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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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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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