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An experience rich event to honor two of Haywood County’s most outstanding local artists and historians. There will be a full day of activities, along with the award presentation at the resort to celebrate their work.

Haywood County natives Charles Miller and Earl Lanning have roots firmly entrenched in Smoky Mountain soil. Both men can trace their family tree in WNC back to the Revolutionary War era and both had ancestors who fought on the 1776 Rutherford Campaign and at the Battle of Kings Mountain. 

More importantly, 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. 

The Meadowlark Smoky Mountain Heritage Center and the Meadowlark Motel 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. 

Please join us at the Meadowlark Motel on Saturday July 31st for a fun day of music, seminars, displays and storytelling culminating with a dinner at J.Arthur’s Steakhouse on Saturday night .


1:00 PM: Welcome and introduction by Bob Plott and Mel Hankla

1:30 PM: William Ritter concert playing traditional 18 th century ballads and
hunting tunes, some of them on a fiddle made by Earl Lanning.

2:30 PM: Handcrafted still made by Charles Miller and talk by Charles about the
still, as well some of his other classic work.

3:15 PM: Display of frontier dress and accoutrements and talk by Mel Hankla

4:00 PM: Display of classic guns and sculptures made by Earl Lanning, discussion
of his work by Earl Lanning –moderated by Mel or Bob

5:00 PM: Presentation of the MSMHS First Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards
to Charles and Earl, with special comments by the House brothers, Mel, Bob and

6:00 PM: Book signing by Mel Hankla and Bob Plott

8:00 PM: Dinner party at J. Arthur’s Steakhouse, space is limited, reservations
required and family members get first preference.