• “You guys, please eat something!” Stephannie Dees, one of five directors for a Backpack Buddies group – there are about 13 separate groups, locally, she says – yells at her volunteers across Galax Presbyterian Church’s Warwick Hall.

    The volunteers crowd around the hall’s kitchen window, where snacks of pimento cheese and chicken salad have been set out. It’s a bit before noon and everyone’s just spent the majority of an hour stuffing sacks with food donations.

  • INDEPENDENCE — This year’s Mountain Foliage Festival is sure to get the community geared up for fall with a variety of craft vendors, music, games and entertainment fit for everyone in the family.

    The 33rd Annual Grand Privy Race — an Independence tradition — begins at 11 a.m. Contestants in the race make their mad dashes towards the finish line in custom-built mobilized outhouses.

  • HILLSVILLE – Teams and individuals participated last Sunday in the Hillsville Walk MS at the Grover King VFW Post grounds.

    The walk is an organized event that benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

    This is the second year that organizers Regina Dalton and Karen Walker have put together the walk, and both are battling the disease. In addition to the walk, they host an annual motorcycle “Cruisin’ for a Cure” in July, which is in its sixth year.

  • The annual Lord’s Acre Harvest Sale features home-baked pies and cakes, home-canned goods, fresh-cooked foods, handmade crafts and bushels of fall produce for sale at Felts Park in Galax.

    The event supports local churches, and is sponsored each year by the Carroll-Grayson United Workers for Christ Association.

    This year’s sale is on Saturday. The day begins with a worship service at 9:30 a.m., followed by the sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • HILLSVILLE – “Will you hand me that head?” “Am I bloody enough?” “Can you paint the back of my ear?”

    No, these aren’t questions heard on the set of a new Hollywood horror film. These questions, and even stranger ones, will be common conversation for those involved in the Night Watch Haunt in Hillsville.

  • HILLSVILLE – The 4th annual Christian Family Fun Day will take place this Saturday, focusing on the theme of kindness.

    People from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia are expected to attend, with the total reaching into the thousands.

    Richard Edwards, organizer of the event, said, “We want to create a fair atmosphere for kids and families who may not get to go anywhere else all summer, where they don’t have to worry about money.” This is an all ages event and everyone is invited to participate.

  • The ninth annual Truckers Parade Against Cancer is geared up for Sept. 19 this year, and plenty of truck drivers are ready to roll for a good cause.

    Held each year, the parade ― a convoy of truck drivers ― join together on a trip through the Galax, Grayson and Carroll localities to raise money for the local Relay for Life events. Funds from the Relay events then go to the American Cancer Society.

  • INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County citizens joined people in other communities both locally and in other spots across the nation in a show of support for law enforcement on Sept. 11.

    Beginning at noon, a crowd lined up in front of the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, to stand in support of police officers for one hour.

  • Hillsville’s Grover King VFW Post #1115 honored local service men and women on 9/11 at the Veteran’s Memorial.

    In attendance were members of Carroll County Fire and Rescue, Hillsville Volunteer Fire Department, Carroll County Sheriff’s Department and Hillsville Police Department. “We cannot thank you enough; be heartfelt enough,” stated Don Dobbins, past post commander, current member of the VFW and coordinator/speaker for this event.

  • Between 75 and 100 people gathered in the Galax Police Department courtyard on Friday to honor the work of local police officers.

    Led by Travis Haynes of Galax, a firefighter with the Galax Fire Department, the brief, informal ceremony included a few words from Haynes, a prayer led by the Rev. Tom Whartenby and a laying of hands on the police station.

    Members of the fire department were also present and wearing their uniforms as a sign of respect.

  • WOODLAWN — JoyFest, taking place Sept. 12, is the annual “friend raiser” at Joy Ranch, an open house celebration when the Christian home for children in Woodlawn welcomes the public to its 62-acre campus on 813 Joy Ranch Road.

    Founded in 1961 by Richard and Mary McHenry, the faith-based, non-sectarian, donor-supported ministry has been home to more than 5,000 children in crisis situations.

  • “Fairytale romance” and “at no additional cost to taxpayers” are not phrases one expects to ever hear combined, but a Galax Wells Fargo employee recently found out they can go together beautifully.

    Holly Isaacs was working in her office at the Main Street branch on Aug. 19 when Galax Fire Department Capt. Mike Ayers came in, dressed in full firefighter gear.

  • CANA – The Carroll County Historical Society and Levering Orchard are joining forces to host a benefit event over the Labor Day weekend for restoration of the J. Sidna Allen House.

    The benefit will take place over three nights — Sept. 4, 5 and 6 — at the Cherry Orchard Theater on the grounds of Levering Orchard. The event will feature old-time and bluegrass bands and music themed around the 1912 Courthouse Tragedy.

  • HILLSVILLE — The final day of the Carroll County Fair featured wrestling, carnival rides, caramel corn, equestrian events and ice cream made on the spot with super-cooled nitrogen.

    Throughout the week, the fair at the Southwest Virginia Farmers’ Market held contests for everything from fruits and vegetables to photos and quilts, and the winners were on display for all to see.

    The market’s festivities aren’t over — in October, it will host the Carroll Pumpkin Festival, with more family fun and food.

  • HILLSVILLE – Girls of all ages strutted their stuff in ruffles and rhinestones at the Miss Carroll County Fair pageant last Thursday night.

    The pageant, open to girls from birth to 19 years of age and residents of Carroll and adjoining counties, had more than 60 participants. The girls were divided into nine age groups and were eligible to enter an optional photogenic contest for each group.

    Derrick Davis hosted this year’s pageant, with assistance from his son, Coleman.

    Winners included:


    Around 800 students from the Twin Counties participated in the Carroll County Agriculture Fair Ag Education Days Tuesday through Thursday.

    The students rotated between multiple stations learning about a range of topics at the Southwest Virginia Farmers’ Market. The various presenters gave engaging and fact-filled information to the students about recycling, beekeeping, soil and water conservation, lawnmower safety and cotton manufacturing.

  • INDEPENDENCE — The Grayson Wine and Brew Festival, scheduled for Aug. 29 at the Historic 1908 Courthouse in Independence, will feature a lineup of local wines and craft beer this year.

    The festival begins at 4 p.m. Saturday, on the lawn of the Historic 1908 Courthouse, rain or shine. Admission is $15 per person and the price includes an etched wine glass.

  • Janet Tompkins, a local speech therapist and founder of SpeechPath Tools — an organization for developments in senior-to-caregiver communication — has recently introduced a new product line with a personality all its own.

    “My Comfort Companions,” a series of personalized dolls (and a stuffed beagle for the male geriatric population), are now available for patients and caregivers who are in search of the perfect gift for loved ones suffering from the devastating effects of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.

  • HILLSVILLE — The Carroll County Agricultural Fair is Aug. 26-30 this year, and there are plenty of events scheduled to keep the entire community busy.

    This year, the fair committee has set a daily, one-price gate entrance fee that includes all of the scheduled events. Guests ages 13 and up will pay $5, tickets for children ages 6-12 are $3 and children 5 and under are admitted free.

    Gate admission will cover all fair-sponsored events, including unlimited carnival rides.

  • Saturday was the first-ever Khan-Con, held at the Hillsville VFW Post 1115.

    The comic book and pop culture convention was complete with card and roleplaying games, comic artists, a costume contest and vendors selling everything from masks to comic books to jewelry to Christmas ornaments.