Ghost Town officially opensPark just one of many options for long weekend
MAGGIE VALLEY — Pigeon Forge has them. So does Morganton, Gatlinburg and little Barnardsville. Zip lines are getting to be downright ubiquitous around here — and now even Maggie Valley is getting in on the action. When Ghost Town in the Sky officially re-opened on Wednesday, owner Alaska Presley and her crew introduced Haywood County to its first-ever zip lines. Behind the partially opened park’s chairlift, they are now Ghost Town’s biggest draw.
The three interconnected zips, each with its own landing station (or “tree house,” as the park calls them), whisk visitors though the woods, high above the place’s parking lot, and back again. While riders are fully harnessed in and wear helmets, the zips are meant to give them a moderate adrenaline rush as they smoothly and quickly glide from point to point.
Veteran zip guides Jacob Cioffoletti and Noah “Greenwood” Green grinned when asked to describe the feeling of being on a zip line.
“Flying,” said 16-year-old Cioffoletti said.
“Peter Pan,” 17-year-old Green added.
It’s a moderate thrill but not “hair-raising,” explained their boss, Mike Fischesser. As the owner and founder of Beanstalk Adventures, the company that built the park's new zips, he’s watched the zip line phenomena grow for years. And it still is — as this most recent addition to Ghost Town proves. He called the zips, which range from 190 to 480 feet long, a good “sampler” that will hopefully whet people’s appetite for other adventuresome additions to Ghost Town, including more zips and a rope “spider web” that may be added to the inside of the roller coaster’s frame. While Wednesday’s opening was admittedly slow, Fischesser sounded nothing but optimistic about the future.
“There’s some really cool places there for some big, spectacular zips,” he said, looking up at Ghost Town’s famous mountainside.
For now, he thinks people will be happy with what the park has to offer. Ghost Town is now open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, with both the zips and chairlift open daily. For more information and prices, visit www.ghostowninthesky.com.
A long weekend of fun
Ghost Town’s reboot is not the only thing happening in Haywood during this long holiday weekend — not by a long shot. In addition to basking in the nostalgia of the 51-year-old park, people can head over to the Haywood County Fairgrounds, where the 2012 RAM Truck Rodeo Series will be making a pit stop this Friday and Saturday, beginning at 8 p.m. each night. There, truck lovers can mingle with their own kind and hang out with the various “cowboys” saddling up to do various truck tricks. Starting Saturday, art-minded folks visiting the fairgrounds can also take a gander at the “Freedom Arts and Crafts Show,” hosted by the Blue Ridge Artists and Crafters Association. The show takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The art appreciation continues throughout the county this weekend, as the Maggie Valley Festival ground will host the Maggie Valley Summer Arts and Crafts show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Over in Waynesville, people can saunter down Main Street and through Frog Level during Friday’s “Art After Dark” and the new “Saturday Stroll.” The events will include open galleries and shops, plus a good number of demonstrating artists, from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Downtown Waynesville will also be the site of the second Mountain Street Dance of the year — this time featuring the well-known Southern Appalachian Cloggers. The dance, which is led by Joe Sam Queen and includes plenty of chances for the audience to kick up their heels — is from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday outside the Historic Haywood County Courthouse.
The weekend even has something for those who want to stay inside, far away from the sun and heat. The Swannanoa Chamber Musical Festival is continuing at 7:30 p.m. this Sunday at the Performing Arts Center. Featuring the Enso Quartet, it looks like a classy way to spend an evening.
And, of course, Haywood Arts Regional Theatre is kicking off its newest show, “La Cage aux Folles,” also known as the “Birdcage.” The giddy romp of a musical starts its four-week run at 7:30 p.m. Friday night, with shows on Saturday night and at 3 p.m. Sunday, too. Audiences can expect award-winning songs, a heartfelt plot and a drag queen or two (or 12).
For more information on any of these events, look at The Mountaineer’s online calendar at www.themountaineer.com.