touchdown Push-Up Competition will be presented to showcase the strength and endurance of the females on WVU’s campus.

The Mountaineer Week Craft Fair and Quilt Show showcase the traditional craftsmanship of talented West Virginians. The Craft Fair and Quilt Show will be held from 12-8 p.m. on Nov. 5, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov.6 and from 12-5 p.m. on Nov. 7.

Student involvement
The Mountaineer Week Photo Contest, presented by The Ridge and MedExpress, is open to all WVU students and allows them to showcase their creative photography skills as well as present what West Virginia beauty means to them. Photos will be on display in front of the Mountainlair information desk beginning Nov. 5. For information on how to participate, call 304-293-2702.

The PRT Cram, presented by MedExpress, will be held from 12-2:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 in front of the Mountainlair. Students will try to cram as many as possible into one single Personal Rapid Transit car.

The Mountaineer Week Scavenger Hunt will take place on the downtown campus on Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. Teams must be present at 2:30 p.m. in the Vandalia Lounge of the Mountainlair for registration.

The Mountaineer Week Challenge Games, presented by MedExpress, will be held on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Mountainlair ballrooms. Games include apple bobbing, pie eating contests, costume judging and potato sack race, among others. Each participating team will compete for the opportunity to be named the winner of Mountaineer Week’s Best Greek and Best Student Organization Awards.

The final competition for Mountaineer Idol will be held on Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. in the Mountainlair ballrooms. Each of the three finalists will sing three songs. Celebrity judges and performers will be highlighted while the contestants compete for $1,000 from Coca-Cola and the title of “2010 Mountaineer Idol.”

Family fun
Family Fun Day, presented by Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., will take place at the Mountainlair on Nov. 6 from noon-5 p.m. There will be various activities throughout the day for children and families, included discounted bowling and billiards, crafts, a magic show and other games.

As an added feature to Family Fun Day, Horse and Buggy Rides will be offered beginning at 2 p.m. in front of the Mountainlair.

WVU Women: Looking Back, Moving Forward, presented by Anna M. Schein, associate curator for the West Virginia and Regional History Collection at WVU Libraries, will be in the Mountainlair 1-4 p.m. This exhibit features West Virginia and Regional History Collection historical photographs and archival materials which highlight the beginnings of coeducation at WVU and leadership roles of WVU women today.

The WVU- Cincinnati football game will be held on Nov. 13. Three hours prior to kickoff, WVU students will have the opportunity to socialize and have fun at The Student LOT located adjacent to Milan Puskar Stadium. During half-time, the 2010 Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer along with the Most Loyal Alumni Mountaineer, Most Loyal West Virginian, Most Loyal Faculty Mountaineer and Most Loyal Staff Mountaineer will be named.

For more information and a full schedule of events, go to www.mountaineerweek.wvu.edu, or call the Mountainlair Administrative Offices at 304-293-2702.



CONTACT: Sonja Wilson, Mountaineer Week
304-293-2702, Sonja.Wilson@mail.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.