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Fancy Gap visitors' center almost ready

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

FANCY GAP — Rome wasn't built in a day, but the Romans probably could have taken a few cues from the Fancy Gap visitors' center work.
Seeming to spring up next to the Pickin' Porch and an electronic kiosk on U.S. 52, first benches appeared as a Boy Scout Eagle and community service project.

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Then, in about a day, the permanent home of the Blue Ridge Host visitors center got installed. Don Foster explained the construction started on the building off site.
Crews worked on it for about six weeks, and then shipped it, with the roof inside, to the Fancy Gap community to be placed on the site, provided by DeeDee and Todd Price.
And for three days this week, Charles Barnhardt of Treasure Potts, Foster and a few assistants carried out a landscape plan while some finishing touches proceeded on the outside of the new structure.
Work remains on the inside of the visitors' center, but the outside will be prepped to host the Apple Picking Festival, thrown in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
"If you haven't driven by the Pickin' Porch in Fancy Gap recently, then you haven't seen our efforts at building our new visitor's center and the new Fancy Gap Park," Foster said in a recent update to Blue Ridge Host members. "You've missed seeing a great community effort."
The Pickin' Porch and benches make the space perfect for playing music.
The visitors' center will make information available to tourists and travelers. Foster said that, while under construction, the center will have tables offering space for brochures and business cards.
And the landscaping is meant to give the place a parklike feel.
The community will carry on the tradition of holding community events there, too.
"Stop by and watch us grow — it's all because of our vision for Fancy Gap and the area in creating a destination point for travelers," Foster advised. "The new Fancy Gap park will offer our community and visitors a chance to enjoy music during the weekends and will be offering jazz, beach music, bluegrass and gospel."
This location can also serve as a starting point for cultural and commercial tours, showing off the rock churches built under the ministry of Rev. Bob Childress, outdoor attractions or local businesses.
Organizers plan to have a soft opening for the visitors center during Labor Day weekend with a grand opening on a later date, possibly on  one Host's Dec. 8 anniversary date.