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New observatory in certified dark-skies park opens in Yancey County

New observatory in certified dark-skies park opens in Yancey County



People in WNC can now experience the wonders of the night sky through a 34-inch telescope, the largest in the Southeast, at the Bare Dark Sky Observatory. (Image credit: MGN)


People in WNC can now experience the wonders of the night sky through a 34-inch telescope, the largest in the Southeast, at the Bare Dark Sky Observatory.

Come out on for the grand opening event on May 25, 2017. The rain date is June 1.

Activities will begin at 4 p.m. and a ribbon-cutting is at 7 p.m.

The Bare Dark Sky Observatory is named for Warren and Larissa Bare, and is located at the Mayland Earth to Sky Park (formally called the Energy Exchange) in Yancey County.

The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) designated the Earth to Sky Park as the first IDA certified park in the Southeastern United States. The new observatory will allow community members an opportunity to experience the wonders of the night sky, while providing the college's astronomy students with hands-on learning.

The observatory sits at an elevation of 2,736 feet and offers a 360-degree view.

The observatory houses the “Sam Scope,” named in memory of Samuel Phillips.

The Sam Scope is a f/3.6 StarStructure Newtonian telescope, with a 34-inch (0.86 meter) mirror. It will be the largest telescope in the Southeast in dark skies dedicated for public use for educational and public outreach activities.

Funding for the telescope was provided by the Samuel L. Phillips Family Foundation.

Beginning at 4 p.m. on May 25th, the public is invited to tour the Bare Dark Sky Observatory and see the telescopes. There will be educational videos to watch, outdoor games to play, and tours of the Earth to Sky Park available.

Bubba’s Good Eats will have a food truck on site at 4 p.m. for visitors to enjoy.

Because parking access to the Observatory is limited, MCC will offer shuttle rides to the building for tours. Guests are recommended to wear walking shoes as the ground is uneven.

Bring a flashlight if you plan on staying past dark to catch a glimpse through the telescopes, because lighting is limited due to the restrictions of being an International Dark Sky Association certified Park.

Following the grand opening event, the Observatory will be open by reservation and for events/classes over the summer. Groups are welcome to make a reservation.

For upcoming Observatory events, click here.

For additional information call 828-766-1233


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    Free Tennis Camp ? Toe River Racqueteers

    Free Tennis Camp – Toe River Racqueteers


    June 5th-8th - Mountain Heritage High School tennis courts - Burnsville, June 19th-20th - Brad Ragan Park tennis courts - Spruce Pine. Ages 5-9 and  Ages 10 and up  

    Register online HERE,   

    Please provide location(s) your child will attend, parent/guardian name and phone number, child's name and age, and whether or not the child already has a tennis racquet.  Racquets will be provided to children who do not have one.  Please plan to arrive at the courts 15 minutes prior to the scheduled camp time and bring water, sunscreen already applied, tennis shoes or other appropriate close-toed shoes, and a hat if needed. 



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      Registration Open for Penland Kid'sCamp

      Registration Open for Penland Kids Camp


      Registration for Penland’s exciting program of one week, arts-oriented day camps for children is now open! Penland’s Kids Camps for ages 3 through 18 begin on June 19th and run through August 4th featuring different camps each week. Young campers can cut, sculpt, and paint unique masks and puppets while exploring art from around the globe in Around the World in Five Days and older campers can build sets, create characters, and photograph movement to create their own film in Stop Motion Animation.  Other camps will feature screeenprinting, storytelling, music, clay, and nature exploration for all age groups.

      Most camps are half day, either morning or afternoon.  One full day camp, Let’s Make Furniture, will be a fun week of exploring how things are made while campers build their own bench, table, or cabinet. Age ranges vary for each camp depending on subject matter. Tuition for Penland’s Kids Camp is $100 per half day camp ($200 for the full day camp) and includes materials and snacks. Scholarships are also available.

      A complete schedule and descriptions of all the camps, and the application form are available at www.penland.org. For more information, call Holly Phillips at 828-765-2359.
      Penland School of Crafts is an international center for craft education dedicated to helping people live creative lives. Located in Western North Carolina, Penland offers workshops in books and paper, clay, drawing and painting, glass, iron, metals, printmaking and letterpress, photography, textiles, and wood. The school also sponsors artists’ residencies, an outreach program, and a gallery and visitors center. Penland is a nonprofit, tax-exempt institution which receives support from the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.


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        Penland Gallery Exhibition Features 32 Artists

        Penland Gallery Exhibition Features 32 Artists


        The Penland Gallery will open its 2017 exhibition season with an exhibition of pieces by thirty-two artists working in many different styles and materials. What these artists have in common is that they are alumni of the Penland Core Fellowship or the Penland Resident Artist Program, and they are all featured in Inspired, a recently published book that documents the programs. The exhibition runs from March 28 through May 14 with an opening reception on Saturday, April 1 from 4:30 to 6:30 PM.

        The exhibition will cover a broad spectrum of craft materials, including books, clay, glass,  letterpress printing, jewelry, metals, papermaking, photography, textiles, wood, and mixed-media, plus a video about a community art project in Indianapolis led by sculptor Meredith Brickell. Although the artists come from different parts of the country and from Australia and Japan, the show includes works by a number of local artists including potter Stanley Mace Anderson, ceramic sculptor Cristina Córdova, book sculptor Daniel Essig, blacksmith Seth Gould, steel sculptor Hoss Haley, steel and book sculptor Andrew Hayes, mixed-media sculptors Anne Lemanski and Christina Shmigel, glass sculptor Mark Peiser, and Mitchell County native Ronan Peterson—a potter who now lives in Chapel Hill.

        Included in the show is a dramatic steel and concrete chair made by Vivian Beer, who won last year’s grand prize on Ellen Degeneres’s HGTV show, Ellen’s Design Challenge. Jack Mauch will display a complex marquetry wall piece made from many dozen thin strips of wood veneer. Mark Peiser is presenting a remarkable piece cast from phase-separated glass, which shifts color tonality depending on how the light strikes. Daniel Essig created a fantastic wooden dragon that is adorned with tiny books.

        The Penland Core Fellowship gives energetic, motivated artists an opportunity to live, study, and work at Penland for two years. Core fellows work part-time for the school, performing tasks essential to its functioning, and they participate in workshops, which they can choose from Penland’s 135 annual offerings. The Resident Artist Program provides self-supporting, full-time artists with low-cost housing and studio space and an opportunity to work in close proximity with other artists for three years. The artists included in the exhibition represent the whole history of these programs. Mark Peiser and weaver Adela Akers were resident artists in the 1960s, photographer Alida Fish was the first core fellow in 1970, and Seth Gould and Andrew Hayes are current resident artists. All of the artists are still active and most of the work was made recently.

        The book Inspired: Life in Penland’s Resident Artist and Core Fellowship Programs includes the story of each program and conversations with the thirty-two artists accompanied by examples of their work. It is a beautiful presentation of contemporary craft and an exploration of the many life and career paths taken by these creative individuals. Copies of the book are available at the Penland Gallery.

        The Inspired exhibition takes place in the John and Robyn Horn Gallery. On display in the Focus Gallery is a smaller show titled Well-Designed Objects, which presents exquisitely crafted functional items including screenprinted hand towels and zippered bags, metal key chains, leather-bound journals, pewter cups, steel bottle openers, and much more. The Visitors Center Gallery has an ongoing display of objects that illuminate the history of Penland School. And the Lucy Morgan Gallery presents a selection of work by dozens of artists affiliated with the school.

        The Penland Gallery and Visitors Center is located at Penland School of Crafts on Conley Ridge Road, just off Penland Road in Mitchell County (near the town of Spruce Pine). It is the first building on your right as you enter the Penland campus. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM and Sunday, Noon-5:00 PM; it is closed on Mondays. For more information call 828-765-6211 or visit penland.org/gallery.


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          Toe River Arts Council


          THROUGH APRIL 29
          reception Friday, April 28, 5 to 7pm

          Spruce Pine Gallery
          269 Oak Avenue

          APRIL 8-MAY 6

          Burnsville Gallery
          102 West Main Street

          Galleries open Tuesday-Saturday 10:30 to 5pm

          8AM to 5PM
          In and around Burnsville
          Rain or Shine | All ages welcome
          For more information email or call 828.682.7215
          For the past few years, Penland has hosted a Master Blacksmith Curated Show. 2017 Master Blacksmith Lee Sauder and his invitees—Peter Joseph Braspennix, Fred Crist, David Ponsler, and Haley Woodward will share the TRAC Arts Resource Center for the 1st time in “Speaking Volumes” that runs from April 27 through Festival day, the 29th. 

          JULY 8, 2017

          LIVE EVENT
          Auction begins at 7:30PM

          $40 PER PERSON

          SILENT EVENT
          reception 4-6PM

           Burnsville Town Center

          And in conjunction with the Benefit Auction : 
          2nd ANNUAL 8" X 8" EXHIBIT
          Call for donations

          JUNE 17-JULY 7
          Spruce Pine TRAC Gallery
          269 Oak Avenue

          We provide the frames, you provide the creativity. 
          Email or 828.682.7215  |  828.765.0520

          CASSIE FLOAN

          Look at the world through a different lens.
          Mon, April 10
          children 6+
          $10 per child

          Work together to create Friendship Mandalas.
          Mon, May 8
          children 10+
          $10 per child

          Burnsville TRAC Gallery [upstairs]
          Space is limited, call 828.712.1510
          APRIL 7 & 8

          Parkway Playhouse Theatre
          202 Green Mountain Dr
          Email or call 828.682.4285

          Mica is open!  Thurs to Sat, 10-5/Sun, 12-5—a must see destination for those who appreciate the handmade.  Stop by, meet an artist, and celebrate spring! 37 N. Mitchell Ave, Bakersville. For more info, visit the website or call 828.688.6422.

          In collaboration with TRAC, Mayland Community College’s Small Business Center offers classes for artists. All are at the Arts Resource Center [ARC] in Spruce Pine [above the TRAC Gallery; entrance in back]. Classes are FREE, but you must register. Please go to MCC Small Business Center, search for your class by location/date, and click the “Register” link. Also call 828.766.1295 or e-mail Allen Cook.

          Wed, Apr 12 : Help Customers Find Your Studio [5:30-7:30pm] NEW!

          Wed, Apr 26 : How to Sell Your Arts and Crafts at Shows [5:30-7:30pm] 

          Wed, May 10: Business Tips from Wildkitty [5:30-7:30pm]

          The Choir of Trinity Episcopal Church, Spruce Pine  has an opening for a tenor section leader.  The Choir sings Sundays between August and June and the occasional evening service.  Christmas Eve and Easter are required.  Compensation is based on experience.  Interested applicants, please contact Robbie Bell or 828-434-0353.


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            Roots run deep at Yancey County's first craft brewery, Homeplace Beer Co.

            Roots run deep at Yancey County’s first craft brewery, Homeplace Beer Co.

            in Asheville beer / feature — by — January 18, 2017

            Listen to John Silver talk about his new venture and he’ll tell you all about the basics of starting a new business.

            His new brewery, Homeplace Beer Co., is Yancey County’s first craft brewery. (The town approved beer and wine sales six years ago; the county remains dry.) The 5-barrel brewhouse and 10-barrel fermenter will allow him to produce about 600 barrels of beer a year in 2,000 square feet of the Burnsville Town Center, right in the heart of downtown Burnsville. He’ll be tapping into local growers seeking ingredients for the American- and English-style ales he plans to make. He hopes to open in spring.

            But listen a little longer, and you’ll hear the respect and appreciation he holds for Yancey County. Silver grew up in Burnsville and Spruce Pine. He’s a local guy who wants to “just wants to do something sustainable for myself and my family,” he says. (He and his wife just had their second child.)

            Silver recently bought his grandparents’ house in Yancey County “to get away from the Asheville thing for a little bit.” He views Burnsville as a Norman Rockwell-esque small town with “a great quality of life and great place to grow.” It’s his home place, after all.

            The road back to Burnsville

            Silver’s well-known in the Asheville craft beer circles. He started washing kegs at Pisgah Brewing in 2005, the year it opened. He moved on to Catawba Brewing, where he landed his first brewing gig and helped them build their Morganton facility. He moved again to French Broad Brewery in Asheville for a couple of years before arriving at Oscar Blues in Brevard in 2012. He finished his tour at Hi-Wire Brewing back in Asheville.


            “All the experiences have been good, and I can say that I’m still on great terms with all the places I’ve worked,” Silver says. Regarding his decision to open his own brewery, he says “It was just a great time for me to jump off the cliff.”

            Silver says he’s excited about tapping into Yancey County’s agricultural scene as he gets Homeplace Beer going. He’s planning to use a local honey to flavor an oatmeal brown. He’s partnering with a North Carolina grit-maker to brew a corn lager, a “sort of an Appalachian corn beer.” He figures he’ll partner with Snap Dragon restaurant and tap room for food.

            All those connections, Silver says, will root his business in the community, a town that’s growing. Burnsville provides incredible access to hikers and anglers. Yancey County is home to a thriving arts scene. A craft fair in Burnsville draws 30,000 visitors for a weekend, and nearby Celo is home to another arts scene. More and more tourists are finding the mountain gem.

            For Silver, it all adds up. Love your home, connect and reflect its beauty and “if you have a supportive local base, it seems hard to go wrong.”


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              Yancey Co. Farmers' Market


              Yancey Co. Farmers’ Market

              Back on April 22, 2017!

              On Saturdays you will find the market bustling just off the beautiful Town Square from 8:30am – 12:30pm

              For many years the Yancey County Farmers’ Market has faithfully set up its tents and tables, bringing the freshest locally grown produce and related items to the community.  All grown and made just for YOU right here at home.

              Visit https://yanceycountyfarmersmarket.wordpress.com/ for more info







              April 1                Burnsville Spring Retail Expo  @ 9:00 am

              April 6                Kindergarten Kickoff  @  12:00 noon

              April 8                Mountain Air Job Fair  @  10:00 am

              April 14              Crowe Brothers @ 7:00 pm


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                ORGANIZATION                       DATE           TIME              LOCATION
                Burnsville Lions Club                    3/23             6:00 pm          Western Sizzlin
                Toe Cane Beekeepers                  3/28             6:30 pm          United Community Bank
                Burnsville Town Council               4/5               6:00 pm          Town Hall
                Yancey County Commission         4/9               6:00 pm          Yancey Co. Courthouse
                Rotary Club                                 Thursday      Noon               Western Sizzlin
                Toe River Model Railroaders        Wednesday   2:00 pm          Spruce Pine Library                                                 
                Al-Anon                                       Monday         7:30 pm          1st Presbyterian Church
                Women’s Club of Burnsville          2nd Thurs.      2:00 pm          Call 682-3581 for location
                ·       NEWDALE VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT CHILI COOKOFF:  March 25th from 12:00 to 2:00 pm.  Individuals and teams welcome. Entry fee is $10 per individual and $25 per team.  For further information call or text Mandie at 828-284-2635, Martha a 828-208-0188, or Valerie at 828-208-5399.
                ·       TOPS Club (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) meets every Tuesday at the United Community Bank’s community room. Doors open at 5:00 pm and the meeting starts at 5:30.  Call 675-9300 for more information.
                ·       The Burnsville Council of Knights of Columbus announce the resumption of bingo game sessions for this year.  Come join us on Monday (April 3rd) starting the first of nine games at 1:00 pm.  There will be four extra optional games.  Doors open at noon for registration, $20 for nine games.  Light sandwiches, de3ssert and refreshments will be served.  Bingo will be held in the Sacred Heart Social Hall located at 20 Summit Street in Burnsville on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month.  All proceeds are contributed to local charities in our Tri-County area.  For information call Bob Holstein at 828-682-7477.
                ·       MHHS Prom scheduled for May 20th:  This year’s Mountain Heritage High School Prom “An Evening of Enchantment” will be held at the Asheville event Centre on Saturday, May 20, 2017, from 7:00 pm until midnight.  Juniors and Seniors may purchase tickets from March 27 until May 12.  The price per ticket is $40 through Friday, April 28, after which time the price will increase to $45.  Students who wish to bring a guest who does not attend MHHS must submit the appropriate form no later than Friday, May 12.  For information contact Aimee Hall at abhall@yanceync.net for more information.
                SCHOLARS LUNCHEON.   This year we will be honoring our local Scholars from Mountain Heritage High School at the North Carolina Scholars Luncheon on May 16, 2017.  The luncheon will be held at the Burnsville Town Center.  We need your help again this year by sponsoring a student.  The requirements for becoming a North Carolina Scholar are a 3.5 un-weighted GPA, College Prep Curriculum plus 2 upper level 5pt electives, 1 CTE, and 1 arts course.  This is quite an achievement for these students.  The cost to sponsor a student for the lunch is $15.00.  Contact the Chamber Office for more information at 682-7413.  Thank you in advance for your contribution.


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                  Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands

                  Southern Highlands Craft Fair Asheville NC

                  Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
                  US Cellular Center, 87 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC | Phone: 828-298-7928
                  The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands is held four days each July and October at the US Cellular Center in Asheville, NC. Discover fine traditional and contemporary crafts by over 200 craftspeople who fill two levels of the center selling their works of clay, fiber, glass, leather, metal, mixed media, natural materials, paper, wood and jewelry.


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