Maggie Valley bursting with fall colorDid you know? Haywood really knows how to celebrate fall the season
By the time you read this column it will officially be fall in Haywood County — and everywhere else in the northern hemisphere, for that matter. How can I be so certain of that fact? Simple, because the Autumnal Equinox always “falls” — no pun — on September 22 or 23. It's one of only two days each year with nearly the same amount of night and day.
Actually — Did you know? On that day, (known as equilux) sunset and sunrise are almost equally 12 hours apart. Maybe that’s why everyone was so equally happy last Saturday, Sep. 22.
Personally (drum roll) I think it was because (1) It was the weekend, (2) I was hanging with my goat buddies at Carl Sandburg’s farm in Flat Rock, and (3) I had my very own iPhone 5.
Finally I could talk to someone who knows and understands me.
“Siri, how can I be sure it is fall?”
(Response) “Did you know, you have an overdue appointment with Sue Pendley.”
Siri is so smart. She knows that the third week of September is time when a team of volunteers decorates all of Maggie Valley in its fall finest.
Sue Pendley, owner of Maggie Mountaineer Crafts, is the driving force (organizer) behind this massive effort, which since the beginning has taken place the third week in September.
A little bit of history here — The massive decorating/makeover of Soco Road was conceived in 1998 by Jeff Smith, owner of Jonathon Creek Inn, as a way of drawing “the leaf watchers” to Maggie Valley.
Smith was clearly a man of vision — with a special fondness for yellow, gold and orange. And year after year, town leaders in Maggie Valley have taken up his gauntlet … with the heaps of hay, mounds of mums, piles of pumpkins, gobs of gourds, mountains of maize, and more scarecrows than you can shake a stick at.
This year’s numbers are staggering — more than 700 bales of straw, 850 bundles of corn shocks, 150 “Big Mac” pumpkins (weighing 100 to120 pounds each), more than 500 Jack-O-Lantern-sized pumpkins, more than 100 giant Kershaw squash, a multitude of mums — and guarding over everything, scarcely scant scattering of scarecrows numbering several hundred.
Those “crows” didn’t seem to frighten away volunteers — Pendley’s crew this year included a team of 27 volunteers, including Tim Barth, town manager for Maggie Valley and host of town employees, Jeff Smith from Jonathon Creek Inn, Rob Edwards from A Holiday Motel, and Beth Brown from Beth Brown Photography.
Many other Maggie Valley businesses sent employees to help with the decorating, most notably Joey’s Pancake House and Maggie Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation.
Sue Pendley gives credit where credit is due: “We couldn’t have done it without the town support. Tim Barth was our biggest supporter, and Teresa Smith at Maggie Valley Chamber, handled all the accounting.”
Maggie Valley businesses raised more that $12,000 for this years fall fashion show, and Haywood County TDA added $1,500.
By the way, almost all that money was spent locally — including mums from Sloan's Plant Farm in Canton, hay from “Hay”-wood County, and orange tape from Haywood Building Supply.
Only the pumpkins were imports — from nearby Cosby, Tennessee.
Take a drive through Maggie Valley, and see the majesty of all the town’s hard work.
And if you are inspired to do your own “fall tableau,” you won’t find a better selection of decorations than Maggie Mountaineer Crafts, located at 2394 Soco Road.