Celebrating the Cumberland Gap heritage with the annual White Lightning Trail Festival

WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 6 p.m. on Saturday
Published: Sep. 16, 2023 at 6:40 PM EDT
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CLAIBORNE COUNTY, TENN. (WYMT) - Starting on Friday, people came to downtown Cumberland Gap, Tennessee in the heart of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park for the White Lightning Trail Festival.

The White Lightning Trail Festival Event Coordinator, with the Claiborne County Tourism Commission, Teresa Fuson, said that this is an annual event that brings people to the area to learn about the rich Cumberland Gap history.

“It started 15 years ago, and this is actually our 14th year because of the year of COVID and it has been going strong for 15 years,” said Fuson.

People who also came out to Cumberland Gap during the festival also learned some of the history behind what made Cumberland Gap what it is today.

“It is a celebration of our heritage, our Appalachian culture, and the white lightning trail which ran through the area for distillers to transport their moonshine,” said Fuson.

Pamela Eddy who owns the Old Town Cumberland Cumberland Gap Ghost Tours was on hand giving demonstrations telling the Appalachian history and tells the story of Daniel Boone who traveled through the Cumberland Gap.

“When we go back to the days of Daniel Boone which was actually 250 years ago this very year that Daniel and Rebecca and their families and some others tried to come through into the promised land of Kentucky and that land was the land of milk and honey,” explained Eddy.

Fuson also adds that there were more than 40 craft, food and moonshine vendors on hand throughout the two-day festival and they are looking to add more events next year.

“One thing I want to do next year is add a hollering contest like a husband hollering contest, also add an Appalachian slang contest because there are a long of Appalachian terms not a lot of people know about and those are some things I am wanting to add,” said Fuson.

Fuson said the last two years of the festival have seen double the attendance and organizers only see the numbers increasing next year.