By Harley Nefe
It was a great and joyous day, as Beech Mountain residents and visitors gathered together to celebrate the town’s 40th birthday during a party on Saturday, May 1.
“We couldn’t ask for better weather,” said Beech Mountain Mayor Barry Kaufman. “We had a beautiful turnout for our 40th birthday. We’re very happy to have had all these people come out and celebrate with us.”
Throughout the day, around 400 people participated in the celebration.
This was one of the town’s most beloved special events, and it began around 12 p.m. with a craft fair around the ball field at Buckeye Recreation Center. There was also a community booth section where different town departments, businesses and nonprofit organizations held meet and greets with attendees.
One nonprofit organization that was at the event was Beech Mountain CARES, Inc. which started in October 2020 by husband and wife Alan and Janet Villanova.
“We’re really just friends reaching out to other friends on the mountain,” Alan said. “We have a lot of people up here full-time who are maybe alone, and what we try to do is provide a network where they can call us if they need something.”
Some tasks Beech Mountain CARES personnel can help with include personal care things like picking up groceries or prescriptions and offering rides to doctor appointments. Other jobs could be helping around the house and changing light bulbs or offering care and support by staying in touch.
“We helped one lady put up Christmas decorations and take them down,” Alan said. “We try to give people a helping hand in the Beech Mountain spirit.”
Alan said there are about 16 people they reach out to, and that they have a good list of volunteers that help accomplish all of the needs. For more information, contact Janet at [email protected].
To continue the day of festivities, there was a cornhole challenge, many recognitions, prize winners, DJ music, free food, cake and inflatables and activities for kids.
Veterans were also honored, and new recreation programs and other town information were shared.
“Our Town Manager Bob Pudney said some really nice things,” said Sean Royall, Executive Director of Buckeye Recreation Center. “He made a really nice speech with everything that happened last week with Sgt. Chris Ward and Deputy Logan Fox and followed up with the playing of ‘Taps.’ There really wasn’t a dry eye in the place after all that.”
To celebrate Arbor Day as well, there were 40 seedlings for guests to help plant around Beech Mountain at 1 p.m.
In addition, party-goers were invited to bring a small item or photo to place in the town’s time capsule.
“We got the time capsule here sealed, and we’re going to find a nice, special place to bury it,” Royall said.
Overall, the day consisted of lots of Beech Mountain neighbors getting together and having fun.
“It was great to finally reopen and have some normalcy after everything with 2020 and all the events that got shut down,” Royall said. “Everything lined up perfectly with the Governor’s Executive Order that started Friday with no masks being mandatory outside, so I think that really drew people out, and they were happy to see one another and give hugs. That was certainly one of the highlights of the whole day — we were happy to see people.”
Attendees were able to enjoy each other’s company and connect with each other over the shared love of the area and the special place that is Beech Mountain. However, that wouldn’t have been possible without everyone who helped plan the event.
Big thanks go to the Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria for supplying free pizza for most of the day and Fred’s General Mercantile for all of the hotdogs and hamburgers.
“Everyone had a great time,” said Jimmie Accardi, co-owner of Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria and Vice Mayor of Beech Mountain. “This all came together very nicely. Thank you to Sandy Carr, Chairman of Beech Mountain’s Tourism Development Authority, Beech Mountain’s Town Manager Bob Pudney, and everyone who worked together and got all this figured out.”
Royall also said a special thank you to Beech Mountain’s TDA, who funded the entire event and provided a lot of help.
“Thanks to our Tourism Development Authority, that board supplied a lot of help, volunteer work and funding for the event,” he said.
Last but not least, the event wouldn’t have been a success if it wasn’t for the volunteers.
“We had a lot of volunteers — a lot from the fire department and the town in general — to help put it on,” Royall said. “Big thank you to all of the volunteers involved.”
“We’re just trying to thank everybody,” Kaufman said. “I’m very proud, and we got a beautiful town. We want visitors to keep coming.”
While the town’s birthday party is over, the celebration of Beech Mountain’s 40 years as a municipality will continue throughout the year with special events and presents being gifted every month. For more information on upcoming festivities, visit https://beechmtn.com/40th/.
Photos by Ken Ketchie: