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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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Tri-Cities Airport to Host Job Fair on June 28

June 23, 2022. The Tri-Cities Airport Authority will be hosting a job fair on Tuesday, June 28. To keep up with increasing travel demands, companies are looking to hire multiple candidates for a variety of available positions. The fair, which features some of the airport’s tenants and aviation partners, will take place between 12 – 4 p.m. at the airport, located on the mezzanine (upstairs, pre-security) in the main terminal. Pre-registration is not required to attend the event and parking is free. Attendees are asked to park in the short-term parking lot upon arrival. Hiring managers recommend bringing multiple copies of your resume along with your ID. For additional information regarding the event, please contact Trevor Rice, marketing and air service development manager at 423-325-6030.

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Doc and Rosa Lee Watson MusicFest ‘n Sugar Grove Returns After Five Year Hiatus

June 23, 2022. For many years, the Doc and Rosa Lee Watson MusicFest ‘n Sugar Grove was a tribute to one of the most important musicians to ever come out of the western North Carolina Mountains. Beginning as a local Doc Watson Day commemoration, the festival kept its hometown feel over the years while still bringing in the best talent found in the American roots music world. The goal was to show appreciation for Doc Watson and his wife Rosa Lee in their home region. As far as the outside world goes, music lovers know of Doc Watson as the 7-time Grammy Award winner, a National Medal of the Arts honoree and a member of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Hall of Fame.

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A Time For Celebrating Our Independence Is Upon Us Just Over A Week Away


June 22, 2022. Independence Day is a little more than a week away and I think we’re all ready for a little celebrating. I don’t recall a time in my life when I’ve been more aware of— or more grateful for — my freedom as a citizen of the United States of America.While I could use this entire column and all the space available to talk about being an American right now, I will focus on food and recipes. But, I do hope that we all take a moment to reflect upon the foundation of our country, the price that was paid for our freedom and to make a personal vow not to take it for granted. By Sherrie Norris

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Rachel Deal: Avery County Volunteer Extraordinaire Remembered for A Lifetime of  Service After Passing Away on June 14th

June 20, 2022 As news began to spread throughout Avery County on Sunday evening, June 12, of an auto accident in which one woman was injured, quickly extricated and airlifted to Johnson City Medical Center, few people realized just what an impact it would ultimately have on the entire High Country area. Rachel Deal of Crossnore was driving in the Hughes community when she apparently suffered a stroke which caused the accident. She suffered various injuries, paralysis from the stroke and the need for comfort measures, as little else could be done medically. Deal passed away two days later, leaving a gaping hole in the heart of Avery County. By Sherrie Norris

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Highland Echoes Music & Dance Company Performs its Full-Length Stage Show “Highland Echoes” at the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country July 7-10 as part of the Highland Games

June 20, 2022. Residents and visitors in the Watauga County area have the chance to witness a music and dance spectacle like none other when the international Highland Echoes Music & Dance Company performs its full-length stage show “Highland Echoes” at the Appalachian theater of the High Country this July. The Highland Echoes show features 26 of the world’s best Highland Dancers and Celtic musicians. Dance director Sandra Gribbin and producer Jennifer Licko are incredibly proud to have realized the vision of showcasing highland dance and music in a contemporary fashion. Our goal is to reach today’s audience by connecting them to their story rooted in North America’s rich Scottish heritage.

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Remembering Sonny Sweet, A True American Hero Who Left His Mark on The High Country 

June 20, 2022 When he was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 2013, Sonny Sweet’s medical team estimated that he had no more than nine months to live. He proved them wrong in typical Sonny fashion, which surprised no one who knew him and his fighting spirit, his zest for life and his love for his family and friends. Still, with that death sentence looming over him for eight and a half more years, no one was ready to let him go. Born Worth Alfred Sweet, Jr. in Concord on July 14, 1939, he died June 13, 2022. A hero to many, his family shared: “He slipped into his final peaceful sleep at the tranquil High Rock Lake home – his Sweet Escape – a short drive from the High Country near Lexington,” where he and his wife, Bricca Sweet, spent the majority of their last happy years together. According to Bricca, Sonny didn’t so much “fight cancer” as “he ignored its menace” — and lived life to its fullest for those eight-plus years following the devastating diagnosis. “Years of cancer treatment so weakened him that his body simply failed his own expectations.” By Sherrie Norris

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Alysa Cantor and Waitsel Smith Share Edgewood Cottage as Artists in Residence June 20-26

June 19, 2022. Alysa Cantor, potter, and Waitsel Smith, watercolor and oils, share Edgewood Cottage as artists in residence from June 20 through June 26. Alysa Cantor is an artist and arts therapist living in the mountains of western North Carolina. For nearly a decade she primarily worked in the medium of clay, with a special interest in alternative firing techniques. More recently, she has explored photographic printmaking, experimenting with cyanotypes and lumen prints and would so enjoy meeting folks at Edgewood Cottage.

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Boonerang Music & Arts Festival This Weekend in Downtown Boone with Free Music, Beer Gardens, Food, Kid Activities and More

June 17, 2022. Town Mountain, Acoustic Syndicate and many more artists with ties to the High Country return to Boone for the free Boonerang Music & Arts Festival on Friday and Saturday, June 17 and 18. Presented by the Town of Boone and supporting partners, the event features live music at four stages, a kids zone, a vendor market, restaurants and food trucks, beer gardens, a silent disco and a film screening — all located in downtown Boone. “Boonerang is a community homecoming,” said Mark Freed, director of cultural resources for the Town of Boone. “Everyone who’s spent some time in Boone and has gone away loves to Boonerang back and spend some time in the High Country, and there’s no better time than the beginning of summer.”

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The Turchin Center to Host Variety of Visual Arts Exhibitions and Programs for Appalachian Summer Festival

June 16, 2022. An Appalachian Summer Festival offers unique and enriching arts experiences to audiences across the Southeast, combining world-class performing and visual arts programming in a spectacular mountain location in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. During an Appalachian Summer Festival, the Turchin Center hosts a variety of visual arts exhibitions and programs that dovetail with the performing arts. The community is invited to a Summer Exhibition Celebration on July 1 from 5–9 pm. During this kick-off to An Appalachian Summer Festival, the Turchin Center will celebrate five exhibitions in grand style. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the artists and gain an “insider’s view” of the featured exhibitions. This festive evening will include a gallery talk by Bart Vargas, live music by Ruby Goose, refreshments and a cash bar. The event is free and open to the public.  The celebration is generously sponsored by Allen Wealth Management.

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Ann Mellon Receives Girl Scouts’ Highest Honor

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June 16, 2022 Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont is pleased to announce that Ann Mellon, Boone, has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting. Mellon, a member of Girl Scout Troop 10492, created the Female Saints Badge Workshop- a series of four different sessions- and worked with girls ages 9-14 from across the United States to educate them on the lives and legacies of female saints in the Catholic faith. Through having conversations with others and making connections to these saints, the girls in the series felt more confident in their faith and everyday life. The Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, recognizing girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Each girl must dedicate a minimum of 80 hours to planning and carrying out her project, which must benefit the community and have long lasting impact.

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Movie Review: ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ Proves There is Still a Place in Moviegoers’ Hearts for Man-Eating Dinosaurs

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June 16, 2022 Even among the crowded 2010’s box office, “Jurassic World” managed to be one of the most successful franchises of the decade, after “Stars Wars” and the MCU. This despite my worries that “Jurassic Park” fandom ended after the disastrous third film in 2001. The first two films of the new trilogy made a combined $1 billion at the domestic box office, proving that there is indeed still a place in moviegoers’ hearts for man-eating dinosaurs. Now comes conclusion “Jurassic World Dominion,” which is opening in the 2020’s where almost everything underperforms. But this movie is entertaining enough that I don’t see why it can’t be an exception. The movie picks up four years after teenage clone Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) let a cache of dinosaurs out of her grandfather’s compound and into the world. She now lives in an isolated cabin with former dino-keeper Owen (Chris Pratt) and redemption-seeking former exploiter Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard). She needs to be kept hidden away from bad people who want her clone DNA, but she wants to go on adventures and live life. She needs rescuing roughly one minute after striking out on her own, as she gets kidnapped trying to rescue a raptor, also captured for its DNA.  By Bob Garver

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Happy Father’s Day!


June 15, 2022. Father’s Day is just hours away and a time for families to honor “the big guy” around the house. If your father is still alive, please make every possible effort to spend the day with him — and make every moment count. Your time will prove to be the best gift you can give him. (Unless, of course, you also take his vehicle to the corner station and fill it up with gas!) Like most holidays, Father’s Day can be bittersweet for many, especially those children, regardless of age, who have lost a father this year, and those fathers who have lost a child. It is also hard for those who have not always had the perfect dad or a good relationship with their fathers. I dedicate this column to my husband, Van Norris, who has been —and continues to be — the greatest father that anyone could possibly have hoped for. He stepped up to the plate many years ago to be the dad he didn’t have to be. He has been, and continues to be, the best there is. Happy Day, Dads! By Sherrie Norris

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Watauga Arts Council Invites Folks to Discover the Arts at Boonerang Music & Arts Festival!

June 14, 2022. In just under three days, the inaugural Boonerang Music & Arts Festival will kick-off in Downtown Boone on Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18. In connection with Boone’s 150th anniversary, Boonerang helps to feature musicians and artists who live here or who have roots in the High Country. As part of their mission to support and facilitate arts initiatives in the High Country, the Watauga Arts Council is partnering with the Jones House Cultural and Community Center, the Town of Boone, Tourism and Development, and the Downtown Boone Development Association, and more, to host this celebration of our rich cultural heritage.

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