By Josiah Clark
Elk Knob State Park, one of the most recent additions to the N.C. State Parks System, will host the grand opening for its new outdoor amphitheater this Sunday, May 24, from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
The event will include fun amphibian-themed outdoors activities for children, a ribbon cutting, live music from artists William Ritter and Sarah Ogletree and free cookies provided by Appalachian Cookie Co.
Beginning as an Eagle Scout project for Evan Miller, volunteers have worked tirelessly over the last month to construct the amphitheater, and it is shaping up to become one of the most exciting family-friendly attractions at Elk Knob State Park.
The amphitheater was constructed with the intention of hosting semi-annual ranger programs. Four times each month, Elk Knob State Park’s knowledgeable park rangers will host activities designed to encourage children to explore and learn about the diverse array of plant and animal life indigenous to southern Appalachia. This is the “Year of Amphibians.” Activities that focus on local amphibious species will be offered for children throughout the year. Regular acoustic musical performances and storytelling events in the amphitheater are also planned.
Tracy Minton, a veteran park ranger and the superintendent of Elk Knob State Park since 2012, is looking forward to this grand opening.
“We’re excited about the opening, and the potential that comes with having a new amphitheater at Elk Knob State Park. We’re a new park; we’ve only been around for 5 years, so we’re always trying to provide diverse programming for the public,” he said, “The visitors will enjoy learning about our rich southern Appalachia culture and history with the new amphitheater and programs.”
In order to attract as many visitors as possible, a wheelchair-accessible trail was added so that everyone can enjoy the new amphitheater. When asked about the tremendous amount of work that went into construction, Tracy Minton offered his thanks to all of those who selflessly volunteered their time.
“I would like to spread thanks to the Miller family, and Evan Miller specifically, who was the young man who started this for his Eagle Scout project,” Minton said, “I would also like to thank the trail volunteers and staff at Elk Knob State Park who worked tirelessly. Special thanks to the Appalachian Studies Department at ASU for recruiting the performers on Sunday, and for also providing future educational programming so that our visitors can have a deeper understanding of southern Appalachia culture,” he added.
For questions, email [email protected] or call 828-297-7261 to contact the rangers at Elk Knob State Park, which is located at 5564 Meat Camp Rd in Todd.
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