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Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine

Foxfire Celebrates 50 Years of The Foxfire Approach to Teaching & Learning

Mar 24, 2016 05:59PM ● By Ryan Frisch

Photo courtesy of

In 1966, Foxfire began when a teacher and his reluctant but innovative students conceived of the idea of writing and producing a magazine based on the stories, folkways, lessons and lore of their Southern Appalachian elders.  Since then, Foxfire has come to be known and loved across the U.S.—not just as the student-produced Foxfire Magazine, but also The Foxfire Book series of anthologies, specialized books that cover everything from wine-making to scalding a hog, and even a Broadway musical.  Inspired by the way Foxfire has engaged students, scores of teacher advocates across the country have embraced the Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning as a way to invigorate their classrooms with authentic, place-based learning strategies.

Today, Foxfire is a nonprofit organization headquartered on 110 acres of mountaintop land in Rabun County, Georgia. More than 12,000 visitors come annually to experience its original log cabin buildings, museum and heritage center.  Scholars regard Foxfire’s rich archive of oral histories, music recordings, photographs, artifacts, tools, and artwork as a definitive resource for Appalachian folklife. In 2015, Foxfire received the Governor’s Humanities Award in recognition of its ongoing contributions to education and heritage of the North Georgia Mountains.

In 2016, Foxfire will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary with three festivals, a teacher conference, the release of a 50th anniversary book at the Decatur Book Festival, the production of an original play by Phillip DePoy, a University of Georgia Library exhibit of newly acquired, priceless artifacts from the Foxfire collection, and more. This anniversary kicks off an aggressive agenda of new Foxfire education and heritage activities and celebrates a wealth of new Foxfire partners, including Piedmont College, the University of Georgia, the Georgia Council on the Arts, Georgia Humanities Council, and many others.

To learn more about Foxfire, our 50th Anniversary events, and our work in preserving Southern Appalachian heritage, visit or call 706-746-5828.

Foxfire 50th Anniversary Events

We are excited to announce a full calendar of events that will showcase the many aspects of Foxfire, engage diverse audiences, and build new friends and patrons for the next 50 years and beyond.

  • Foxfire Heritage and Folklife Celebration – May 7 – This festival of Appalachian heritage will feature 20 demonstrators of traditional crafts; visitors will be able to meet some of those whose oral histories were captured by Foxfire students over the years.
  • Foxglove, a play presented in partnership with the Alliance Theatre – June 25 –This play by award-winning playwright Phillip DePoy will be staged on the Foxfire grounds for one night only and will feature Foxfire student performers along with Alliance student actors.  (A follow-up performance will be in Atlanta at a date and location to be decided.)
  • Foxfire 50/30 Education Conference – June 23-26 – Celebrating 30 years of the Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning, Foxfire teachers from across the country will return to Rabun Gap-Nachoochee School where it all began 50 years ago to network and envision the future for this teaching method. Carl Glickman is keynote speaker.
  • Foxfire Folk on the Mountain Festival – July 1-2 – Foxfire’s annual folk art festival featuring nationally renowned visual artists and musicians will this year engage a larger array of artists and include literary and culinary artists as well.  
  • Foxfire at the Decatur Book Festival – September 3-5 – Foxfire will release its 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book as a featured event at the festival and will host a panel discussion and signings by some of the Foxfire authors; the Foxfire Boys will perform.
  • “Foxfire: 50 Years of Cultural Journalism Documenting Folklife in the North Georgia Mountains” – An Exhibition presented by University of Georgia’s Russell Special Collections Library – September-December, opening gala September 29 – Featuring photos, oral history recordings and videos, and antique hand-crafted artifacts, this exhibition will provide an overview of the history of Foxfire, the people, the publications, the land and the education programs that have made Foxfire a household name for the past 50 years.  
  • Foxfire Mountaineer Festival - October 1 This single-day celebration of the rich heritage of the Southern Appalachian mountains is held in downtown Clayton GA and features musical stages, local barbecue and an entire day of mountain-flavored games and contests for young and old.

To learn more about the 50th Anniversary events, visit 

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