Stina's picks

A point in the right direction
May 06, 2012
Photo by: Stina Sieg The Whole Bloomin' Thing, Waynesville's annual spring festival, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Many of the proceeds from the event will go toward decorative street lights in Frog Level.

There are plenty of great local things happening this weekend, but I’ve got to be honest that I probably won’t attend a one of ‘em. For the next few days, I’ll be cheating on Haywood County — abandoning its lush mountains and trees for the big and glitzy, crowded city, where everything is more expensive, parking is terrible and no one knows my name. I can’t help it. Dollywood is calling me. You might chuckle or roll your eyes at that, but Miss Dolly herself will be there, and the place’s new rides are indisputably impressive. Plus, I did get myself a season pass. I suddenly feel like an honest-to-God resident of the Southeast.
I’ll be missing quite a few things while I’m away, but it doesn’t mean that you should, too. Here are my top choices for the next few days.

Beauty abloom
The Whole Bloomin’ Thing, Waynesville’s annual salute to spring, doesn’t have the fanfare, crowds or regional notoriety of some of the county’s biggest festivals. And that’s a good thing. Based on a few blocked-off streets in Frog Level, this celebration has a way of being both snug with people and intimate at the same time. I went last year, and I can say with certainty that it was the most comfortable and chill — and incredibly local — festival I attended all year around here. Though not all the growers, artists and crafters are from Haywood County, none come from too far away, and all offer something made or grown with a personal touch. It’s refreshing. The gala lasts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, May 12, on Commerce and Depot streets.

Children’s books celebrated
Everyone who’s ever read a sloppy, pandering piece of children’s literature knows that creating a quality book for kids is no easy task. Well, this Saturday Blue Ridge Books is going to celebrate those talented few who’ve really mastered it. In honor of Children’s Book Week, there will be an all-day celebration of the best in the world of literature for little ones and teens. Lasting from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the day will include an author fair with many local writers, a few discussion panels and a presentation by Dawn Cusick. It sounds not to be missed for children of all ages — or any lovers of the written word. Call Blue Ridge Books at 456-6000 for more information.

Pisgah chorus comes home
There was a lot of hullabaloo about last weekend’s alumni football game, but I think the most fascinating presentation from past high school students is yet to come. The Pisgah Chorus Alumni Show, slated for 7 p.m. this Saturday at PHS, is a chance to see your friends and siblings (and maybe even husbands and wives) in the limelight for a couple of hours. Some are still performing on stages across the region, while others haven’t picked up microphone for years. In both instances, it sounds fascinating. Most importantly (in my biased opinion), the Mountaineer’s own DeeAnna Haney will be singing. Be sure to give her a huge round of applause. Call 646-3440 for more information.

Civil War revisited
There have been more books written about the Civil War than one can shake a stick at, but how many involve Western North Carolinians cross dressing? Not many, I would dare say. But that’s one small, but important aspect of Sharyn McCrumb’s “Ghost Riders.” The New York Times best-selling author will be at Blue Ridge books at 6:30 p.m. Friday to discuss her 2003 historical novel, which was recently re-issued. The book follows the lives of historical figures Malinda Blalock and Zebulon Vance, North Carolina mountain folk reluctantly caught up in the Confederacy. Blalock actually pretends to be a boy to follow her husband into battle, and Vance, a U.S. congressman, must choose between his loyalty to his country and his love for his home state. Though I’ve never read the novel, it sounds like one that doesn’t shy away from the tragedy and complexity of war, something that Westerners like me will fully admit they can’t begin to understand. Call 456-6000 for more information or visit

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