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Speaker Series: The Spirits Still Move Them – Film Exhibition and Discussion

March 26 @ 10:30 am - 1:00 pm


Date: March 26, 2022

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Location: Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve

Speaker: David Weintraub, Executive Director of the Center for Cultural Preservation and director of the film


Most of what we think we know about moonshining history is wrong.  That’s one of the themes of the Center for Cultural Preservation’s new documentary film on regional moonshine history, The Spirits Still Move Them.  David Weintraub, award-winning director/producer of forty history films interviews nearly three dozen moonshiners and their families in Western North Carolina, East Tennessee and the Dark Corner of South Carolina to tell a story about moonshine history that’s never been relayed before.

According to Weintraub, “The myth that all moonshiners are violent, lazy, drunk criminals hiding in the woods wearing long beards and longer arrest records has been recounted by the media for over 100 years.  In reality, liquor production was hard, backbreaking work that only the most entrepreneurial farmers conducted which they did in order to survive difficult circumstances and put food on the table.  It’s a fascinating story and far more interesting than the myths and distortions we’ve heard.”

The film digs deep into Southern Appalachian history exposing the stereotypes and fabrications about mountaineers that have been fodder for movies and cable television programs for generations from the Beverly Hillbillies to the Moonshiner Show.  Says Cody Bradford, fifth generation moonshiner and owner of Howling Moon Distillery in Asheville, “People think all moonshiners were outlaws but it was the federal government that enacted an excise tax after the Civil War that poor farmers had to bear.  It was either starve or make liquor and it’s not difficult to understand which one they chose.”

Cody and his family are chronicled in the film as are moonshiners from Yancey County to Spartanburg County.  Most surprising to many is that many moonshiners were African-Americans, women and Native Americans.   And that moonshine played a central role in medicine since the Civil War.

Award-winning film director David Weintraub, will discuss and present his new film.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to make this an enjoyable and educational experience for participants, space is limited to 50 and pre-registration is required. Participants must show their vaccination card or a negative COVID-19 test taken within the 48 hours of the event, with a photo ID, and all must wear a mask when indoors. Please arrive before 10:30 to allow time for check-in. *This program is subject to change if things worsen with the pandemic.

As of 3/7/22, due to new CDC guidelines, Conserving Carolina’s COVID policy has been updated, and – provided our county’s COVID-19 community level stays in the “medium” to “low” level, determined by the CDC – we are no longer requiring masks indoors and there is no need for proof of vaccination and/or negative test.  We are still limiting numbers to half capacity, 50.   *This is subject to change if our community level increases or something unforeseen occurs with the virus.  Of course, we encourage participants to do what makes them comfortable.

Polk County is currently in the “Low” COVID-19 Community Level and the CDC’s current recommendations are:


*Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.


March 26
10:30 am - 1:00 pm
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Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve
179 Wood Thrush Lane
Mill Spring, NC 28756 United States
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