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Andy Sicard Named Superintendent of Grandfather Mountain State Park


September 16, 2021. Andy Sicard is the new superintendent of Grandfather Mountain State Park in Avery, Caldwell and Watauga counties, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. Sicard succeeds Kevin Bischof, who transferred to serve as superintendent at Gorges State Park in June. A superintendent is the chief of operations and administration at a state park or state recreation area with wide-ranging responsibilities for staffing, training, law enforcement, visitor services, natural resource protection, environmental education and community outreach. A native of Farmville, Sicard graduated from Wayne Community College where he studied parks and recreation. Before settling at Grandfather Mountain State Park in 2010, he served the Division of Parks and Recreation as a ranger at Cliffs of the Neuse and Elk Knob state parks.

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App State’s Department of Theatre and Dance Announces Slate of Eight Performances For 2021-2022 Beginning September 24

September 16, 2021. Appalachian State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance is announcing its 2021-2022 slate of eight productions showcasing the talents of Appalachian students, staff, and faculty, returning to the stage with in-person performances for the first time in 18 months. students who were encouraged to submit scripts to the committee. More than 80 titles were submitted for consideration.

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Barb Holdcroft of Special Olympics Presents Plaque to High Country Charitable Foundation

September 16, 2021. On behalf of the High Country Charitable Foundation, Barry Blake (left) and Jim Ferguson (right) accepted a plaque of appreciation from Special Olympics Avery County.  Barbara Holdcroft, Program Coordinator for the athletic programs, presented the award on September 8.  During the pandemic, 2020 grant funds permitted Special Olympics Avery County to modify programs encouraging virtual exercise and wellness activities.  Funds from prior grants sent athletes to both local and state competitions at no personal expense to the participants. 

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Frank and Kay Golf Classic Returning to Hound Ears Club on September 27

September 15, 2021. Get ready to tee off on Monday, September 27, 2021, 1:30 p.m. at Hound Ears Club for the annual Frank and Kay Golf Classic to benefit Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina. This signature event honors the legacy of philanthropy and leadership that former Appalachian State University Chancellor Frank Borkowski and his multi-talented wife Kay have bestowed upon the High Country since their arrival in 1993. “Frank and Kay have been an integral part of the mission and vision of Hospitality House,” said Hospitality House Chief Development Director Todd Carter. “The organization was only nine years old when they arrived in Boone, and they’ve continued to be active supporters now into the thirty-seventh year of the agency.” Men’s, women’s and mixed foursomes are invited to the four-person scramble format event that features a hole-in-one contest, prizes, gift bags, catered Tee House Grill Cookout lunch, on-course beer, soda and snacks and putting green awards ceremony.  

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Ahoy! App Theatre Launches Cinema Classics Series on September 19; Celebrate “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” with a Highly-Treasured Film

September 15, 2021. In the cinematic tradition of the historic movie house, the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC) premieres a new collection of programming following the heightened success of their inaugural BOONE DOCS documentary film series. “Cinema Classics Series” offers live and in-person beloved, family-friendly flicks throughout the fall of 2021. Their debut screening on September 19? Well, dead men tell no tales, but you may want to brush up on your seadog lingo as the first screening is held in conjunction with “International Talk Like a Pirate Day!” By Laura Voytko

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Zan Thompson is the Final Artist in Residency This Week at Edgewood Cottage Through September 19

September 14, 2021. Watercolor artist Zan Thompson will be spending this week at the Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock through September 19 as part of their Artists in Residency program. This is the final week of the program for 2021. Watercolor artist, teacher and observer of place, Zan grew up playing and experimenting with art in his parents’ Atlanta studios. Of all the mediums, he was most attracted to watercolor but found it more difficult than other medium. It was this love for watercolor that would bring him back again and again until he found the joy and excitement he had always expected. Today, Zan paints strictly in watercolor, is a signature member of Watercolor Society of North Carolina and teaches classes in watercolor. Zan’s themes include landscapes, seascapes/fishing, botanical, still lives, and abstract art. Come meet Zan from September 13th through September 19th at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock. Zan’s residency concludes this summer’s Artist-in-Residence program.

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Lees-McRae Ranked Among Top Regional Colleges in South for Undergraduate Teaching by U.S. News & World Report

September 13, 2021. U.S. News & World Report ranked Lees-McRae College 28th among regional colleges in the South in its 2022 Best Colleges guide. The institution is in the number 8 spot on a list recognizing the best regional colleges in the South for undergraduate teaching and for the second year in a row appears on the list for top performers on social mobility. “While rankings do not tell the whole story of a college, they can point to some key strengths, which in our case includes teaching excellence,” said Provost Alyson Gill. “Our faculty are deeply committed to bringing their disciplines to life in the classroom and connecting with our students. In a place that is In the Mountains, Of the Mountains, and For the Mountains, our faculty build experiences that extend beyond the classroom walls with a shared recognition that an essential part of student learning happens outside the classroom.”

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Boone Area Cyclists, Harmony Lanes, and Booneshine Present Bike-in Movie on Sept. 16


September 13, 2021. Boone Area Cyclists, Harmony Lanes, and Booneshine are partnering to present a bike-in movie at Booneshine on Thursday,  Sept. 16 at 8:00PM. Booneshine is easily accessible from The Boone Greenway. Park at  Clawson-Burnley Park (355 Hunting Hills Ln, Boone, NC) and ride all the way to the brewery! You can certainly drive in to the event, but we encourage you to ride your bike! Please remember to wear a helmet and ride with front and rear lights for safety! (Keep in mind that the movie will end after nightfall!) Bring a blanket and come enjoy a movie under the stars. We will be showing Peewee’s Big Adventure (Rated PG). The movie will start around 8 p.m.

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MerleFest Begins Thursday; Gate Information, Safety Protocol, and Lineup Updates

September 13, 2021. MerleFest, presented by Window World—Wilkesboro, North Carolina’s annual homecoming of musicians and music fans—starts this week. As the festival nears, organizers want to remind festivalgoers of a few important details. Festival gates will open at 1:30 pm local time on Thursday and 9:30 am on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.All attendees and participants will be required to show one of the following 2 options along with festival admission passes to enter the festival: 1. Proof of full vaccination. 2. Negative COVID-19 test result

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Keeping History Alive: Trade Mill & Native Heritage Days Returns September 18 and 19

September 13, 2021. Trade, Tennessee, a scenic community just a short drive from the High Country, has long been a destination for those seeking to know more about local history and experience the trip back in time that Trade has offered through the years. Large crowds from near and far were once drawn to the village for its annual Trade Days Festival. When that event came to a close in 2013, locals and visitors alike were saddened. Eventually, a dedicated group of community members came back together to revive what they knew to be an important event celebrating their heritage; in 2019 the group held its first revised celebration — Trade Mill & Native Heritage Days. It was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, but will be held once again on Saturday, Sept. 18 and Sunday, Sept. 19. By Sherrie Norris

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Appalachian State Falls on Late Field Goal to Miami Hurricanes, 25-23

September 12, 2021. Freshman Andres Borregales kicked a go-ahead 43-yard field goal with 2:04 remaining to lift the No. 22 Miami Hurricanes to a 25-23 win over Appalachian State Saturday night. The game was played before 45,877 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL and a ESPNU national television audience. By Tim Gardner

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‘Preacher Ed’ at Boone United Methodist Church Welcomes Everyone to Come and Be a Part of What the Church Community Has to Offer

September 9, 2021. On Sunday, August 22, members of Boone United Methodist Church were able to gather together again for in-person services, the first since new Senior Pastor Ed Glaize took over serving in that capacity in July. The church has held limited in-person services since October of 2020, but August 22 marked the first weekend where three in-person services were held. Glaize, 57, was born in Sacramento, California but did not spend a lot of time there. He spent his childhood growing up around Eglin Air Force Base on the western Florida panhandle where his father was a United States Air Force chaplain. Glaize attended nearby Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama and then ended up following in his father’s footsteps and joined the Air Force.    By Nathan Ham

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Tweetsie Railroad Begins Ticket Sales for Award-Winning Ghost Train

September 9, 2021. Tweetsie Railroad is preparing for the spookiest time of the year at the park and tickets are on sale today for Ghost Train®! The annual event, which started in 1990, will return on Friday and Saturday nights from Sept. 24 to Oct. 30. Each year, visitors travel from all over the Southeast to see North Carolina’s first theme park transform into a delightfully frightful destination and take in the spectacular fall leaf season in the Blue Ridge Mountains. From 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Tweetsie Railroad will switch from its daytime, Wild West theme to a haunted park complete with Halloween thrills and chills for everyone. Daytime park visitors can still enjoy all of Tweetsie Railroad’s Wild West adventures, rides, shows and attractions. Yet, when darkness sets in, the ghouls will come out to play and unexpected surprises will wait around every corner. The highlight of each evening is a ride on Tweetsie Railroad’s star Halloween attraction: the spooky Ghost Train. It departs into the night every 30 minutes.  

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Avery County Horticulture & Agricultural Fair Has Ultra-Successful Opening Day on Wednesday

September 9, 2021. The opening day of the Avery County Horticulture&Agricultural Fair Wednesday (September 8) was a smashing success and featured one of its largest-ever crowds in its near-30-year history. “All of us who work with the Fair were absolutely elated with our first day,” said Avery County Fair Director B.J. Beuttell. “We had more than 900 attend and we hope the crowds will continue to get larger each of the remaining three days or evenings of the Fair. Anyone will have a great time at the Fair, so please come on out!” By Tim Gardner

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App State Mountaineers Travel to Miami for Saturday Night Battle Against the Hurricanes

September 7, 2021. Appalachian State has a chance to earn a key top-25 victory this Saturday when the Mountaineers take the field against #22 Miami Hurricanes Saturday night. The Mountaineers looked ready for the season right from the start last week against East Carolina in Charlotte. Chase Brice completed 20-of-27 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns to help guide App State to a 33-19 win over the Pirates. App State’s ground attack made life even more difficult on ECU with a pair of Mountaineer running backs getting over 100 yards rushing. Nate Noel led the team with 126 yards on 15 carries and Camerun Peoples had 100 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Thomas Hennigan was App State’s top pass catcher with four receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown. Corey Sutton made his return to the field after over a year off recovering from a knee injury. He had four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. Jalen Virgil added two catches for 27 yards and Christian Wells had two catches for 22 yards.    By Nathan Ham

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Hunger and Health Coalition and First Baptist Church of Boone Collaborate to Expand Food Assistance

September 9, 2021. This fall, two pillars of the Watauga community are joining forces. First Baptist Church of Boone and Hunger and Health Coalition are partnering to expand the food assistance services available at the First Baptist Church on King Street, strengthening the local safety net and making food security more accessible for all residents. After meeting and planning throughout the summer, the two organizations are excited to announce the start of this new partnership in September 2021. This partnership will mark the unveiling of the “Hunger and Health Coalition at First Baptist Church” (HHC at FBC) hub of services located on the ground floor of the First Baptist Church, adjacent to ASU’s campus.

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High Country Homes Sales Continue to Decline While Land Sales Are Growing; Home Sales Down 21% From Last August But Prices Are Up

September 8, 2021. With the unofficial start to Fall in the High Country underway, Realtors® in the area are preparing for the second round of the selling season. But with residential inventory dwindling, buyers are moving on to land purchases. Land sales are growing as buyers are realizing that in order to have a piece of mountain living, their options may lead them to vacant lots to build their homes. median sales price for the month of August was recorded at $340,000, compared to last August, which saw a median price of $319,900. With residential inventory in the area continuing to be in short supply, buyers’ other option is to turn to land listings. median sales price for the month of August was recorded at $340,000, compared to last August, which saw a median price of $319,900. With residential inventory in the area continuing to be in short supply, buyers’ other option is to turn to land listings. 

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Ensemble Stage Presents Wizard of Oz Musical This Weekend in Banner Elk


September 8, 2021. A re-creation of the 1940’s Lux Radio Theatre musical adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” will be presented by the group at Ensemble Stage this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. As a tribute to the time of musicals and performances being broadcast live over the radio, the actors and actresses will perform a script similar to the original Lux Radio Hour script from over 80 years ago. The show will feature live music and on-stage sound effects just like how it would have been produced in the 1940s. The show will be approximately one hour and 15 minutes in length. Tickets are still available for each show this weekend. Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for children ages 16 and under. Showtimes for Wizard of Oz are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 10, 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 11 and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, September 12.   By Nathan Ham

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Avery Agricultural and Horticultural Fair Starts Tonight; Runs Through this Saturday Evening

September 8, 2021. enthusiast of agriculture, arts and crafts, animal husbandry or traditional ways of living, this event offers the county’s best in all categories, along with a few special events throughout its four days (nights).  There also will be various food and drink vendors set up throughout the fairgrounds to satisfy the appetites and thirsts of those attending. Gates at the 2021 Avery A&H Fair will open by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday (September 8); Thursday (September 9); and Friday (September 10).  They will open at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday (September 11). By Tim Gardner

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The Town of Boone Will Host a North Carolina Songwriters Showcase at the Jones House on Saturday, September 11

September 8, 2021. The Town of Boone will host a North Carolina Songwriters Showcase at the Jones House on Saturday, September 11, 2021. The free concert event will run from 12:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and will feature six singer-songwriters from the western half of the Old North State. “After wrapping up our Jones House Summer Concert series, we’re eager to carry this momentum into another weekend,” says Town of Boone Cultural Resources Coordinator Brandon Holder. “And this is a great opportunity to showcase some of the talented singer-songwriters from our region of the state.”

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Remembering Grandparents on Sunday, September 12


September 8, 2021. Yes, there is a special day set aside to honor grandparents, thanks to President Jimmy Carter who, in 1978, designated the first Sunday after Labor Day as Grandparents Day. It was a West Virginia woman by the name of Marian McQuade, who got the ball rolling initially out of concern for lonely residents in nursing homes who seemingly had been forgotten. McQuade also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap into the valuable wisdom and heritage their grandparents have to share, something many of us regret not doing when we had the chance.
For some reason, the day has never really gotten the attention it deserves, but hopefully on Sunday, Sept. 12, if you haven’t already, you can start a new family tradition by honoring the grandparents in your family circle and help make it a day to remember for everyone.
Get creative. After lunch, play a game. Ask them questions about their lives. Encourage them to share life stories from childhood. Don’t take for granted that they will always be available — because they won’t. Let your children get a glimpse into the past. Granted, what some of us “younger grandparents” currently consider ‘the good old days’ really weren’t that long ago for — and are probably not as interesting or colorful as those who lived much earlier. Perhaps, the stories of the older grandparents and great-grandparents will be more entertaining, but nevertheless, every grandparent deserves his or her moment to be honored in some way. Now’s your chance. If not by spending quality time together talking face-to-face or playing games, prepare a goody basket, drop by with a special treat or have something delivered to their doorstep. If nothing else, make sure you at least call and let them know of your family’s love and respect. Here are a few things you might want to add to your gift box. By Sherrie Norris

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App State Mourns the Passing of Former Chancellor John E. Thomas

September 7, 2021. John E. Thomas, who served as Appalachian State University’s chancellor from 1979–93, died Thursday, Sept. 2, at the age of 90. “Words cannot adequately express the profound impact the passing of Dr. John Thomas has on the Appalachian Community,” said App State Chancellor Sheri Everts. “He was the embodiment of what it means to be a Mountaineer: kind, service-oriented and community-focused. As a former chancellor, Thomas is remembered for recruiting a first-rate faculty — believing that strong, effective teaching should be supported by research and community service. John E. Thomas Hall on App State’s campus is named in his honor.

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