July 10, 2020 With special safety measures in place, the nearly 30-year tradition of the Avery Fine Arts and Master Crafts Festival will proceed as planned on the weekends of July 17-19 and August 14-16. The event, sponsored by Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria, will be happening at Sugar Mountain Resort and will feature some wonderful works of arts and crafts from local artists and crafters as well as other artists from all across the country. Sugar Mountain Resort is a new location for the festival. Everything will be set up in the parking lot below the resort lodge. Melynda Pepple, the Executive Director of the Avery County Chamber of Commerce, says that the festival will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 17. Sugar Mountain Resort will also be open during this time with golfing, mountain bike activities, the chair lift ride, and dining throughout the weekend. By Nathan Ham
July 10, 2020 It’s the height of summer, but with summer camps canceled across the United States, kids and parents alike are looking for something to do with the long summer vacation. This is why Inspire EdVentures, in partnership with WAMY Community Action Center, has established an exciting new program for the summer: Virtual Summer Camp, a program created for 3rd to 5th graders (but open to all ages) to find adventure, joy, and discovery in the natural wonder of their own backyards!
July 8, 2020 This week continues another busy round of virtual shows and performances for An Appalachian Summer Festival 2020, concluding with a performance by Canadian Brass on Sunday Afternoon. The online festival features numerous live-streamed and specially pre-recorded concerts, live chats with artists, film screenings, and virtual tours. All events are free and will be streamed via the website as well as the festival’s YouTube and Facebook channels. Film screenings require pre-registration, as registration capacity is limited. Some events will be archived for later viewing; others are only available for the scheduled date and time. Full descriptions about each event and how to access them are available at www.appsummeronline.org.
July 2, 2020 Despite several 4th of July events being canceled due to the coronavirus, there are still some fun events taking place throughout the HIgh Country for folks to enjoy this weekend. On Friday evening, the Blowing Rock Country Club will be holding a fireworks display at dusk. Parking at the club will be for members only, however, the fireworks will be able to be seen from other places in the town. There will be a drive-in fireworks show near the parking lot of Minneapolis Baptist Church in Avery County around 9:30 p.m. on Friday night Onlookers are asked to stay in their vehicles to watch the show. Sugar Mountain Resort will host its fourth annual Summit Crawl that will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 4. That kicks off a day of events at the mountain where families can enjoy chair lift rides to the top of the mountain, food and refreshments, live music, mountain biking and more.
July 2, 2020 Appalachian Summer Festival 2020 has started its month-long list of virtual events to give folks some entertainment throughout the summer during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online festival features numerous live-streamed and specially pre-recorded concerts, live chats with artists, film screenings, and virtual tours. All events are free and will be streamed via the website as well as the festival’s YouTube and Facebook channels. Film screenings require pre-registration, as registration capacity is limited. Some events will be archived for later viewing; others are only available for the scheduled date and time. Full descriptions about each event and how to access them are available at www.appsummeronline.org.
July 2, 2020 Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music welcomes friends and fans to join in a virtual celebration of traditional music, song, and dance with a series of greetings from members and artist friends. The first batch of the “Mountain Home Music Virtual Greeting Cards” will premier this Friday, July 3rd on Independence Day weekend. In lieu of our traditional July 4th Bluegrass and Brass Concert – an idea Joe Shannon conceived many years ago to combine bluegrass musicians with a patriotic brass band – the first series will feature photographs from Lonnie Webster set to an audio recording from a Bluegrass and Brass performance from years ago
June 30, 2020 The Southern Appalachian Historical Association is celebrating the Fourth of July in a revolutionary way at the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum on Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can begin the celebration with a tour of Hickory Ridge’s historic 18th and 19th century cabins and see how life was back then in the High Country. In order to follow social distancing guidelines, Marrena Greer, who is the operational manager said Hickory Ridge aims to break the event up into two separate groups, putting about 25 people together in the first group and another 25 in a second group around 2 p.m. Individuals have the opportunity to be welcomed to a continental army encampment, see a black powder rifle demonstration and colonial magic show and participate in a tomahawk throw and tavern activities. Actors from the Horn in the West Outdoor Drama will give the reading of the Declaration of Independence, and 13 toasts will be made to represent the thirteen colonies. By Harley Nefe
June 30, 2020 A spokesperson from Blowing Rock Country Club confirmed the country club will be holding a fireworks display on its own on July 3 beginning at dusk. However, there will be no parking available on the Blowing Rock Country Club properties, as the parking is reserved for members. As one of the favorite places people have watched fireworks in the past, Blowing Rock Country Club typically has prepared fireworks in conjunction with the Town of Blowing Rock. However, this year, the Town of Blowing Rock canceled its Fourth of July festival and parade. The Blowing Rock Country Club has also never set off fireworks on the Fourth of July, as the country club usually prepares them for the weekend after Independence Day. However, as July 4 falls on the weekend this year, the Blowing Rock Country Club decided and committed to holding its fireworks on July 3. By Harley Nefe
June 29, 2020 Sugar Mountain Resort’s July 4 activities are set for this upcoming weekend. It’s a vast outdoor setting that families can enjoy including chair lift rides to the top of the mountain, food and refreshments, live music, mountain biking and more. “The safety of Sugar Mountain Resort guests and employees has always been our top priority. We continue this commitment during the public health crisis by following guidance from the CDC and state public health officials to promote a clean, healthy and fun environment. And we encourage people to go our website at http://www.skisugar.com/ to see what is required before visiting and to follow the guidelines and procedures while they are here in order for everyone to have a fun time,” said Kimberley Jochl, who is the vice-president and director of marketing for Sugar Mountain Resort. By Harley Nefe
June 29, 2020 The 42nd Annual Valle Country Fair, originally scheduled for Saturday, October 17 in Valle Crucis, NC, will proceed as a virtual fundraising event in 2020. “COVID-19 cases are on the rise in North Carolina,” stated Valle Fair Co-chair Bob Gates. “The safety of the parishioners, volunteers, exhibitors, vendors, and community are our most important consideration as we make decisions for the 2020 Fair.” Since it was founded in 1978 by Holy Cross Episcopal Church to raise funds for community outreach, the Valle County Fair has collected over $1 million dollars to help High Country families in need.
June 26, 2020 Due to implications of COVID-19 and uncertainties regarding spreading the virus, issues surrounding proper social-distancing measures and precautions for large events, many Fourth of July celebrations throughout the High Country have been canceled. However, some still remain scheduled. By Harley Nefe
June 26, 2020 Based on Governor Cooper’s announcement on Wednesday, and with the safety of our volunteers, artists, and audiences in mind, we have made the decision to further alter our 2020 summer season. Our four professional summer productions have been postponed to our 2021 summer season and we have cancelled our 2020 Kids Summer Theatre Camp. Also, to help keep you entertained we’ve created an Ensemble Stage YouTube channel with audio/video recordings of some of our past staged radio plays and holiday shows and will be adding more selections periodically.
June 25, 2020 This is the last weekend for free scenic lift rides for Watauga and Avery Residents at Beech Mountain Resort. The popular round-trip scenic lift rides to Beech Mountain Resort’s mountaintop will be available for all other guests for $12 per person. As a special thanks to locals from Watauga and Avery Counties, the resort has been offering free scenic lift rides for the month of June.
June 24, 2020 The 2020 Back 2 School Festival will be held over two days this year, on Friday, August 7, and Saturday, August 8th at Watauga High School. While we are still uncertain about how the children will learn, the Back 2 School Festival remains committed to making sure every Watauga County student returns for the 2020/2021 school year confident and prepared with the tools they need to succeed. “Watauga County Schools anticipates even greater need this year due to COVID-19” said festival president Kendra Sink. “Many parents have lost jobs or are working protracted hours while our economy continues to recover. A lot of families in our area may be facing challenges paying for food, housing, and other necessities for the first time. And school supplies are a huge expense they may not be able to handle.”
June 24, 2020 Live Music Returns to North Carolina when the Jangling Sparrows fly into Town Tavern, 1182 Main St., Friday, June 26. Showtime: 5pm-8pm. Free. Gig is outdoors; weather permitting. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Paul Edelman fronts Jangling Sparrows, whose salt-of-the-Earth, Americana-flavored Roots-Rock has been favorably reviewed by such national publications as Glide Magazine, The Alternate Root, and Music Connection, among others. Paul Edelman, singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet and performer, fronts Asheville, North Carolina-based group, Jangling Sparrows. Edelman can be found sitting comfortably in Roots Rock, Country, Folk, Soul or Storyteller. His lyrics have a way of making people feel understood and his emotional vocal delivery underscores that ability.
June 24, 2020 Tanger Outlets Blowing Rock continues to host its First Friday Art Walk and Sounds of Summer live music with the same social distancing guidelines in place. First Friday Art Walk is a new local artisan market held the first Friday of the month, and the event features several of the High Country’s local artisans showcasing their unique, handcrafted goods. The event began June 5 and will go until Oct. 2, and it lasts from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. First Friday Art Walk is located in the central courtyard on Shoppes on the Parkway Road and is surrounded by food trucks, ice cream, a fire pit and lawn. Tanger Outlets Blowing Rock also hosts Concerts in the Courtyard every other Saturday that began June 6 and will go on until Oct. 10 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. The outdoor concert series includes everything from swing and oldies to folk, beach and shag music. By Harley Nefe
June 17, 2020 It is a rare occasion during these pandemic days when need meets opportunity through the arts, but that is exactly what happened in the creation of a unique fundraising event titled, “Re-Energize Watauga: LIVE from the Appalachian Theatre!” A collaboration between the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce and the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country, this virtual event takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 20 and involves live performances by prominent regional artists on stage at the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC). But what took place behind the scenes of this community-based fundraiser is noteworthy.
June 15, 2020 Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, North Carolina. Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Run, hike, climb, or crawl to Sugar Mountain’s 5,300-foot peak by way of the Easy Street, Gunther’s Way, and Northridge slopes on Saturday, July 4 when Sugar Mountain Resort hosts its fourth annual Summit Crawl. The Summit Express chairlift operates from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. (for 4th of July fireworks viewing) and The Rockabilly’s jam from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Quench your thirst and satisfy your hunger with food and refreshments in the base lodge all day long. Visit Sugar Mountain Sports Shop anytime between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Return later for a spectacular fireworks show which can be viewed from Sugar’s 5,300’ peak and the Typical Mountain Boys perform on the deck of the base lodge from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
June 15, 2020 On Friday, June 19, the Town of Boone will observe Doc Watson Day, marking the tenth celebration of the occasion. Doc Watson Day is observed annually on the third Friday of June to honor the life and legacy of local guitarist and singer, Doc Watson. “Since we have not yet been able to hold our summer concert series as usual at the Jones House, we have been releasing clips of past performances online,” says Freed. “After the level of positive feedback and support we have received, we hope to continue doing this throughout the summer until it is safe for us to have concerts live and in-person.” Accordingly, Boone’s Cultural Resources Department will release never-before-seen videos of some previous Doc Watson Day shows, including a few of Doc’s performances from the very first Doc Watson Day Celebration in 2011.
June 11, 2020 Due to COVID-19 concerns, all Chamber-sponsored* Summer 2020 events and the remaining 2020 After Hours have been canceled. These include: Family Fun Fourth of July Parade and Festival, Summer Concerts in the Park series, Community Yard Sale as well as June through November 2020 After Hours member networking events.
June 11, 2020 Festival organizers for Appalachian State University’s annual summer arts event, An Appalachian Summer Festival, announce the complete programming calendar for this summer’s revised virtual series. The online festival features a month-long selection of livestreamed and specially pre-recorded concerts, live chats with artists, film screenings, and virtual tours. The pivot from in-person to online was created in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the cancellation of live events for the first time in festival history. App Summer, which typically draws more than 27,000 visitors to the High Country each summer, will present its 36th season of special programming daily July 1-31.
June 9, 2020 The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country for a unique fundraising event titled, “Re-Energize Watauga: LIVE from the Appalachian Theatre!” This virtual event will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 20 and involve live performances by prominent regional artists on stage at the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country. Proceeds benefit the Re-Energize Watauga Fund, which exists to provide a rapid source of financial assistance for our Watauga County based businesses that have been negatively affected by COVID19.
June 4, 2020 Carlton Gallery’s Workshop Season began on May 26th with “Social Distancing” and expanded space utilizing a delightful canopy-tent. Oil, Acrylic, Watercolor-Gouache, Mixed Media Painting along with Drawing Workshops are conducted by standing gallery artists who are outstanding instructors. These workshops are designed to inspire and lift spirits while highlighting everyone’s creativity. Typical classes begin on Tuesday through Thursday, 10:00 – 5:00 with a one hour lunch break.
June 4, 2020 The Art in the Park show scheduled for June 13th has been cancelled due to outdoor gathering restrictions in the North Carolina’s Governor’s Phase II re-opening plan. Art in the Park is hosted by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce one Saturday a month May through October in downtown Blowing Rock. Each show includes over 90 artists showcasing wood, clay, jewelry, metal, glass, fiber, paintings and photography. The Chamber will make a decision month by month regarding the remaining Art in the Park shows based on guidelines from the state and local level. The next Art in the Park is scheduled for Saturday, July 18th
June 3, 2020 Due to concerns related to COVID-19, the Town of Boone has decided to cancel the downtown Boone July 4th parade and evening fireworks display at Clawson-Burnley Park. With uncertainties about the spreading of the virus over the next month, the need for adequate planning time, and issues surrounding proper social-distancing and precautions for large events, the Town of Boone has decided to error on the side of caution for these events. “While we are disappointed to cancel this year’s traditional Independence Day celebrations, the safety of our citizens and visitors takes top priority,” says Mayor Rennie Brantz