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Downtown Blowing Rock Glows Under Illuminated Lights and Ice Sculptures

January 30, 2023 Downtown Blowing Rock, already aglow with white holiday lights, became even more illuminated with the addition of a 20 feet long and six feet high sign with marquee letters spelling out Blowing Rock WinterFest. Cary resident Stephanie Foster said, “What an amazing addition to the WinterFest celebration. “When we pulled into town, everyone in our group, we were like, we have to take our photo in front of that sign.” She added that when she went to take the photo they had to wait several minutes to get their chance because of the crowds around the sign. By Kris Testori

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Nearly 125 Brave (Or Crazy) Souls Plunge Into Frigid Chetola Lake

January 29, 2023 An 88-year-old in a white bear costume was the star of the 2023 Winterfest Polar Bear Plunge. When asked why she took the plunge, Blowing Rock resident Joan Hearn replied,  “Why wouldn’t I?” Hearn is on the board of directors at High Country Caregivers, one of the Polar Bear Plunge funds recipients. This is my 30th jump,” Hearn said. “It’s a lot of fun, and I’ve done it many years, even back when it was held at the duck pond.”   By Kris Testori

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Feeding Avery Families to Open New Operations Center as Anticipation Abounds for A Most Productive Year in 2023 After Last Year’s Success Detailed

January 29, 2023 Feeding Avery Families (FAF), Inc. is a non-profit Christian-based organization in Avery County dedicated to eliminating hunger by any means possible, including monetary donations, volunteerism and food donations. And this most worthwhile and needed ministry will be moving into a new headquarters in late winter or early spring this year. A definite opening date has not been set.  By Tim Gardner

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WinterFeast Returns at The Green Park Inn After a Two-year Hiatus

January 27, 2023 After a two-year hiatus, local chefs once again had the opportunity to show off their culinary talent at WinterFeast. The dinner, with two seatings, took place at The Green Park Inn Thursday evening. Tickets to WinterFeast sold out fast. “This was our first year back, and we were in a different venue,” said Blowing Rock Chamber’s President and CEO, Charles Hardin. “This is definitely the most popular event of WinterFest, especially with the locals.”  By Kris Testori

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Grandfather Mountain kicks off the 2023 hiring season with February 15 job fair

January 27, 2023 LINVILLE, N.C. — Grandfather Mountain is inviting folks to take their careers to new heights — literally. The Linville, N.C.-based nonprofit nature park and preserve, owned and operated by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, is hiring across its various departments for the 2023 season and beyond, offering mountains of opportunities for job- and career-seekers. The organization is kicking it all off with a job fair on the mountain on Feb. 15 from 2-5 p.m. The event will take place at Mildred’s Grill, the nature park’s restaurant located in the new Wilson Center for Nature Discovery. Nine departments from across the mountain will be represented at the job fair.

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Blowing Rock is About to Turn Into an Ice Sculpture Wonderland

January 27, 2023 Friday afternoon, a Penske truck will roll into downtown Blowing Rock around noon, loaded with 30 original ice carvings and more than ten large uncarved blocks of ice, in preparations for WinterFest. The Truck will park at Memorial Park, unload the carvings, and deliver them to each of the local Blowing Rock businesses and establishments that commissioned them.  The sculptures are crafted by Artisan Ice Sculptures, one of only five Master Ice Carvers in the United States. By Kris Testori

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Watauga County Schools Will Operate on an Inclement Weather Remote Learning Day

January 26, 2023 BOONE, N.C. –Due to snow and ice covered roads in parts of the district and the forecast for additional freezing precipitation, Watauga County Schools will operate on an Inclement Weather Remote Learning Day for Thursday, January 26th.  No students will report to school buildings.  Teachers and other instructional staff may choose to work remotely, if needed, for their safety.

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Local Author Pens a Winner With “My Blue Ridge Mountain Stories;” Compelling Cover Photo Helps Set The Stage

January 25, 2023 A local writer has a winner on her hands — or should we say she has a winner because of her hands, a vivid imagination, an ability to tell stories and write a great little book?
Whatever the case may be, Todd resident, Deborah Worley Holman, has done a great job penning “My Blue Ridge Mountain Stories,” an easy-to-read compilation of everything from her personal experiences to narratives that have been passed down through the years, and a few accounts of which her readers might never know if they should be filed under fact or fiction. And that’s part of the intrigue therein. By Sherrie Norris

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LETTERS / Letter to the Editor from Locally Supported Christmas Project

January 25, 2022 Letters to the Editor. By Casey Goodwin – Samaritan’s Purse / Dear Editor, I am writing to thank Boone-area residents for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with children in need this past holiday season. Generosity throughout contributed to a successful shoebox gift collection season at drop-off locations for the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child. Across the U.S., the project collected over 9.3 million shoebox gifts in 2022. Combined with those collected from partnering countries in 2022, the ministry is now sending nearly 10.6 million shoebox gifts to children worldwide.

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Cooking According to the Weather Can Be Tricky in these Hills


January 25, 2023 . Most of us old-timers in these hills tend to plan and prepare meals according to the weather. I can definitely say it’s been tricky, as has been the forecast, during the month of January. We have run the gamut  with rainy, icy, snowy, windy and sunny days  — and yes, so has my meal planning. In the last week alone, I have cooked the best chicken ever outside on the grill; I have made salads too beautiful to eat, filled with that leftover chicken and fruit, and we ate it in the glow of the living room fireplace. We have thoroughly enjoyed the proverbial icky-day tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich day (some of you know that’s my very favorite meal!) and today, with heavy rains, a little ice and winds visible from my window, I have a big pot of chili on the stove. Tomorrow will take care of itself, but likely it will be something with left-over chili. Maybe nachos or loaded baked potatoes or another bowl of chili with cornbread?  By Sherrie Norris

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School Superintendent Honors Avery Board of Education Members

January 25, 2023 School Superintendent Dr. Dan Brigman honoring board members for School Board Appreciation month and discussion of proper protocol about filling a current vacancy on the board were the primary topics during the regular monthly meeting of the Avery County Board of Education on Tuesday, January 10. By Tim Gardner

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Overflow crowd sees App State Wrestling pummel Duke, 42-3

January 25, 2023 BOONE, N.C. — Putting the pedal to the metal and not letting up until the end was a goal for Appalachian State Wrestling against Duke University on Jan. 24. Mission accomplished. Winning the first five matches by fall, technical fall, major decision, or by a comfortable margin established ample momentum for the Mountaineers to secure a dominating, 42-3 win in the team’s last non-conference dual meet of the 2022-23 season. The win against Duke is App State’s fourth encounter with an ACC team this season, the others being a win over then-No. 21 North Carolina and competitive losses against No. 7 Virginia Tech and No. 8 North Carolina State. By David Rogers

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Experiencing winter wonder at Grandfather Mountain

January 24, 2023 LINVILLE, N.C. – Grandfather Mountain, the not-for-profit nature park run by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, provides a unique experience for guests visiting in the winter months. While the rugged mountain is known for its wild weather this time of year, there are many magical moments to be had during what is often a quieter season.

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PRIDE & PREJUDICE Concludes App Theatre “Staff Pics” Jan. 31; 2005 Film Version of 1813 Jane Austen Novel Stars Keira Knightley

January 24, 2023 BOONE, NC – The month of January comes to a cinematic close at the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country with a modern version of a much-loved classic novel that has enthralled readers for over two centuries: “Pride & Prejudice.” 
App Theatre Executive Director, Suzanne Livesay, proposed the 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austin’s 1813 romantic drama as the final movie on the eclectic “Staff Pics” series. It will be screened at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31 at the historic theatre on King Street in downtown Boone. The movie runs just over two hours at 127 minutes in duration.

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Jason Carter & Friends Bring “Lowdown Hoedown” Tour to Boone: 5-Time Fiddler of the Year Debuts at App Theatre on Jan. 27

January 23, 2023 BOONE, NC – In his much-anticipated Appalachian Theatre debut, three-time Grammy and five-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) “Fiddle Player of the Year” JASON CARTER takes to the Doc Watson Stage for Americana Music at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 27, 2023. Jason Carter & Friends: Lowdown Hoedown Tour is the next in-person concert in the “LIVE @AppTheatre” series taking place over the winter months of January, February, and March 2023 at the venerable landmark on King Street in downtown Boone. Reserved seating admission is only $20 per person, plus fees and tax.

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Jazz at WinterFest Returns this Weekend at the Green Park Inn with Music and Dinners

January 23, 2023 For the first time since 2020, “Jazz at WinterFest” comes back to the Green Park Inn Friday and Saturday nights, January 27th and 28th, 2023. From 5 to 8 pm each evening, Charlie Ellis and his “Charlie and Company” trio continue their ongoing weekend gigs in the Historic Hotel of America’s lobby beside the Divide Lounge. Also both nights at 6 pm, local jazz great Todd Wright appears Friday with his trio and Saturday as a quartet in the hotel’s Chestnut Grille restaurant while diners enjoy a three-course prix fixe dinner. Access to those performances is by dinner reservation only ($31.95 per guest). Throughout the evening, Charlie and Company will perform during breaks between Todd Wright’s dining room sets.

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Tickets are still available for the Winterfest Beer Garden and the Rotary Chilly Chili Challenge

January 23, 2023 BLOWING ROCK, NC – WinterFest’s motto is “Don’t Hibernate, Celebrate!” and that’s precisely what you’ll be doing at the WinterFest Beer Garden and the Rotary Chilly Chili Challenge. Both events are located in the Meadowbrook Inn this year, directly following the Polar Bear Plunge. “It worked out perfectly to marry the two events together in the same location,” said Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce membership engagement director Cathy Barker. “This was perfect as they remain two distinct events, but guests can enjoy both. We chose this location as it is within walking distance to all of the WinterFest activities, and it’s indoors if unforeseen weather conditions occur.”   By Kris Testori

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Movie Review: “Missing”

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January 23, 2023  It never found enough of an audience to warrant a review from me, but I really liked “Searching” back in 2018. I would have given it a grade of B, maybe an A- if I was willing to look past some outstanding questions. The taut mystery-thriller followed a father’s search for his missing daughter, with footage consisting entirely of whatever was showing on the father’s computer screen – everything from photos and simple webpages to complex chats and video calls. The performances were heartfelt, the story took some interesting twists and turns, the eventual villain was smart and believable, and the ending made sense. Now comes sequel-of-sorts “Missing,” another disappearance mystery featuring the same screen-based style. The performances are once again heartfelt and the story takes some interesting twists and turns, and… that’s about the extent of my compliments.  By Bob Garver

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Sponsors are what make Blowing Rock’s Annual WinterFest happen!

January 23, 2023 BLOWING ROCK, NC- Blowing Rock’s annual WinterFest is sponsored by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, along with generous financial contributions from local businesses. “The cost of doing the event is very expensive,” said Blowing Rock Chamber’s President and CEO Charles Hardin. “Ticket sales rarely cover the expenses for these events,” he added.  In addition to ensuring WinterFest happens, many WinterFest events raise money for local nonprofits.  By Kris Testori

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From Blowing Rock to ‘Down Under’ through Richmond

January 23, 2023 MECHANICSVILLE, Va. — Blowing Rock’s On/ZAP Endurance head coach Pete Rea started looking for a ride to New South Wales, Australia on Jan. 21. That’s because one of his veteran team members, Andrew Colley, placed second in USA Track & Field’s National Cross Country Championships staged at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville, Va., near Richmond — and just four seconds behind unattached Colorado athlete, Emmanuel Bor. By David Rogers

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