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Today’s Email Announcements

1) Chambers of Commerce to Host Small Business Seminars in May

The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce will host free educational seminars during the month of May to help you and your business grow and succeed.

The following will be presented by the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Small Business Center and the Blowing Rock and Boone Area chambers of commerce.

MAY 21: Customer Service, 8:30-11:30 a.m. at Tweetsie Palace with Russ Seagle. Learn what businesses are doing to create memorable experiences that keep customers coming back time after time. No matter what business you’re in, you can create an experience that leaves a lasting impression and sets you apart.

MAY 28: Do you Really Want to Start a Business? 12 Key Suggestions, 1-3 p.m. at Fairfield Inn and Conference Center with Herman Metzler. Describe traits, skills and knowledge of successful entrepreneurs and provides self-assessment tools to gauge your readiness to start a business. This seminar covers the important topics to consider. Are you ready to start your own business? What does it take to get started?

Register online now.

2) Register Now for the May 23 High Country Kids Triathlon

The 2015 High Country Kids Triathlon will take place Saturday, May 23, at the Watauga County Pool and the Greenway Trails. There will be three age divisions: 8 and under, 9-12 and 13-18. Registration fees are $30. Register online at www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=2126094. For more information, call 828-964-9378.

3) Experience Naturalist Weekend at Grandfather Mountain Friday through Sunday

With flowers abloom and wildlife galore, Grandfather Mountain offers unrivaled beauty in spring.

Now, visitors have a sublime opportunity to experience this natural paradise at the annual Naturalist Weekend on May 15-17.

Throughout the three-day event, participants can scan for birds, browse for wildflowers on guided hikes or listen for owls in the night — all free with Grandfather Mountain admission.

The 2015 schedule also includes two special experiences with featured presenter Doug Elliott, a naturalist, storyteller and self-proclaimed “harmonica wizard” whose programs blend education and humor to help people better connect to the natural world.

“May is my favorite month on Grandfather Mountain. Flowers are blooming on a daily basis, trees are starting to leaf out and the temperature is near perfect,” said Chief Naturalist Mickey Shortt. “This upcoming weekend is one of the best times to experience Grandfather, and we’ve complemented the experience with an array of great programs. We’ve worked hard to prepare a lineup that offers something for every age, interest and ability.”

The event begins Friday, May 15, with a daylong spring bird count, followed by a stroll at the Linn Cove Viaduct at 2 p.m. and an evening wildflower walk along the Profile Trail.

Saturday’s schedule moves inside the gates of Grandfather Mountain for a geology-focused walk, a lively concert with Elliott titled “Woodslore and Wildwoods Wisdom,” as well as Junior Ranger programs, guided nature walks, Leave No Trace instruction and a stroll with Elliott focused on medicinal, edible and useful wild plants. The night concludes with an owl prowl to learn about native owl species.

On Sunday, early risers can meet at 7:30 a.m. for a birding expedition on the Profile Trail, followed by a sensory hike for all ages on the same trail. The event concludes with a wildflower walk at the Boone Fork Parking Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Participants can attend as many or as few events as they would like, and they’ll also have ample opportunity throughout the weekend to explore the mountain at their leisure.

Just stepping foot in this unique ecosystem — home to 73 species of rare and endangered plants and animals — will allow visitors to appreciate the qualities that led famed newsman Charles Kuralt to declare Grandfather Mountain the nation’s best place to be in May.

“On a clear day, you feel that you can see the whole world from up there,” Kuralt wrote of Grandfather Mountain.

All activities that occur inside Grandfather Mountain are included free with park admission, but some require advance registration due to space limitations. All activities that occur outside the park are free to all.

The event will be led by Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation naturalists with cooperation from the National Park Service, Grandfather Mountain State Park, Mast General Store and the High Country Audubon Society.

Visit Grandfather online or call 828-733-4326 for more information and a full schedule.

The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call 800-468-7325 or Grandfather online to plan a trip.

4) Wilkes Community College to Host Anniversary Celebration Concert on May 16

The public is invited to attend Wilkes Community College’s 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday, May 16 at the Doc and Merle Watson Theatre on the Wilkes Campus. This is a free event for the entire family.

The gates will open at 4:30 p.m., and a concert, featuring The Hit Men – former stars of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons – will begin at 6 p.m. There will also be children’s activities, and food vendors will provide food for purchase. Guests may bring a picnic basket and cooler but no glass containers or alcohol are permitted.

“This is going to be a wonderful celebration for our college,” said Dr. Jeff Cox, president of Wilkes Community College. “In 50 years, this college has grown from its three original buildings on the Wilkes campus into a multi-location college serving over 11,000 students each year in Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties. I believe that is worthy of a fabulous event. So, grab your lawn chair or a blanket and come out to have fun.”

The Hit Men will perform the hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Jim Croce, Tommy James & The Shondells along with other favorites from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, including songs from “Grease.”

Wilkes Community College, a member of the North Carolina Community College System, is a public, two-year, open-door institution serving the people of Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties and beyond. Established in 1965, WCC continues to build on a strong history of meeting the educational needs and cultural interests of our students, community and workforce. WCC prepares learners for success in a dynamic world.