By Nathan Ham
A picture-perfect weather day in the High Country brought close to 4,000 people out to the annual Symphony by the Lake at Chetola in Blowing Rock on Friday evening.
This was the 32nd year that the event has taken place and with low humidity and temperatures in the lower 70s, it was hard to ask for a better day for the musical event.
Charles Hardin, the president of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, was pleased with the turnout and expects to be near their goal for attendance once again.
“We felt like we had lots of new faces there this year, we know that our young professionals’ group was there and they were very popular,” Hardin said. That’s one of the reasons we had them there to try and bring that young demographic in and get them exposed to the event. I think it probably paid off.”
Hardin also noticed a larger-than-normal crowd on the far end of the lake, taking in the music and waiting to have one of the best seats in the house for the fireworks display.
“There’s always a crowd at the man grounds, but way on the far side of the lake was a huge crowd that we hadn’t ever seen before. Usually, there are a few folks over there but nothing like what we saw this year,” he said. “We’re going to work to improve the sound quality over there a little bit after seeing that. You can’t really see the performers from there but you can really enjoy the music.”
Karyn Herterich, owner of Serves You Right!, was the business winner for having the best tent while the High Country Breast Cancer Foundation took home the prize for having the best non-profit tent.
Hardin also gave a special shout out to Chetola’s building and grounds superintendent Charles Taylor as well as their food service staff for making the event a huge success.
“Charles is a rock star, he knows that whole place so well, he can do anything. They had done just a beautiful job making sure all the grounds were immaculate. There were new flowers, new shrubs, and fresh mulch. They all just did a bang-up job making it beautiful,” said Hardin.
Photos by Ken Ketchie