2nd Annual ‘Maters and Music Hit the Spot With Reece Farm Visitors

It was a perfect summer day at the Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center to celebrate the 2nd Annual ‘Maters and Music. The valley rang with music from two great local bands, The Shady Grove UMC Bluegrass Band and the Bennie Shook Family Band, while volunteers served juicy tomato sandwiches with iced tea. There was a lot of toe-tappin’ and lip-smackin’!

Tomato sandwich

White bread, mayo, farm-fresh tomatoes, and a little salt and pepper – Ah, perfection!

Reece Farm Volunteers making sandwiches

Reece Farm Volunteers ready to create sandwich magic.

Shady Grove UMC Bluegrass Band

Shady Grove UMC Bluegrass Band. Photo: Toni B. Jernigan

Two fiddlers.

Shady Grove UMC Bluegrass Band boasted two fiddle players.

Bennie Shook Family Band

Bennie Shook Family Band – Bennie, Justin, Susan and Stacy Shook. Photo: Toni B. Jernigan

Attendees at 'Maters and Music 2015

Enthusiastic visitors enjoyed the music and ‘mater sandwiches at the pavilion.

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2nd Annual ‘Maters and Music Day – August 22nd at The Farm



A rare bargain for a day of fun in the Mountains! The $4.00 admission price for this day includes tours of all Reece Farm and Heritage Center exhibits and facilities, the opportunity to share one of summer’s best treats – homegrown tomatoes, and enjoy some terrific music from local musicians, the Shady Grove UMC Bluegrass Band and the Bennie Shook Family.

While you’re visiting, don’t miss the amazing crafts, art, books, and other locally produced items in the gift shop. Take home something special to remember your visit.

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Mountain Gardens Day Provided Food for Body and Spirit!

On June 13th, lucky visitors to the Byron Herbert Reece Farm & Heritage Center had a chance to sample more than a dozen different cornbread recipes prepared by some great mountain cooks.  The cornbread was accompanied by other favorites – soup beans, green onions, butter, loganberry tea, and buttermilk punch.

Diners were able to eat next to the creek or in the pavilion decorated with spectacular examples of creatively crafted planters for summer, plus plants and garden books available for sale to help create garden masterpieces at home.   Master Gardner, Shirley Cole, demonstrated how to create them using “thrillers, spillers, and fillers.”  Six lucky visitors took home one of Shirley’s beautiful planters as a door prize for the event.

After the garden demonstration and cornbread tasting, Women of Heart provided a beautiful concert of native Cherokee stories and music.  It was a magical day!  Check out the photos below.

Make plans now to visit and share a day with your family and friends at the Reece Farm at one of our special events.

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2015 Bettie Sellers Poetry Contest Winner Announced

Eric S. Sutherland, poet, community activist, and author of pendulum, judged over 100 poems for the 2015 Bettie Sellers Poetry Contest, and he selected Cindy King’s (Lancaster, TX) “Prelude and Seating of the Mothers” as the winning poem.  Those receiving Honorable Mentions include “Giving up the Bones” – Lynne Shapiro, Hoboken, NJ; “Déjà vu” – Pat Landreth Keller, Hawkinsville, GA; “To Lake Chatuge” – Karen Paul Holmes, Atlanta, GA; and “I Have Two Legs” – Ronnie Hess, Madison WI.  Congratulations to the winner and those who received honorable mention.

The winning poem is here –Prelude and Seating of the Mothers C King

Cindy King’s work has appeared in Callaloo, North American Review, Black Warrior Review, American Literary Review, jubilat, Barrow Street and elsewhere. Her poems can also be heard at weekendamerica.publicradio.org, rhinopoetry.org, and bhreview.org. In 2014, she was awarded a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to attend the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She is the recipient of the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where she will continue to revise her book-length poetry manuscript this summer. She has also been selected to be an NEH Scholar and will participate in the Black Poetry After the Black Arts Movement Summer Institute at the University of Kansas. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she currently lives in Texas, where she is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas at Dallas.

Thank you to all who entered!

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BHRS Annual Meeting on May 30th

Members and friends are cordially invited to attend the Reece Society’s 12th annual meeting on Saturday, May 30, in the pavilion of the BHR Farm and Heritage Center near Vogel State Park.  The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m.  The general meeting will consist of a few reports, along with the election of directors for the 2015-2016 membership year.

Winners of this year’s Bettie Sellers Poetry Contest will be announced, and the winning poem will be read.  Lunch will once again be catered by Sodexo of Young Harris College.

We are pleased to announce Professor Ted Olson as the keynote speaker for the 2015 annual meeting.  A great admirer of Byron Reece, Professor Olson is a member of the Appalachian Studies Department at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee.  He is a well-published poet with two volumes in print, Breathing in Darkness and Revelations.  His scholarly interests include James Still, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Sherwood Anderson, and he has edited books about their works.  Additional publications include the scholarly study Blue Ridge Folklife.  As a practicing musician, his interests extend to publications in that area, and he has received three Grammy nominations for his work as a music historian.

Following lunch, attendees of the meeting will be invited to participate in the dedication of the Sellers Memorial Amphitheater, located on Wolf Creek below the corn crib.  This intimate setting, consisting of 31 stone seats and a performance area, was constructed in honor of Dr. Bettie Sellers, former poet laureate of Georgia, a Reece scholar, and a faithful member of the BHR Society.

A mailing about the annual meeting, including registration information, will go out to Society members in early May.  Others interested in participating can download a  2015 annual meeting registration form.


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2015 Bettie Sellers Poetry Contest Announced!

The deadline for entries has been extended to May 11! 

The Byron Herbert Reece Society is happy to announce that the Bettie Sellers Poetry Contest is open for submissions. The contest recognizes Bettie Sellers, the Georgia Poet Laureate (1997-2000) and longtime faculty member of Young Harris College.  Sellers, the author of Wild Ginger, Liza’s Monday and Other Poems, Spring Onions and Cornbread, Morning of the Red Tailed Hawk, and The Bitter Berry: The Life of Byron Herbert Reece, taught at YHC for 32 years, was an expert on Byron Herbert Reece, and a charter member of the BHRS.

Entry fee is $5 for three poems. Contest details and entry form are found here.

The winner of the contest will receive $200, and the winning poem will be published on the Byron Herbert Reece Society website.

Judging the 2015 Bettie Sellers Poetry contest is Eric Scott Sutherland. Sutherland is an ISA Certified Arborist, a community/event organizer, and author of two chapbooks and two full length collections of poetry:  incommunicado and his latest, pendulum.  A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is the creative force behind Holler Poets Series, a monthly celebration of literature and music since 2008.   Eric makes his home in the heart of Lexington, Kentucky.  Follow Eric and Holler Poets Series at www.ericscottsutherland.com

eric sutherland


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Looking forward to 2015

We’re resting now, and planning, and improving so we can be ready to go for 2015. Now is the time to reserve your our pavilion and grounds for your wedding, family reunion, picnic or other event. Please contact us at reecesociety @ gmail.com to get your event on our calendar.IMG_6509

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