• When William Bottomley’s Christmas light display outgrew his home, he moved his thousands of twinkling bulbs, trees and Santas to a fire station.

    When it outgrew the fire station, he took over an entire park.

    This year, Bottomley’s annual synchronized musical light show, featuring nearly 100,000 LED bulbs, moved to Felts Park in Galax. The show opened on Thanksgiving night and runs through Jan. 1.

  • The High Country Light Show will bring Christmas cheer to Felts Park in Galax beginning Thanksgiving night.

    The lights will be on display through Jan. 2, from 6-11 p.m. nightly.

    The synchronized musical light show, featuring nearly 100,000 LED lights, is privately owned by William Bottomley.

    Thousands of visitors, including many from Galax and the Twin Counties, made the drive to Glade Valley, N.C., each year to view the lights at Christmas. Bottomley hosted the lights there for the past decade.

  • HILLSVILLE – A first grade class at Oakland Elementary is asking for the help of social media to bring a country musician to Carroll County.

    Teacher Amy Gordon and her students are asking Luke Bryan, a popular and award-winning country music artist, to come and read to her class if they get a specific response on social media. “We are asking for 1,000 likes and 1,000 shares,” said Gordon.

  • Staff Report

    INDEPENDENCE — When Tamara Furr and her husband left for a weekend of seclusion in the Virginia mountains, the last thing they expected was to take home a $1 million souvenir.

    But, the odds were apparently in their favor when Furr purchased a ticket for the Virginia Lottery Scratcher game Green at Food City in Independence.

    According to a news release from the grocery chain, Furr discovered her win in the passenger seat while her husband was driving away from the store.

  • Carroll County’s Oakland Elementary School hosted an event to honor local veterans on Nov. 11. It included a free lunch in the cafeteria with kids and a brief musical program presented by the students. The veterans also presented the library with a new book and demonstrated proper flag-folding.

  • Once again, the most anticipated competition of the year is underway. Not the Superbowl, not the World Series, not the Boston Marathon – the United Way Celebrity Bagging Challenge.

    For the eighth year in a row, local celebs will engage in a battle royale to see which Food City can raise the most money for United Way of Southwest Virginia.

  • INDEPENDENCE — Each year about this time, people’s thoughts turn to turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We look forward to a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner where we eat too much and spend time visiting with family and friends.

  • HILLSVILLE – Saturday’s Veterans Day parade in Hillsville will have a special guest as grand marshal — Carl Anderson, 93, of Galax, is one of only four living veterans from D-Day, the turning point of World War II.

    Anderson was drafted and spent three years in the service from 1942-1945. He saw action in several locations including Normandy, the Rhineland, Central Europe and Northern France.

    Entering the War

  • “My dad never, ever talked about it,” said Louise Bartlett, born in the Twin Counties but residing now in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, daughter of World War II U.S. Navy veteran Roy Alderman. “He was very gentle and easygoing, despite having gone through all that.”

  • HILLSVILLE – The 2nd annual Boo Ridge Halloween Spooktacular Trail of Terror Run/Walk drew a large crowd of goblins, superheroes, princesses and farm animals despite the rainy weather.

    The event was held as a fundraiser for the Carroll County Special Olympics (CCSO) on Oct. 10 at Hillsville Elementary School. Participants competed in the Little Goblin Fun Run, the Monster Mile and the Trail of Terror 5K, as well as costume contests in several different categories. All proceeds went to the CCSO for its yearly activities and events.

  • The Galax Downtown Association will once again host the Galax Downtown Safe Halloween Bash.

    As in years past, local businesses, churches and organizations will gather in the center of downtown to play games and give treats to fun-loving kids of all ages.

    Costume contests, free hotdogs and drinks for the children, ghoulishly fun music, pumpkin carving and more activities are planned for Saturday.

  • HILLSVILLE – Despite the colder weather, a good turnout made the inaugural Historic Hillsville Chili Shootout on Oct. 17 a success.

    The contest was held behind the old Hillsville Courthouse and will become a staple for the town, organizers say.

  • BAYWOOD — Canines, felines and even fowl were welcome at the Church of the Good Shepherd near Galax last Saturday during the annual Blessing of the Animals service.

    Held each October in honor of St. Francis, the church off U.S. 58 in Baywood opens itself to the community’s four-legged family members. According to organizers, the church formerly held ceremonies on the lawn in front of the church, but in recent years they’ve opted for opening the church for several hours, allowing owners to bring their furbabies by for a quick blessing at their convenience.

  • “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” a campy cult classic musical comedy film that spoofs old sci-fi and horror movies, came to the Rex Theater in downtown Galax last Thursday night.

    It featured a costume contest, elements of traditional audience participation and lots of silly, good-natured fun.

    The movie is enjoying its 40th anniversary year, which provided a delightful “Time Warp” for fans and newcomers alike.

  • The rain didn’t stop the community from celebrating Oct. 10 during the annual Mountain Foliage Festival in Independence.

    Members of the community gathered on Main Street for a day full of town traditions, shopping, games and other forms of recreation.

    The Grand Privy Race consisted of four teams this year. First-place winners in the annual outhouse race were the Grayson Wrestling Team, followed by the Independence Volunteer Fire Department in second place, Core Fitness in third place, and United Way in fourth place.

  • “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.