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Arts & Entertainment BBQ festival attracts visitors & moonshiners

Mark from ‘Moonshiners’This year's Mountain High BBQ Festival and Car Show saw a healthy turnout of visitors and vendors. The rain was sporadic, but never set in for too long allowing all of those who gathered plenty of time to enjoy the festivities. The festival took place at the fairgrounds for its fifth year and Linda Harbuck of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce said that it was a very good turnout despite the moments of rain. Along with the impressive number of vendors that flocked to the Wayne Proffitt Agriculture Center, the many rare cars that lined up for the car show, and the barbecue connoisseurs, another attraction likely led to the high number of attendees. There were after all, a couple of celebrity "moonshiners" that attended the event.

Mark and Jeff from the docudrama "Moonshiners" that airs on the Discovery Channel were guests of the event and could be found Friday afternoon browsing the vintage cars that had been put on display to the public. The two men live in Robbinsville and along with others on the show produce illegal moonshine as part of the hit show that dramatizes the lives of moonshiners in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina. On the show, audiences are shown how moonshine is made and the techniques that are employed to evade the law.

While Jeff took a phone call, Mark admired the vehicles and talked about their routine over the last several years.

“For three years we've filmed just about every day. In fact, yesterday we were in Robbinsville filming,” said Mark. “But this is pretty much how we spend most of our weekends. We go to these events and we get to talk to fans. It's a job, but it's good.”

Though their summers are primarily dominated by filming and going to festivals all over, Franklin's BBQ festival was especially interesting to Mark because of the car show that was taking place.

“One of the things that I enjoy is old cars,” he said while looking under the hood of one of the antiques. “I can spend a lot of time just looking at them. They just don't make them like this anymore.”

In the summer months, the duo stays busy by mingling with fans at events like the one in Franklin, but despite the fact that it is considered work, Mark still enjoys himself. The weekend of Aug. 3, they went to Maggie Valley, with the next stop being Franklin and this upcoming weekend they will be going back to Maggie Valley.

“We're always going, but we find time to enjoy ourselves, too, and like any other job, we can set aside time for ourselves to take a break. Last week we had the show in Maggie Valley. I went to the Thursday night event which was sort of a VIP night,” said Mark. “After that, I went camping with my grandkids and caught a big mess of fish.”

When asked whether he enjoyed the new limelight that he's found himself in, he answered with a grin and kept admiring the motor he was looking at under the Chevrolet station wagon's hood.

“Well I guess I have to like it now, it ain't going to help much if I don't.”

On Saturday, Mark and Jeff had a booth set up so the public could approach them for a meet and greet. "Moonshiners" airs on the Discovery Channel and can be found in your local listings.


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