July 27, 2023

Celebrating the 48th Annual Waldensian Festival

Waldensian Festival 48th annual festival

Welcome to the 48 th Annual Waldensian Festival

After years of enduring religious persecution and exile, the Waldensian people triumphantly took back

their homelands in the valleys of the Cottian Alps in 1689. This “Glorious Return” is observed and

remembered in Waldensian communities throughout the world. Held annually, the second weekend of

August, Valdese remembers this victory through the Waldensian Festival, a community-wide

celebration of music, history, arts, and cuisine. Festival highlights include a classic car cruise in,

regional bocce tournament, free children’s area, attraction tours, outdoor drama, a wide variety of live

entertainment, and over 150 food & artisan vendors.

48th Annual Festival Friday – August 11th

Classic Car Cruise-In, Beer & Wine Garden Opens, Food Trucks

Main Street will begin closing at approximately 5:00 P.M. on Friday, August 11 th to prepare for dozens

of antique cars to line the street. Those interested in participating in the cruise-in can find details at

waldensianfestival.com. Domestic beers will be available for purchase on behalf of Burke Sunrise

Rotary and Waldensian Style Wines will be pouring all night, including their famous Brenda’s Peach

Bellini! Those that partake in beer & wine are reminded to only consume it within the allowed areas of

the festival. Attendees are not permitted to bring coolers to the Main Stage area. The Beer and Wine

Garden will be open from 5-10:00 P.M. Food trucks in attendance include Dig ‘n Dogs and Village Inn


Festival Friday Kick Off Entertainment: Southside Station & FIREWORKS!

Southside Station is a 5-piece variety band of talented musicians of vocalists and musicians

dedicated to playing acoustic guitar, lead guitar, bass, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, upright bass,

harmonica and drums. Their unique song list consists of legendary dance hits, rock, country, yacht

rock and singer song writer hits. Southside Station shares the talents of Veteran musicians that they

have shared the stage including Charlie Daniels, ZZ Top, Styx, Foreigner, Jimmy Buffett, Sara Evans,

Sheryl Crow and many more. Known for their energetic stage presence and their diversity of their

song lists, Southside Station will certainly kick off this special weekend in style.

Shortly after dusk, a brilliant and impressive fireworks display will be launched from behind the Old

Rock School. The colorful bursts will be able to be viewed from all over downtown.

Festival Saturday – August 12th

Great Waldensian Footrace

Each year during the festival the Great Waldensian Footrace is held. This event begins on Saturday

at 8:00am with a 5 and10k run starting at the Valdese Community Recreation Center. As in past

years, runners will head down Laurel Street, then onto Lovelady before making their way back. The

5k runners will double back before they hit Lovelady, avoiding the long uphill stretch. Children are

also included in this fun event by joining in the one-mile Fun Run immediately after the 5 and 10k

race. Race will feature fruit, drinks, etc. Valdese Community Center Pool and splash pad will be

available to all participants and guests.

Le Phare Des Alpes hosts Regional Bocce Tournament

The Waldensian Festival would not be complete without bocce. The Western North Carolina Regional

Tournament, sponsored and hosted by the Le Phare des Alpes (LPDA) located on Laurel Street

South, will begin promptly at 8:00am on August 12th. The top three winning teams will qualify for the

state tournament. This year’s local and state competitions do not have an age limit as in previous

years. Bocce, a game similar to lawn bowling, was a favorite pastime of the early settlers in Valdese

and continues to prove entertainment for young and old. The LPDA will also be serving hot

Waldensian Bread cooked right on site in the wood burning oven, and a favorite food of the

Waldensians, soutissa, a pork based sausage.

Information Booth & Vendors Open

Located at the corner of Rodoret & Main Street, Festival attendees are invited to visit the Valdese

Information & Merchandise Booth. Information on all event activities will be available. Valdese t-shirts,

Valdese license plates, decals, and flags will be available for purchase. Over 150 food and craft

vendors will flood Main Street from Carolina Street to the Old Rock School on Saturday from 9:00am

until 6:00 P.M. A wide variety of festival booths will be represented, so be sure to visit each one!

Handmade crafts, furniture, apparel boutiques, children’s activities, giveaways, and of course- all the

street food favorites you can eat!

Waldensian Presbyterian Church Presents FREE Children’s Area!

Bouncy Houses, Art in the Park, Bocce, Games, Tasting Tent, Sanctuary Tours, Community Children’s

Moment, and More!

New this year- Waldensian Presbyterian Church presents FREE community children’s area featuring

multiple bouncy houses, including an 80 ft. waterslide obstacle course! Art in the Park activities at

Centennial Fountain include finger painting, sponge painting, stamps, and more! A variety of fun

sports and lawn games will be available, including bocce- a favorite Waldensian pastime! Stop by the

tasting tent for a sample of delicious soutissa, grapes, breadsticks, and cheese! Enjoy tours of the

stunning Waldensian Presbyterian Church sanctuary- featuring a special children’s moment with

worship and music and a history of the church’s stain glassed windows. Some festivities start at 9am

with the majority taking place between 10-2pm.

Farris Insurance Agency presents Chainsaw Artist, Mountain Mike

Festival sponsor, Farris Insurance Agency will host Mountain Mike an international speed carver and

Masterpiece carver, who holds the title of "Master of the Chainsaw" 2016 and 2017. Mountain Mike was a

member of the 2015 U.S. (2nd place) speed carving team in the world championships. 3rd Place in the

Australian chainsaw carving championships, 1st place "Carving at the casino" Seneca, NY. Top auction at

Chaptacular Chainsaw Bash in Grey, GA 2 times. 1st and 2nd at Ridgway Rendezvous in PA. He is featured in

a seminar on YouTube for Ridgway 2017. Be sure to check out his talents as he will be demonstrating his

cutting skills throughout Festival Saturday at the Farris Insurance Agency Parking Lot (located at the

intersection of Main Street and Carolina Street.

Valdese Attractions

While enjoying the Waldensian Festival, take time to visit the major attractions in Valdese, many of

which showcase the fascinating history of the Waldensians.

The Waldensian Heritage Museum & Gift Shop will open its doors at 10:00 A.M. While touring the

museum, experience the Waldensian Heritage by viewing the many original artifacts and heirlooms;

including pictures, clothing, housewares, and tools that belonged to the settlers of Valdese. The

museum also manages an impressive collection of historic books and manuscripts, including Bibles

written in Italian, French, Patois dialect and Hebrew. Pews, the pulpit, the communion table, plates

and goblets that were used in the first communion at the original Waldensian Church are displayed.

The Trail of Faith is located on Church Street and is a wonderful way to experience the history of the

Waldensians and founding of Valdese. The Trail is a 10 acre, 15 exhibit memorials, recreating the

Waldenses’ perseverance with replicas of their homes, churches, monuments, a seminary, and more.

Self-guided tours are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for students. Visit waldensiantrailoffaith.org

for tour hours and further information.

Piedmont & Western Railroad Museum is one of the largest indoor railroad displays in the state.

Founded in July of 1988, the Piedmont & Western Model Railroad Club has combined the talents and

passions of local railroad enthusiasts to create a fictitious rail line serving Western North Carolina.

The HO scale railroad runs from Marion, NC to Leadvale, TN, carrying loads across the scenic Blue

Ridge Mountains. The total trackage covers over 1,000 feet! The PWRR museum is located on the

lower level of the Old Rock School.

Rock School Arts Foundation 36th Annual Open Art Competition

The Rock School Art Foundation galleries are located on the second floor of the Old Rock School and

open at 9:00 a.m. You will not want to miss the variety of artists, mediums, and subject matter

displayed in the gallery’s most diverse exhibit of the year! Remember to cast your vote for your

favorite for the 2023 People’s Choice Award! The exhibit will be in the galleries through Friday,

September 15th. Galleries are open weekdays from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. The exhibition can be

viewed at rockschoolartgalleries.com from August 12th to September 28 th .

The Rock School Arts Foundation will also welcome a variety of artists as they host a special art

demonstration in the Waldensian Room of the Old Rock School. Enjoy the exhibits and

demonstrations from over 15 different artists. Don’t just see the work being created, look to purchase

a one of a kind masterpiece as well.

Old Colony Players Present Historic Outdoor Drama “From This Day Forward”

Now in the 55th consecutive season, “From This Day Forward will hold special performances Friday

and Saturday night of Festival weekend beginning at 8:00 P.M. at the Fred B. Cranford Amphitheater.

Holding the title of the longest running outdoor drama in North Carolina, “From This Day Forward”

brings the incredible journey of the Waldenses to life, covering the persecution faced in the valleys of

the Cottian Alps to the founding of the town of Valdese. With a combination of tears in your eyes and

laughter in your heart, you can witness this story of tragedy and triumph. Tickets can be purchased by

visiting oldcolonyplayers.com or by calling 828-522-1150. Rated PG-13 for scenes of battle and peril.

Valdese Parks & Recreation: Cool off, children play, and unique views!

The Valdese Parks and Recreation Department welcomes visitors to all of our parks and facilities

during the weekend of the Valdese Waldensian Heritage Festival! We encourage festival goers to

visit McGalliard Falls, where you can check out the falls, the mill, and access the new McGalliard

Creek Bridge. Check out the trails at Valdese Lakeside Park, take the kids to the Children’s Park

playground, or visit the Splash Pad in town.

The Community Center will be open until 5pm on Festival Friday, at which point we will close for

preparations for the Great Waldensian Footrace. The community center, including the fitness center,

gym, bowling alley, and pool will be closed on Saturday. The center will re-open on Sunday, August

13, from 1-5pm.

  • Valdese Lakeside Park
  • McGalliard Falls Park & Meytre Grist Mill
  • Children’s Park
  • Valdese Family Splash Park

Photo Opportunities:

The Arrival art installation was finished in 2018 to honor Valdese celebrating 125 years since their

founding in 1893. The Valdese Public Arts Commission and the Town of Valdese came together to

create a commemorative art piece that is located across from Valdese Town Hall on Massel Avenue.

The installation depicts the arrival of the original Waldensian settlers who came to Valdese on May

29th, 1893 as they departed the “No. 11” train at the Valdese Depot. The installation was created by

the artists of Oak Hill Iron & Wood of Morganton and was designed by local artist Greg Mastin. The

project features a full scale train and silhouettes of original settlers made out of iron. Standing

between twelve and fifteen feet tall and extending parallel to Massel Avenue for over thirty feet, the

installation will honor those who founded Valdese. The original settlers are listed on a bronze plaque

which will be created by the Waldensian Heritage Museum. The installation also features a

boardwalk and gazebo, providing an amazing backdrop for your festival day selfie or group photo!

Centennial Fountain: Valdese celebrated its Centennial in 1993. The Centennial Park and Fountain

was opened on Main Street to commemorate the special anniversary. The beautiful fountain has

become a photo backdrop for visitors and locals alike.

McGalliard Creek Bridge: The 160-foot-long bridge connects two of Valdese’s important places to

visit, McGalliard Falls Park and Valdese Lakeside Park. The bridge can be accessed easily from

either park and provides a beautiful, natural backdrop for photos and an area to enjoy the quiet

sounds of nature.

Meditation Point: Located at Valdese Lakeside Park, Meditation Point offer beautiful lake views of

Lake Rhodhiss bordered by Table Rock.

Saturday Entertainment- Main Stage Lineup

9:00 A.M. -Tumblemania Performance

Enjoy a special performance at the Main Stage as local tumblers share their flips, jumps and dance


10:30 A.M. - Old Colony Players Reenactment from “From This Day Forward”

The cast from the Historic Outdoor Drama will share a reenactment of the production including French

hymns and sword fighting.

11:00 A.M. – Music by Pandemonium

Enjoy the steel drum sounds of Pandemonium as they join the Waldensian Festival. Their

soothing mix of melodies will be sure to provide the perfect background music for all the festivities.

12:00 P.M. – Music by Garrett Huffman

Garrett’s musical journey began in the spring of 2020 when he decided to teach himself to play the

guitar over quarantine. From there, he fell in love with music and developed a passion for song writing.

He plays a variety of different music genres including country, 80s, and alternative pop. Garrett is a

2023 nominee for a finalist for the Carolina Country Music Awards Entertainer of the Year.

2:00 P.M. – Debbie Huffman Dance Academy Demonstration

Local Valdese dance studio will offer a special presentation by their dance students. DHDA offers

dance classes for ages 3 thru 18. Teaching ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop including beginning

introductory acrobatics. With over 30 years of experience, they are dedicated to the art and expect our

students to be also.

3:00 P.M. – Music by the Night Move Band

With a cast of musicians that can each boast over 25 years of experience this band is just as home

on stage in front of a large festival crowd as they are playing for a private party. With a diverse

song list including artists such as The Temptations, Delbert McClinton, The Tams, The Four

Tops, Wilson Pickett, The Drifters, Kool & The Gang, Huey Lewis & The News, and many

more this band comes ready to please any audience.

7:00 P.M. – Music by Ryan Perry (Festival Headliner)

Ryan Perry has cemented himself as one of THE hot country acts in the Southeast. Opening

for Tracy Lawrence, Colt Ford, Toby Keith, Jamey Johnson, Ronnie Dunn, and more, Ryan is

versatile and entertains country-loving crowds of all ages. With a unique voice that you won't

forget and a charisma that is contagious, you will be eager to catch as many shows as you

can! With a raw and rugged talent, his charisma, and a fierce passion for quality country music,

Ryan Perry is quickly cementing himself as one of country’s next big stars.

Hailing from the mountains, of Western North Carolina, Ryan has a voice you won't forget and

a vibe that is contagious. As a singer and songwriter, Perry credits Travis Tritt, Chris Stapleton,

Morgan Wallen, Hardy, and Luke Combs as his biggest influences. Perry also credits his

parents as his guiding light providing “key lessons every single day and in everything I do.”

They instilled a strong work ethic, and taught him the importance of integrity, loyalty, respect,

humility, and compassion. These lessons have been the driving force in his life, musically, with

his family, and in everything he does. Perry has been on the road touring throughout the

southeast honing his performance skills playing clubs and festivals across the southeast. He

has headlined countless shows and also opened for some of country’s biggest stars including

Tracy Lawrence, Toby Keith, Jamey Johnson, Ronnie Dunn, and more. (Sourced from


The Festival Committee would like to express their sincere appreciation and thanks to the 48 th

Annual Waldensian Festival Sponsors:

Paramount Ford of Valdese

Valdese Weavers LLC.

UNC Health Blue Ridge

Edward Jones Financial: Steve Fisher

Grace Heights Health & Rehabilitation

College Pines Health & Rehabilitation

Meridian Specialty Yarn Group Inc.

Foothills Broadband

Bimbo Bakeries USA

Farris Insurance Agency

Lonon HVAC

Urgent Care of Mountain View/ Belle Vi Medspa

Unix Packaging

Heritage Funeral Service and Crematory

Sossoman Funeral Home

Faith Community Church

Burke OnSite Computer Solutions

Without your support, the Waldensian Festival would not be possible! Thank you!

For more information about the Waldensian Festival and other Valdese events, please go to

visitvaldese.com or call Valdese Community Affairs at 828-879-2129.