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Grandview Restaurant Celebrates 45 Years in Business with Anniversary Party on July 2

July 1, 2022 Folks are invited to Grandview Restaurant in Banner Elk to join the staff in celebrating 45 years of business. The restaurant will be hosting a 70s themed party in recognition of reaching this milestone on Saturday, July 2 at 5 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to dress in their favorite 70s attire to embrace the celebration. The Grandview Restaurant opened on July 2, 1977, under the ownership of Greg and Debbie Cairns, and a lot has changed over the years as their children have now been stepping into roles to give new life to the restaurant.

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Grandfather Mountain Announces Opening of Wilson Center for Nature Discovery

July 1, 2022 Grandfather Mountain, the not-for-profit nature park run by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, has announced that the new Wilson Center for Nature Discovery is now open to the public. Admission is included with your entrance ticket. The facility nearly doubles the size of public space in the current Nature Museum with 10,000 square feet of education space, including state-of-the-art museum exhibits, three classrooms, an ADA-accessible theater and expanded capacity for hosting conferences and community events (up to 300 people, seated).

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Legendary Highland Games Return to Grandfather Mountain’s MacRae Meadows

July 1, 2022 The long and storied tradition that is the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games returns to MacRae Meadows beginning Thursday, July 7 and lasts through Sunday, July 10. This year’s iteration of the beloved and historic celebration of Scottish ancestry and heritage marks the 66th anniversary of the popular festival that brings a “wee bit o’ Scotland” to the High Country. Throughout the weekend of events, guests can bear witness to the awe-inspiring spectacle of traditional Scottish athletic competitions, which includes a 5-mile footrace up Grandfather Mountain, Scottish heavy athletics, track and field competitions, Highland wrestling, the Grandfather Mountain Marathon and more.

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Blowing Rock Art & History Museum to Host Fifth Annual Blowing Rock Plein Air Festival

July 1, 2022 The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum will host their annual Blowing Rock Plein Air Festival from August 16-20, 2022, concluding in the Wet Paint Sale on August 20, 2022, from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Be on the lookout August 16-20th and you may notice scores of artists painting outdoors in the fifth annual Blowing Rock Plein Air Festival. “Plein Air” is a French term referring to the practice of painting from life and nature in the great outdoors. BRAHM will once again welcome 120 artists from over fifteen states to draw and paint the area’s many sights and splendors. In addition to watching artists at work over the course of the 5 day festival, BRAHM invites the public to view and shop the Wet Paint Sale on Saturday, August 20th, from 11 AM – 5:00 PM. Tickets are free, but timed entry spots must be reserved online. The sale will be held in BRAHM’s Alexander Community Gallery, located at 159 Ginny Stevens Lane, off Main Street in Blowing Rock.

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Watauga County Historical Society Announces the Lyons Brothers As Next Inductees to the WCHS Hall of Fame for the Month of June

July 1, 2022 For the month of June 2022, the WCHS is delighted to announce that the Lyons Brothers—Leslie, Clarence, and Earl—have been named as the next inductees of this inaugural class of the WCHS Hall of Fame. Best remembered as master stone masons who constructed numerous homes and institutional buildings throughout Watauga County during the 1930s and 1940s, the Lyons Brothers (who frequently spelled their last name interchangeably as “Lyon”) were three of the six children of William Coy Lyons and Martha Victoria Hodges Lyons of Boone. Little is known about the education or early careers of the brothers. Leslie McDonald Lyons (1900-1957) appeared in the 1920 Federal Census as a timber worker, but his whereabouts and those of his brothers—Clarence Manleth Lyons (1903-1981) and Earl Jones Lyons (1912-1984)—for much of the 1920s are unknown. By 1928, however, all three men were in Durham, North Carolina, where they remained during the late 1920s and early 1930s, completing masonry work on Duke Chapel (cornerstone laid 1930, completed 1932) as well as other buildings at Duke University.

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Artist Kent Paulette Paints and Donates Large Bear Painting to Grandfather Mountain

July 1, 2022 Artist Kent Paulette, recently donated a large bear painting to Grandfather Mountain.  It hangs permanently on the wall at Grandfather Mountain above the entrance to the newly redesigned Nature Museum at The Wilson Center for Nature Discovery. This project has been in the works since 2019 when artist Kent Paulette first proposed the idea of making and donating an original painting of a bear for Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. He met with Jesse Pope and Lesley Platek, and they discussed the upcoming large expansion of the Nature Museum and possible spots for the painting to hang.  This would be the biggest painting Paulette had ever done, 10 feet wide and 7.5 feet tall.

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Movie Review: Baz Luhrmann Creates Lengthy Tribute in ‘Elvis’ that Celebrates Showmanship

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July 1, 2022 A biopic of Elvis Presley is an absolutely perfect fit for director Baz Luhrmann. The filmmaker is known for a garish visual style that, while not “ugly” per se (and in fact can be quite beautiful if seen with the right eyes), always screams “excessive.” He captured the spirit of flashy rebelliousness in the party scenes in “The Great Gatsby” in 2013 and turned the “Moulin Rouge!” into a paradise of hedonism in 2001. Elvis, or at least his onstage persona, was all about exploiting rebelliousness and hedonism, and looking like the most ambitious kind of eyesore in the process. It’s a shame that Elvis and Luhrmann were professionals in different eras, because one wonders what they could have created if they had worked together. As it is, we have to settle for Luhrmann simply creating this lengthy tribute to Elvis. All the expected pieces of the music biopic are covered here. We follow Elvis (Austin Butler) from his well-meaning early days on the carnival circuit to a successful tour where he picks up some bad habits to superstardom and cockiness to a humbling decline to a roaring comeback to misplaced complacency to the utter destruction of his life. Rise and fall, rise and fall, tragic end. The closest thing I’d say this movie has to an “insight” about Elvis is a scene where he confesses that he fears that he won’t be remembered. His fame has been well-established at this point, and if he were thinking more clearly, he couldn’t possibly mean what he’s saying, but still, it’s a powerful reminder that everyone thinks like this sometimes.  By Bob Garver

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Boone’s Classic Outdoor Drama ‘Horn In The West’ Returns July 1 For 70th Season

June 30, 2022 Amid the sights and sounds of a High Country summer, Boone’s classic outdoor drama, Horn in the West, returns for a milestone 70th season this year.  Since its debut in 1952, this North Carolina tradition has drawn locals and visitors from far and wide for an atmospheric night of music, drama, and American heritage. The nation’s oldest Revolutionary War outdoor drama, Horn in the West, depicts the legendary Daniel Boone and courageous High Country settlers who played a vital role in America’s War for Independence. The show opens July 1st and runs through August 13th every night except Mondays. Gates open at 7:30 p.m., and the two-hour production begins at 8 p.m.

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Happy Birthday, America! Happy Birthday, Boone


June 29, 2022. Celebrating the independence of our country is not something to be taken lightly. During the past couple of years, especially — more than ever before — we have been reminded of how precious our freedom really is, and how quickly it can be taken from us. As we pause to pay tribute to this grand country of ours, let us not forget the foundation on which it was built. It was true then and it remains true today: We are one nation under God. Hopefully, those next few words that have been recited countless times over —indivisible with liberty and justice for all — will once again become a reality, rather than just a memory. And, there is much to be said for the phrase: “United we stand, divided we fall.” Again, we are reminded daily of how those words ring true. With much celebration in the air, literally, in the next few days, we also want to remember the Town of Boone during its 150th birthday and all the special commemorations surrounding this important milestone. There have been, and will continue to be many fun, informative and entertaining events throughout the year; hats off to the folks behind the scenes who have worked so hard, already, to provide a top-notch festival, musical and theatrical productions and other crowd-drawing show-stoppers that the area and its visitors have been able to enjoy. A shout out especially to Mark Freed, his staff at the Jones House and those serving on the 150th committee for all the time and effort they are putting into these events. One of the biggest — Monday’s Independence Day Parade —is coming up next! The Jones House and staff serve as the town’s hub for all things entertaining, which many people do not realize. There’s a lot that goes on in that lovely house on the hill! Make sure to say “Thanks” next time you are in town. We hope you enjoy this patriotic holiday with those who are dear to your heart and life, remembering always the ones who gave their lives to make our freedom possible. When you see Old Glory waving in the breeze, don’t take it for granted this time. Stand up for what’s right — and be proud! By Sherrie Norris

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Three Area Residents Dead in Jonas Ridge Monday Afternoon Shooting

June 28, 2022 A domestic dispute has left three people dead following a Monday afternoon shooting in Jonas Ridge. A call came in to Burke County Emergency Dispatch about the incident at approximately 5:30 p.m. on June 27, according to Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant. Polly Ann Keller, age 56, of the home, died at the scene. Emergency personnel attempted to transport Jeremy Dean Clark, age 32, of 7253 Parkway Road, Newland, and Anthony Simon Franklin, age 33, of 42 George White Lane, Newland, to Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville. However, both died during transport and were pronounced dead on arrival, the press release stated. By Tim Gardner

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App State’s Karolyn Martin Crowned Miss North Carolina 2022; Recent Grad Succeeds Fellow Mountaineer and 2021 Winner Carli Batson

June 28, 2022 Karolyn Martin, a recent graduate of Appalachian State University in Boone, was named Miss North Carolina 2022 this past Saturday, becoming the second Mountaineer in a row to attain the celebrated honor. Carli Batson, Miss North Carolina 2021 and, like Martin, a May 2022 Appalachian graduate, crowned her successor at the conclusion of the festivities in the High Point Theatre. A third App State grad, Hannah Harvey, Class of 2020, was named Miss Congeniality 2022.

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No Tax Increase for Fifth Consecutive Year and a 15-Cents Tax Decrease … Avery Commissioners Adopt 2022-23 Fiscal Year County Budget

June 28, 2022 The Avery Board of Commissioners have approved the county’s budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. The new budget is $32.4-plus million with an exact amount of $32,431,887.00. Taxes for Avery County residents will not increase for the upcoming fiscal year. In fact, in a milestone happening, there is a .15 cents tax decrease from the last fiscal year of 2021-2022. The county’s general fund tax rate is .40 cents per $100 valuation. That valuation comes from the county’s tax rate of 34.5 cents and 5.5 percent fire tax rate to comprise the .40 cents per $100 valuation.   By Tim Gardner

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High Country Cloggers Are High Stepping It to the Nation’s Capital For July 4th Parade

June 28, 2022 In March, they were performing at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland, known as one of the largest, if not the largest, events of its kind in the world. In just a few days, cloggers representing High Country Dance Studio in Boone will be reaching another incredible milestone as they travel to Washington DC to perform in the 2022 National Independence Day Parade. What better place and time to celebrate America’s birthday than in the nation’s capital? The dancers are so excited, said Vanessa Minton, who along with her daughter, Amber Hendley, continue to lead this troupe to greater heights than ever before. By Sherrie Norris

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Town of Boone Partners with High County Audubon Society for Tree Planting Event

June 27, 2022 On June 25, 2022, the Town of Boone partnered with the High County Audubon Society  (HCAS) to host a tree planting event at the Bolick Property. The Town of Boone originally  purchased the Bolick Property in 2016, and has permanently conserved approximately 31 acres  of the 54 acre property. The partnership HCAS began when the town, working with New River Conservancy and Watauga County, embarked on a restoration of the South Fork New River flowing by the Bolick Property. 

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Fiber and Paint Artist Susan March Payne and Photographer Lonnie Webster Share Edgewood Cottage as Artists in Residence June 27-July 3

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June 26, 2022 Fiber and paint artist Susan March Payne and photographer Lonnie Webster will share Edgewood Cottage from June 27 through July 3 during the Blowing Rock Historical Society’s Artist-in-Residence program. Susan March Payne’s distinctive fiber works combine landscape painting with quilt construction knowledge to create both functional modern quilts and decorative art quilts and wall hangings. Figures, musicians and, animals often are featured within the art quilts expressing the joy of playing musical instruments. Whether photographing individuals, events, or nature, Lonnie Webster (www.lonniewebster.com) has a passion for capturing life through photography. He believes each image must tell a story about the event, location, person, occupation, season, mood, or the milestones in life. Whether in the beautiful places he has traveled to, or right here at home in western North Carolina, Lonnie has captured amazing vistas, wonderful architecture and enchanting faces across the world. Come read the stories in Lonnie’s work and learn more about Susan’s work and process from June 27th through July 3rd at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock.

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First Ever Boonerang Music & Arts Festival in Boone Attracts Thousands of Attendees

June 24, 2022 One week ago, on June 17-18, the streets of downtown Boone came alive with thousands of people enjoying performances and activities at the inaugural Boonerang Music & Arts Festival. Presented by the Town of Boone and supporting partners after many months of planning, the free event was deemed a huge success by musicians, art vendors, festival staff and attendees alike. “The inaugural Boonerang Music & Arts Festival was a resounding success,” said Mark Freed, director of cultural resources for the Town of Boone. “Our community came together in every way – from the staff and presenting partners to the amazing volunteer crew; from the production companies, artists and organizations; and of course to all of the people for showing up and having a great time.” By Harley Nefe

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39th Annual Tommy Burleson Basketball Camp to be Held July 18-22 at Old Rock and Newland Elementary School Gymnasiums in Newland

June 24, 2022 How many basketball camps have clinicians and lecturers that include three former professional players, two former college National Players of The Year, two former United States Olympians, one of the winningest college coaches ever, three College Basketball Hall of Famers, three former North Carolina High School Players of The Year and another standout former college player who has both high school and college coaching experience? Well, the Tommy Burleson Basketball Camp, one of the High Country’s most annually anticipated sports events, will have this year. The camp will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon from July 18 to 22 at the Old Rock and adjacent auxiliary elementary school gymnasiums in Newland. In fact, the former gymnasium’s playing floor is named “Tommy Burleson Court” in honor of Avery County’s most famous athlete ever.  By Tim Gardner

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Musical Artists Announced for 2022 Summer Concert Series at St. John’s; Acclaimed Junaluska Gospel Choir Performs on July 3

June 24, 2022. The line-up of artists has been announced for the popular Summer Concert Series at historic St. John’s Church in Valle Crucis with monthly events planned from July 3 through Labor Day weekend.  A summer mission of Holy Cross Episcopal Church, the picturesque chapel, consecrated in 1862, is located in the Watauga County countryside provides marvelous acoustics for music with its wooden walls and floors forming a natural sounding board for live performances. The concerts showcase some of the High Country’s finest musicians along with regional artists of national prominence. Attendees linger until sunset to mingle with the artists after their performance. All concerts begin promptly at 5 p.m., are approximately 60 minutes in duration, and followed by a potluck supper. Suggested admission is $10 per person to offset artists fees, with children 12 and under admitted free of charge. 

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An Appalachian Summer Festival’s Weicholz Global Film Series Explores the World “From a Child’s Point of View”

June 24, 2022. Seeking to broaden perspectives, celebrate diversity and explore the world at large, An Appalachian Summer Festival’s Weicholz Global Film Series showcases award-winning and critically acclaimed international films. Each of this year’s films — from Belgium, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, and Soviet Estonia — tells a unique yet universal story, exploring themes such as childhood bullying, violence, and adolescent angst From a Child’s Point of View. This year’s series is curated by Dale Pollock — a renowned film critic, movie producer and film professor who served as Dean of the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he is now an emeritus professor. Pollock is a member of the Motion Picture Academy and sits on the Academy Awards nominating committee for international films.

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Grandfather Mountain Announces Ticket Sale Dates for Grandfather by Night

June 24, 2022. Grandfather Mountain, the nonprofit nature preserve operated by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, is bringing back its series of nighttime expeditions on the mountain this summer through its popular educational program Grandfather by Night. This unique experience on Grandfather Mountain lets guests experience the park after hours with education staff as their guides. Guests get to discover some of the park’s nighttime wonders, while stopping at its most significant destinations.

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Fire Department Pie Auction a Sweet Success

June 24, 2022. The annual Banner Elk Pie Auction was a sweet success on Saturday, June 18, at the Banner Elk Volunteer Fire and Rescue Station One. More than 50 homemade pies, cakes and other sweet creations were baked and sold by the women of the Banner Elk Fire Department Auxiliary. According to Auxiliary chairperson Alice Eggers, the auction raised more than $5,000.

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Troy’s 105 Diner Celebrates Long-Time Employee Sarah Grant’s 25 Years of Service

June 23, 2022 On the morning of June 23, 2022, the smell of freshly brewed coffee drifted through the air at Troy’s 105 Diner. Breakfast favorites like waffles, pancakes, eggs, and bacon were being cooked to order. However, this wasn’t just a typical day for the local restaurant. Around 9 a.m. more and more regular guests were walking through the front doors, and lots of whispering could be heard. Why were they gathering? To surprise long-time employee Sarah Grant, of course! Sarah Grant has been working at the diner for 25 years, since 1997, and the staff of Troy’s, including her husband Pat Grant who works in the kitchen, threw her a celebration for her years of dedication. By Harley Nefe

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Movie Review: ‘Lightyear’ Falls Flat with Action, Setting, Unfunny Jokes, and Characters

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June 23, 2022 The streak is over. For over a quarter of a century, Pixar has been turning out some of the most thoughtful, imaginative, entertaining movies on the planet. The studio’s annual output usually tops my year-end Best List, and I frequently hope that one of its movies will win an unprecedented-for-animation Best Picture Oscar. And even though I may not love every single one of their movies (“The Good Dinosaur” just barely scraped by), all have them have at least been good enough to warrant a recommendation from me. Until now. With “Lightyear,” I have to say for the first time ever that Pixar has let me down. A title card tells us that this was the favorite movie of Andy from “Toy Story” back in the 90’s. It was why he wanted a Buzz Lightyear action figure so badly. I have a hard time believing that this was ever a child’s favorite movie, and a harder time believing that any child who did see it would want a Buzz toy. All the outer space stuff in this movie? Fine, suspension of disbelief and all that. But that even one kid was sold on Buzz based on this movie Unswallowable.  By Bob Garver

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