Haywood County natives Charles Miller and Earl Lanning have roots firmly entrenched in Smoky Mountain soil. Both men can trace their family tree in Western North Carolina back to the Revolutionary War era and both had ancestors who fought in the 1776 Rutherford Campaign and at the Battle of Kings Mountain.
The Meadowlark Smoky Mountain Heritage Center and the Meadowlark Motel in Maggie Valley are honoring these two great Haywood County artists and historians with an entire day devoted to their life and art as well as presenting them with the first annual MSMC Lifetime Achievement Award.
These 21st century renaissance men are passionate about history and art and have led extremely interesting and colorful lives. Today they are widely recognized for their expertise in 18th century history, firearms and accoutrements, as well as local genealogy, metalwork and wooden and bronze sculptures — including a life-size sculpture of a mountain militia man created by Lanning at the Haywood County Courthouse.
Both artists are also renowned storytellers and have been featured in national magazines, newspapers and in the book "Colorful Characters of the Great Smoky Mountains" by Bob Plott.
Join the Meadowlark Motel from 1–10:30 p.m. Saturday July 31 for a fun day of music, seminars, displays and storytelling, culminating with a dinner at J. Arthur’s Restaurant Saturday night.
Tickets are $20, and free to motel guests.
Schedule of events
1 p.m. — Welcome and introduction by Bob Plott and Mel Hankla.
1:30 p.m. — William Ritter concert, playing traditional 18th century ballads and hunting tunes, some of them on a fiddle made by Earl Lanning.
2:30 p.m. — Handcrafted still made by Charles Miller and talk about the still, as well some of his other classic work.
3:15 p.m. — Display of frontier dress and accoutrements and talk by Mel Hankla.
4 p.m. — Display of classic guns and sculptures made by Earl Lanning, discussion of his work by Lanning, moderated by Hankla or Plott.
5 p.m. — Presentation of the first MSMHS Lifetime Achievement Awards to Miller and Lanning, with special comments by the House brothers, Mel, Bob and others.
6 p.m. — Book signing by Mel Hankla and Bob Plott
8 p.m. — Dinner party at J. Arthur’s Restaurant; space is limited, reservations required and family members get first preference.
10:30 p.m. — event ends.
For tickets, visit www.meadowlarkmotel.com/event/earl-lanning-charles-miller-tribute-weekend/ or to reserve a room and ticket, call 828-926-1717. The Meadowlark Motel is at 2878 Soco Rd., Maggie Valley.