Blue Ridge Institute and Museum

"50 Years of Heritage"

The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum was created in 1973 by Ferrum College to document, interpret, and present the folk heritage of the Blue Ridge region. Since that time, the BRIM has grown steadily, working throughout Virginia and Appalachia while maintaining an emphasis on the western portion of the Commonwealth.

The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum has a longstanding national reputation for quality and authenticity.  From festivals and concerts to exhibitions and publications, the BRIM offers educational and entertaining programming.  The Institute’s audience spans all ages and backgrounds, enhancing Ferrum College’s educational mission.  A heritage-tourism leader, the BRIM is a major venue on The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.  In recognition of its accomplishments, the Institute was designated The State Center for Blue Ridge Folklore by Governor Gerald Baliles and the Virginia State Legislature in 1986.

The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum is part of Ferrum College’s Academic Affairs Division.  Along with fulltime and part-time professionals, the BRIM staff includes a number of student workers building valuable skills as part of their Ferrum College experience.


Blue Ridge Folklife Festival

October 26, 2024

On the fourth Saturday of October, the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival has presented musicians, moonshiners, craftspeople, cooks, motorheads, mule jumpers, horse pullers, coon dog racers, antique tractor buffs, and old-time gamers for a celebration of the rich heritage and traditions of the region.

Our festival participants are the real thing, sharing folk traditions that have been a part of their families and/or communities for years. The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival is the largest regional event of its kind in Virginia, and there’s nothing like it in the Commonwealth. We feature performers, artisans, foods, and activities not found at typical craft shows, fairs, and festivals.

The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College, the official State Center for Blue Ridge Folklore, produces the festival. The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival was awarded first place in Blue Ridge Country‘s Top Ten Fall Festivals Readers Poll for 2022, as well as a top three finalist of Virginia Living’s Best of Virginia: Southwest Virginia Festival awards.

Covering much of the Ferrum College campus and the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum’s living history farm museum, the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival has something for everyone. It’s a family friendly affair. Rain or shine, the festival will go on. As always, parking is free. Proceeds from the festival help to fund the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum and all of its programs.

Horse Pulls, Mule Jumping Contests, Coon Dog Contests, Traditional Crafts, Country Foods, Blue Ridge Roots Music, Moonshiner Still & Storytelling, Kid’s Folk Games, Custom & Vintage Cars, Sheep Herding Demos, Threshing & Baling Demos, Vintage Tractors & Engines, Log Skidding Contests and More!

Folklife Agriculture