Front Porch Blog

Brown Mountain Lights Heritage Festival

Once again the mysterious lights will be glowing and gliding across the dusky slopes of Brown Mountain in Western North Carolina. And once again scientists, paranormal researchers, and the just plain curious will converge on upper Burke County to view these tantalizing and legendary lights. But this year things have changed. This year the lights attain celebrity status as the subjects of a three-day festival to be held in their honor. On the weekend of June 9, 10, and 11 the historic village of Linville Falls in the Blue Ridge mountains will host a festival whose main event will be evening tours to a nearby lookout point from which the lights have been observed for generations.

Activities planned for this first year festival include mountain music and storytelling, lectures on the legends of the lights and the results of the latest scientific investigations, crafts demonstrations, book, video, and DVD sales, and, of course the hospitality that has made Linville Falls a byword in Blue Ridge tourism. A Friday evening bonfire in the village will draw many who have seen the lights to an ³open mike² session to share their experiences. On the evening of Saturday, June 10, visitors will ride shuttle vans four miles along Linville Mountain to Wisemans View, perhaps the most popular vantage point for sightings of the lights. The following Sunday will feature a church service (interdenominational) at Wisemans View. The festival also honors the local Wiseman family. It was young Lafayette (or Uncle Fate) Wiseman who often viewed the lights from this ledge on the western side of the Linville Gorge and who passed on to his great-nephew Scotty Wiseman the tale recounted in the latter¹s1960¹s hit song, ³Brown Mountain Light.² The Brown Mountain Lights are perhaps North Carolina¹s most famous mystery, continuing to this day to defy scientific explanation. Seen most often on clear summer evenings after rainfall, they have appeared at times when no man-made light source could have been active in the area. Glowing balls of light in red, orange, green, and blue, the lights move across Brown Mountain, a long flat ridge about 2,600 feet in elevation, in unpredictable patterns. They have been the subject of U.S. Geological Survey studies and have added local color to a murder mystery, W. Anderson¹s 1940 novel, Kill One, Kill Two. Now, finally, the Brown Mountain Lights are receiving their deserved acclaim as the ³superstars² of this portion of the Blue Ridge.

For information on food and lodging, schedule of events, and links to further information on the festival, visit : or call Chris Blake at (828) 765-6846 or Shirley McNeil at (828) 766-6284.





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  1. john Garland on August 21, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Is this festival still going?

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