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Watauga Habitat for Humanity Raises $54,242 During its 2021 Big Kahuna Campaign

June 11, 2021. Four teams of community members competed to fundraise as much money as they could to support safe and affordable housing for Watauga Habitat for Humanity’s 2021 Big Kahuna Campaign. After a 10-week period that began April 1, 18 advocates raised a total of $54,242 to benefit Habitat’s affordable housing program. “I’m just so overwhelmed,” said Allison Jennings, Director of Development for Watauga Habitat for Humanity. “That’s the second highest Kahuna Campaign we have ever had. It was record breaking!” The team who raised the most money was crowned Watauga County Habitat’s Big Kahuna on June 10 at Booneshine Brewing Company. Watauga County Habitat’s Big Kahuna for 2021 is team Wonder Women including members Ella Jennings, Traci Royster, Nikki Crees and Allyson Medlin. Together, they raised $26,296 with Ella Jennings raising the most individually at $20,383. By Harley Nefe

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Avery Commissioners Adopt 2021-22 Fiscal Year County Budget

June 11, 2021. On June 7, the Avery Board of Commissioners approved the county’s budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The new budget is $31-plus million with an exact amount of $31,463,999. Taxes for Avery County residents will not increase. The county’s General Fund tax rate remains at 48 cents per $100 valuation and the fire tax rate remains at seven cents per $100 valuation. The county’s overall tax rate will remain at 55 cents per $100 valuation for the coming fiscal year. This marks the fifth consecutive fiscal year that there is no tax increase for Avery County taxpayers. A fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. The new budget total is an $1,226,128 increase from the 2020-2021 fiscal budget of $30,237,871. Commissioners (Chairperson) Martha J. Hicks, Vice-Chairman Tim Phillips, Dennis Aldridge and Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr. each voted in favor of approving the 2021-22 budget as presented by County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr. and County Finance Officer Caleb Hogan. Commissioner Blake Vance was absent from the meeting. By Tim Gardner

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AppHealthCare COVID-19 Update: Nearly Half of Watauga County Residents are Fully Vaccinated

June 11, 2021 Many things come to mind when the names Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer are spoken – savvy business acumen, dedication to their faith community, as well as support for the arts, women’s causes, animal welfare, higher education and more. Especially in the High Country, the Schaefer family name evokes gratitude for the incredible philanthropy, support and wisdom they give to their community. The Schaefers have been great friends to Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) throughout the years. They both recently experienced significant health challenges and turned to ARHS to walk with them through their journey of healing.

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Boone Greenway Skatepark Construction Could Happen as soon as August; Site Prep Expected to Happen Over the Next Two Months

June 11, 2021. The first phase of construction for the long-awaited skatepark in Boone has been approved and scheduled, according to the latest update from JP Pardy at Recess Skate & Snow. Site preparation and grading will begin in June and July with the expectation that the construction of the park will begin in August. Based out of Kitty Hawk, Artisan Skateparks was chosen as the company to construct the Boone Greenway Skatepark. They are currently completing a park project in Richmond, Virginia. Once they are done there, Boone is the next stop on the list. The design for the skatepark was created by Pillar Design Studios based out of Chandler, Arizona. They have designed numerous parks across the country. By Nathan Ham

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Mike Koenig and Evenlight Eagles are the Next Artists in Residency at Edgewood Cottage


June 10, 2021. Two artists will greet visitors at Edgewood Cottage from June 14 through June 20: Mike Koenig, landscape photographer and Evenlight Eagles, leather artisan. Mike Koenig is a nature and landscape photographer located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His work has been published in magazines including Blue Ridge Country, Smoky Mountain Living, WNC, and the official North Carolina Wildlife Magazine. Mike’s work most recently graced the Spring cover of Carolina Mountain Life (CML). Many of his original images represent years of traveling and shooting in and around the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mike would enjoy talking with you about his art and travels from Monday, June 14th through June 20th at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock.

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Woodlands Barbeque Restaurant Welcomed Music and Friends for Special Reunion Event

June 10, 2021. Woodlands Barbeque Restaurant in Blowing Rock was filled with sounds that left attendees tapping their feet to the tunes of a performance from the old-time string band The Corklickers on the evening of June 6. The Corklickers made an appearance from 4 to 6 p.m. as part of a special event for former High Country resident Julian Monroe Fisher who returned to Blowing Rock for the day to reunite with familiar faces. The Corklickers play old-time music from the 1920s-1930s, and the band started in 1976. Fisher was an original member of the band along with brothers Mark and Gil Adams who hadn’t seen Fisher in 40 years before the reunion. By Harley Nefe

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A Storytelling Tribute in Honor of Charlotte Ross, “The Legend Lady” – Blue Ridge Community Theatre Partners with SAHA for Benefit Performances June 19 to June 21 at 3 pm


June 10, 2021. Two cherished High Country cultural organizations, Blue Ridge Community Theatre (BRCT) and Southern Appalachian Historical Association (SAHA), are joining forces to honor the late Charlotte Tanksley Ross, a regional storyteller known as “The Legend Lady.” The groups will present excerpts from the award-winning play, “From My Grandmother’s Grandmother Unto Me,” written and performed by Ross’s daughter, Boone native Clarinda Ross, with live music by Appalachian ballad singer Mary Greene. Performances with take place outside at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, June 19 through 21 on the Coffey Cabin porch in the Hickory Ridge Homestead at “Horn IN The West” with a reception immediately following the Sunday matinee.

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ARHS Names Schaefer Family Patient Care Tower in Honor of Lead Three Million Dollar Gift

June 10, 2021 Many things come to mind when the names Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer are spoken – savvy business acumen, dedication to their faith community, as well as support for the arts, women’s causes, animal welfare, higher education and more. Especially in the High Country, the Schaefer family name evokes gratitude for the incredible philanthropy, support and wisdom they give to their community. The Schaefers have been great friends to Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) throughout the years. They both recently experienced significant health challenges and turned to ARHS to walk with them through their journey of healing.

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Town of Boone Will Not Have a 4th of July Parade This Year, But Will Hold Family Festivities and Fireworks at Clawson-Burnley Park

June 10, 2021 On July 4th, the Town of Boone will be celebrating Independence Day with fireworks and a community celebration at the Clawson-Burnley Park. In addition to the regular fireworks display, the public in invited to the space in the late afternoon for family-friendly fun starting at 4:00 p.m. The celebration will include inflatables and lawn games for the kids; music; food trucks; and a space for community groups to set up a tent and be part of the festivities. The Town of Boone will not be hosting the Annual July 4th Parade this year, but looks forward to celebrating with the annual Christmas Parade this December.

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Doc Watson Day 2021 to be Celebrated June 18th with a Livestream Concert and Recorded Performances from the Appalachian Theatre


June 10, 2021. Join the Town of Boone and The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country on Friday, June 18, at 7:00 p.m. as we celebrate Doc Watson Day 2021. This year’s event will be a free, livestreamed concert from the Appalachian Theatre in Downtown Boone. It will feature hosts Patrick and Kay Crouch, a video montage with greetings and pre-recorded performances from some of Doc’s friends and protégés, and a live concert with The Burnett Sisters Band & Colin Ray, followed by Liam Purcell & Cane Mill Road. The livestream will be viewable on the Appalachian Theatre website. https://www.apptheatre.org/

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Watauga County Community Musician Mary Greene Awarded 2021 Folk & Traditional Arts Master Fellowship, Receives $12,000 in Support of Lifelong Learning

June 9, 2021. One of Watauga County’s very own community musicians, Mary Greene, has been awarded the 2021 Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowship from South Arts, which is a nonprofit regional arts organization empowering artists, organizations and communities, while striving to increase access to arts and culture. “The South Arts Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellows is quickly becoming one of the premier accolades for traditional artists in the south,” said Mark Freed, Cultural Resources Director for the Town of Boone. Greene is one of only 15 artists across a tri-state region of Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee to receive the fellowship this year, and she is one of only five recipients in North Carolina. By Harley Nefe

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This Year’s Fourth of July Parade in Blowing Rock is Saturday, July 3rd Beginning at 10 am

June 9, 2021 As the High Country looks forward to the return of summer events, one of the holiday mainstays is sure to be welcomed with excitement: The Blowing Rock 4th of July Parade. Blowing Rock’s Main Street is known for being a vibrant gathering place, especially for holiday celebrations, and the community goes all-in on their parades. It’s always a fun event with a procession of families in costume, decorated vehicles & floats, musical performances, local officials, and a handful of characters. The Blowing Rock 4th of July Parade will be held on Saturday, July 3 at 10:00 am. The new time is not the only change for this year’s event. To improve audience safety and experience, Main Street will be closed to parking on the morning of July 3. Once the parade and spectators have cleared, around 11:00 am, parking will reopen.

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Blue Ridge Fiber Guild Spring Into Summer Show Now on Display at the Jones House

June 9, 2021 Residents and visitors to the High Country are invited to the Blue Ridge Fiber Guild’s exhibit, Spring Into Summer.  The event is scheduled at the Jones House located at 604 King Street in downtown Boone and promises to inspire both artists and crafters. The guild’s mission is to promote traditional craft and contemporary art in all fiber media and was chartered in the early ‘80’s with many of the original members remaining active.  It seems that fiber is part of this group’s DNA and will be on display in the show.  Members hail from Ashe, Caldwell, East Tennessee, and Watauga and meet monthly.  Most recently, the guild has held their meetings on Zoom and look forward to getting back to in person meetings in the near future.  No experience is necessary for membership and interested parties should visit the BRFG website at blueridgefiberguild.org for membership information, meetings and upcoming workshops.

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Revival to be Held This Week at Boone United Methodist Church; Everyone Welcomed

June 9, 2021 The community is invited to an outdoor tent revival at Boone United Methodist Church, June 10 and 11. It will be a time of prayer, preaching, music, and fellowship. Wednesday, June 9, a Pre-revival Prayer & Praise service will begin at 6:30 pm. On Thursday, June 10, fellowship will begin at 5:30 pm, with a bring-your-own picnic dinner. Music and revival worship will begin under the tent at 6:30 p.m.On Friday, June 11, fellowship will begin at 5:30 pm, with barbecue and all the fixins’. Music and revival worship will begin under the tent at 6:30 p.m.

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Fresh Strawberry Season Nearing An End for 2021


June 9, 2021. Since early May, roadside produce stands have tempted our taste buds with one of the season’s most-requested fruits – the strawberry. While we’ve been able to enjoy them by the gallon in recent weeks — turning them into everything from jams, parfaits and delectable desserts— this year’s “local” growing season is fast coming to an end. When I say “local,” I mean those luscious, juicy jewels coming from the piedmont area and beyond, making their way on the back of pickup trucks for us mountain folks to quickly claim and devour. We appreciate those who make this delicacy available to us every spring, and love knowing that through various means of preservation, we can enjoy them in some form for months to come. One of this year’s highlights, and a welcome surprise to many, was learning that local produce dealer, Allen Curtis, was able to man the storefront of his former business for a day or two doing what he loves best — selling fresh, juicy strawberries. We didn’t make it back to town for the occasion, but loved seeing his smiling face on social media. After dealing with Covid and its he debilitating effects for months, he was able to sell his berries one more time. I’m going to miss this year’s strawberries when they’re gone, but will share a few ways to use what we can in the coming days. And, of course, we can always pick up a pint or a quart at the grocery store year-round, but there’s nothing to beat the taste of those first juicy Carolina berries this time every year. By Sherrie Norris

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Second Hiker In Three Months Falls to Death In Linville Gorge

June 9, 2021. The North Carolina High Country’s Linville Gorge has again become the scene of a tragic accident. According to reports, Michael Patrick Ryva of Forest Park, Illinois, fell approximately 80 feet in the gorge and was pronounced dead at the scene by responding medical and rescue personnel.  Apparently, the fall happened around 12:25 p.m. Thursday, June 3rd, while Ryva, age 30, was hiking Rock Jock Trail. News outlets report that Burke County, NC Emergency Management officials received a call mid-day on June 3 concerning an injured hiker off Rock Jock Trail in the gorge. More than three hours later, rescuers found Ryva dead. By Tim Gardner

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Banner Elk’s Popular Summer 2021 Concerts in the Park Schedule Announced

June 7, 2021 The Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the much-anticipated lineup and sponsors for this summer’s Concerts in the Park series of popular musical events. Locals and visitors look forward to this free concert series each year, with shows starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Tate-Evans Town Park Amphitheater (map). Outstanding local and regional bands play fun dance music suitable for all ages, from Southern Rock to Oldies and Soul/Funk. Food vendors are on-site and there is a raffle to support the series. Learn more about the Concerts in the Park on the Chamber website at: https://www.bannerelk.org/concerts-in-the-park.html

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EQUIP 11U Baseball Team Wins Memorial Day Classic in Kingsport

June 7, 2021 The Boone EQUIP 11U baseball was back in action last weekend, winning the USSSA TN Memorial Day Classic in Kingsport, Tennessee, with more than 13 states represented on the rosters. In pool play, they defeated the Tri-State Titans out of Kentucky by a score of 9-4 and the Traveler Rest Rockies out of South Carolina by a score of 15-3. They advanced to the Gold Bracket, where they won the first game against the Bristol Crusaders by a score of 11-2 to advance to the Championship Game against the Diamond Reds of Knoxville. The Championship Game went down to the wire, and was tied at 7-7. In the top of the final inning, the Diamond Reds knocked in two runs on a line drive to center, before center fielder Chase Watts’ throw to catcher Zack Woody was fired back to shortstop Coy Greer at second base for the final out.

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Artists in Residence at Edgewood Cottage Presents High Country Modern Quilt Guild Beginning June 7

June 7, 2021 Over 25 different talented artists will show their work to include oils, pastels, watercolor, mixed-media, fiber-art, pottery, leather works and turned-wood creations. Fiber-artist Susan Sharpe finished her week at the Cottage on Sunday and is followed by the High Country Modern Quilt Guild beginning today, June 7. With a current membership of 25 quilters, the Guild’s mission is to support and encourage the growth and development of modern quilting through art, education, and community. Eight members have been juried to present this week at Edgewood Cottage. Their work will include modern design quilts, wall hangings, handbags, baskets and fiber arts. Come learn more about the Guild and these eight artists this week at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock.

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MerleFest Announces Full Lineup Including JOHNNYSWIM, The Milk Carton Kids and We Banjo 3

June 7, 2021 MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the full lineup for MerleFest 2021, which will take place September 16-19. About JOHNNYSWIM: Much like families, bands go through it all together. As a unit, they face life’s ups, downs, highs, lows, trials, tribulations, tragedies, triumphs, and everything in between. They change, learn, and grow as one. However, Los Angeles band JOHNNYSWIM doesn’t just seem like a family; it is a family. At the core, husband-and-wife Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano translate the memories, moments, and milestones on their journey into spirited, slick, and soulful anthems steeped in singer-songwriter tradition, yet amplified by alternative experimentation, rock energy, and pop ambition. JOHNNYSWIM will perform on Friday evening. About The Milk Carton Kids: Listening to The Milk Carton Kids —Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale—talk about their creative process, it’s easy to imagine them running in opposite directions even while yoked together. They dig at each other in interviews and on stage, where Ryan plays his own straight man, while Pattengale tunes his guitar.

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Mast Store Hosts Land Trust Day on June 5

June 4, 2021 On Saturday, June 5, the Mast Stores in Boone and Valle Crucis will welcome the Blue Ridge Conservancy (Valle Crucis stores) and the New River Conservancy (Boone store) to the stores in celebration of Land Trust Day. Volunteers will answer questions about the organizations and will offer information about the benefits of protecting land. Mast will donate 20% of the day’s sales to support conservation efforts. The stores will also support Blue Ridge Conservancy and New River Conservancy through a round-up effort that will encourage customers to round-up their purchases to benefit the conservancies during June 1 – 6.

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