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42nd Mid-Summer Group Exhibition Opening at Carlton Gallery; Opening Reception Saturday, July 27th from 2:00-5:00 pm

July 24, 2024 Carlton Gallery begins its 42 Mid-Summer Group Exhibition on Saturday, July 27 with an Opening Reception, 2-5 pm. The Opening Reception is always an ideal time to meet attending artists who will be happy to discuss their artwork. Nature’s Symphony: A Multifaceted Landscape Exhibition presents a collaboration of the gallery artists who render the landscape in diverse compositions from contemporary, abstract to impressionistic traditional.This exhibition showcases new paintings exemplifying the beauty and grandeur of scenic locales, vistas, waterfalls, mountain streams, and bucolic barns. Each painting is rendered in the artist’s unique style, color palette, and interpretation of the subject matter.

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ServeNC To Have Local Impact as Area Churches Join in On Statewide Project August 3 – 10

July 24, 2024 For a number of years, churches within the Three Forks Baptist Association have come together for designated days of community service. For 2024, what has been known as High Country Impact is joining with a statewide emphasis called ServeNC. And no one is more excited about the combined effort than Wesley Smith, Executive Director at TFBA. “We currently have 12 churches in our association that have signed up to join over 1,000 NC Baptist churches in serving our communities for this event,” he said. And it’s all happening locally August 3-10. As an example, Smith said, “Mount Vernon Baptist Church is doing several projects that week, one of which is serving the Bradford Park Community.” By Sherrie Norris

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: All Things “Gardeney”


July 24, 2024 . I’ve received ample confirmation that our readers enjoy the “hodgepodge” of recipes I’ve been including recently, featuring all things “gardeney,” rather than spotlighting one veggie or fruit at a time. I appreciate the positive feedback. We can become overwhelmed with all the produce that begins to appear at the same time, and I’ve been guilty of missing out on a few of the seasonal treats by doing the one-at-a-time feature. So, for the remainder of the season, you may see cucumber recipes thrown in with the tomatoes, berries with the squash, etc. It makes sense and I’m not sure why I’ve not thought about that before this year. I mean, a perfect summer plate will include sliced cukes, squash casserole, freshly cooked, seasoned green beans, tomato pie and a chunk of hot cornbread. So, here we go again. Hope you enjoy every morsel!. By Sherrie Norris

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Back 2 School Festival Urgently Seeking Donations, Sponsorships for August 10th Event

July 24, 2024 The 2024 Back 2 School Festival is coming up on August 10, and is still actively seeking donations and sponsorships. “We still need about $50,000 in order to make the festival happen” said festival coordinator, Kendra Sink. “We’re coming to the community to ask for help to make sure we can get everything we need for our students.” Every year the Back 2 School Festival serves hundreds of Watauga County school children whose families are struggling to meet the need of back to school shopping. Last year, over 1,800 children attended the festival, and received everything from backpacks, crayons, pencils, and 3-ring binders, to a new pair of shoes, and even a fresh haircut courtesy of volunteer stylists from the area.

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Summer Maintenance for Your Home

July 24, 2024  While we all are hard wired from childhood to think of summer as a time of relaxation and fun, it’s also a great opportunity to do some necessary items around the house that will help preserve your investment and make life easier for the transitions into fall and winter in just a few months. Things to think about doing in the summer months… By Jim Lewis, REALTOR, Blue Ridge Realty & Investments, LLC

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Blowing Rock Art & History Museum Awarded South Arts Presentation Grant

July 24, 2024 The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM) has been awarded a 2024 South Arts Presentation Grant. These funds will allow the museum to bring eighth-generation ballad singer Donna Ray Norton to Blowing Rock for a three-day artist residency in September 2024. Norton’s residency will take place September 12–14, 2024, and will consist of a Thursday evening craft talk at BRAHM, school visits on Friday to teach students a local ballad and a concert on Saturday the 14 at BRAHM. All the public programs associated with the residency will be free and open to the public. The programs will be one part education, one part cultural enrichment and all fun.

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Dance and Country Legends Wrap Up An Appalachian Summer Festival this Week

July 24, 2024 Paul Taylor Dance Company has been transforming modern dance since 1954. Founder Paul Taylor, who created 147 dances over the course of 64 years, is noted for the inventive, sometimes sardonic and frequently humorous dances he choreographed for his company. Brad Paisley is one of country music’s most talented and decorated singer-songwriters (as well as a highly acclaimed guitarist), boasting Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, and Country Music Association Awards, including an Entertainer of the Year honor. A member of the Grand Ole Opry since 2001, the West Virginia native has written 21 of his 25 No. 1 hits, his past works amassing nearly five billion streams.

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Come and Ride the Rural Roller-Coaster Roads at the Boone Gran Fondo on August 4

July 23, 2024 Sitting at just over 3,000 feet above sea level in North Carolina’s high country, mid-summer temperatures in Boone, NC, are among the most comfortable in the Southeast. Early August is a prime time to be in Boone! Nestled in the Western Carolina Appalachian Mountains the scenery in Boone is unparalleled with grand vistas stretching over 100 miles. The laid-back atmosphere of this western North Carolina college town is contagious. One of the smaller fields for a Gran Fondo National Series event, the Boone Gran Fondo has a supportive, family feel with great local food. There are distances of 24, 57 or 95 miles to suit all abilities of cyclists. The rural roller-coaster roads around Boone are a ton of fun, and quite challenging.

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2024 Tommy Burleson Basketball Camp Termed Another Success

July 23, 2024 The 2024 Tommy Burleson Basketball Camp held July 15-19 at the Old Rock and adjacent auxiliary Newland Elementary School gymnasiums in Avery County was termed a success by its namesake. Burleson said to High Country Press: “The camp had 85 combined male and female attendees from the third through the ninth grade this year.  While that is less than a year ago when it had a record number of attendees, it was still one of our highest numbers as well as one of the best camps I’ve hosted. All the players possess good basketball skills.  Some are already really good players and all have the potential to become excellent players as they have the needed physical and technical tools to do so. By Tim Gardner

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Writers, Young and Old Invited to Wordkeepers at the Ashe County Arts Center August 17

July 23, 2024 Writers, young and old!  Come to Wordkeepers, a gathering of writers in the High Country at the Ashe County Arts Center, 303 School Avenue, West Jefferson, North Carolina, on Saturday, August 17th, at 4:00 in the afternoon.  Refreshments will be provided, and a warm and welcoming audience awaits your own original works.  Readers are asked to keep their selections, from any genre, to under eight minutes, but please join us and share, or at least join us and listen.  If you would like to read, please contact Sandy Lassen at slassen@skybest.com so that she can reserve your slot.  

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Hospitality House 40th Anniversary Luncheon to take Place August 16 at Chetola; Featuring Internationally Recognized Trauma Survivor and Advocate Tonier Cain

July 22, 2024 Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina is thrilled to welcome internationally recognized trauma-informed care expert and survivor Tonier Cain as the guest speaker for its fortieth anniversary Hope Luncheon. Taking place 11:00 a.m. Friday August 16, 2024, lakeside at the award-winning Chetola Resort, individual tickets are $40 to attend or a table of eight may be purchased for $400. This is the agency’s largest annual fundraiser, and guests will be encouraged to give generously to reach their goal of $100,000. 

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Paul Taylor Dance Company and Brad Paisley Wrap Up An Appalachian Summer Festival

July 19, 2024 An Appalachian Summer Festival concludes its milestone 40th anniversary season with performances by two legends of their respective genres: Paul Taylor Dance Company, one of the modern dance world’s most celebrated troupes who is returning to the festival for a remarkable eighth time on July 24, and country-Americana singer-songwriter Brad Paisley, who brings his Son of the Mountains World tour to Boone to play in front of a packed Kidd Brewer Stadium for the festival finale on July 27. A special behind-the-scenes informal chat with some of PTDC’s artistic visionaries will be held on July 23. For information and tickets to the festival’s final events, visit AppSummer.org.

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Guest Column – Why My Sons and I Love the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

July 19, 2024 Once a year, the second week in July. Tents are raised, kilts are dusted off, sporrans and Sgian-dubh are properly placed. People start pouring in from around the country, even parts of the world to Grandfather Mountain, NC, all with one thing in common–the gathering of the Grandfather Highland Games. It’s a time when those with Scot-Irish heritage and those without can learn and research history.  It’s also a time for my sons–Laiden Gragg-Smith, Cam Gragg-Smith, Mason Gragg-Smith–and me to get in contact with our roots and a way to keep our heritage alive. We are made up of several different clans. On Saturday of last week (July 13), we were in attendance for the 68th annual Highland Games. By Tara Gragg Daniels

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Boone Area Chamber of Commerce Announces Encore as Its Latest Watauga Leadership Institute Program Beginning in September

July 19, 2024 In an effort to expand the course offerings of its Watauga Leadership Institute, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the creation of Encore, a class designed as a professional development enhancement for local business and community leaders. Launching in September 2024, Encore offers attendees the opportunity to expand their leadership knowledge, mindset, and skills. Each 90-minute session will provide deeper insight into topics introduced during previous Watauga Leadership Institute courses while encouraging the self-renewal and reflection toward guiding leadership principles.

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Grandfather Mountain and Kitty Hawk Kites Celebrate 50th Anniversary of First Hang Glider Flight at Grandfather with Commemorative Event at Linville, and Nature Park on July 27

July 18, 2024 Grandfather Mountain, the not-for-profit nature park run by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, and Kitty Hawk Kites are set to celebrate the flight of the latter’s founder and the first person to hang glide off the mountain, John Harris, with programming, a panel discussion and fun on Saturday, July 27. The two iconic North Carolina attractions and businesses are marking 50 years since that “first flight,” with activities open to Grandfather Mountain guests and included with regular admission. There will be no actual hang glider flights from the mountain during this celebration.

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Movie Review: “Twisters” Now Playing at Boone Regal

July 18, 2024 It’s usually at the end of the review that I talk about a film’s MPAA rating, but I’ll twist it up for “Twisters.” Or rather, for its 1996 predecessor “Twister” and its all-time terribly-worded rating justification. The film was rated PG-13 for “intense depiction of very bad weather.” Yes, the depiction was intense, and yes, the weather was very, very bad, but those twisters were so violent and destructive that “weather” seems like the wrong word to describe them. They may as well have used the term “extreme windiness.” The twisters are similarly violent and destructive in “Twisters,” which is much more sensibly rated PG-13 for “intense action and peril, some language and injury images.”

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Take a Look and See How We Are Doing at the Hospitality House of Northwest N.C.

July 18, 2024 Thank you for being one of our valued supporters. We want to convey our thanks and make sure that you know the positive impact that you are having in the community. and make sure that you know the positive impact we are having in the community. Below is our 2023 Annual Summary for you to view and/or download. Hospitality House of Northwest N.C. has been providing housing, shelter, food access, counseling, and crisis assistance to individuals and families experiencing homelessness and poverty-related crises since 1984 – and your support has made this possible. 

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Top to Toe 5K Race Coming to Mitchell County on August 3rd

July 18, 2024 The Top to Toe 5K is an adventurous descent from the top of a quto the bottom of the Toe River valley. Built for record chasers and families alike, this course begins at The Quartz Corp’s Chalk Mountain and ends at Riverside Park in Spruce Pine. The race proceeds benefit Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce, NC Mineral and Gem Festival. Each registered participant receives one free admission ticket to the NC Mineral and Gem Festival as well as a t-shirt!

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Let’s Take a Look at the Real Estate Stats for the First Half of the Year

July 9, 2024  t’s difficult to believe 2024 is now more than half over. As Mary Oliver said, “Time flies whether you’re having fun or not.” Hopefully, you’re having fun!  Before we move forward with the second half of 2024, let’s take a look at the stats for the first half. January thru June of 2024 saw 1000 closed single family sales in the High Country Association of REALTORS Multiple Listing Service. Of those 1000 sales, 867 were in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties, the area we look at most closely when analyzing High Country Real Estate. Of those 867, 219 were condos or townhomes and 648 were single family detached. List prices ranged from a minimum of $24,900 to a maximum of $11,885,000 with an average List Price of $606,269 and a median List Price of $460,000.  Sold prices went from a minimum of $37,500 to a maximum of $10,885,000 with an average Sold Price of $583,982 and a median Sold Price of $450,000. By Jay Coble, REALTOR, Blue Ridge Realty & Investments, LLC

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App State’s Frontline to Farm In-Person Training Completes Another Successful Year

July 17, 2024 Appalachian State University’s Frontline to Farm program has been serving Veterans since 2020. To date, 78 participants have completed its in-person training. The program also provides online resources, as well as internships and scholarships for specialized training across the US – all focused on supporting veterans’ transition to farming and promoting sustainable farming practices that mitigate climate change, promote food security, and build community. Funded by a NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant and supported by the Boone community, the 1-week Beginner Training and 2-day Alumni Training included classroom sessions on Appalachian State University’s campus and afternoon farm tours around the High Countr

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Ripe for the Picking!


July 17, 2024 . Summer in the High Country has been hot so far and the gardens are flourishing even with little rain, but there’s relief in sight, so say the meteorologists. A few passing showers have, so far, dampened the ground enough to give us hope that our gardens will survive and thrive. And, as soon as those welcomed drops arrive, it’s almost as if we can see the plants rise up with pride. And underneath the vines are those squash and zucchini, especially, that appear to double in size from one day to the next. We love seeing our grandchildren run to their garden and start looking for veggies that are ripened and ready for harvest. It’s especially endearing when they look in amazement at the goods that, just a few weeks ago, they helped plant as small seeds. I hope the wonder and excitement in their eyes never leave them. And I hope those garden goods continue to grow, despite the intermittent dry  spells, as well as the deer and ground hogs that are also enjoying nature’s buffet. So, let’s begin digging through the files for summer’s bounty and make the most of the fresh produce while we can. By Sherrie Norris

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