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Features

  • 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:

  • By SARA BLANKENSHIP, Staff

    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.

  • SOMOTILLO, Nicaragua — A local ministry recently made a trip to lend assistance to and spread messages of love and hope to families in Nicaragua.

    Since 2007, Cornerstone Community Church in Galax has partnered with Because We Care Ministries, and has made 13 trips to the remote northern part of Nicaragua, with more than 100 volunteer missionaries from the Twin Counties.

  • Kids cruise past on skates, some rented from Galax Rollerland and some brought from home with touches like violet lights or flashy laces.

    Some are on their own; some are very young and skate while holding a parent’s hand. Overhead, the sound system blasts Elvis singing “Put Your Hand In the Hand.”

  • HILLSVILLE — On Saturday, The Hillsville VFW will play host to the first-ever Khan-Con: a day-long convention featuring sci-fi, comics, games, fantasy, zombies, superheroes and FX makeup.

    Khan-Con is brought to the area by several local artists, writers, vendors and others with an appreciation of the realms of fiction and fun.

    “My feeling is, if we have the talent, we should offer them a place to showcase their work and get them some more recognition,” said co-organizer David Guynn.

  • When tragedy strikes a community, it leaves a mark that can’t be seen.

    The pictures of tragedy are all unique, but whether the scene is a house fire, an interstate crash, a community ravaged by a flood or tornado or a search for a missing child, numerous lives are exposed to emotional, spiritual and even physical stress as a result. Not only are victims impacted by the devastation, but also the community around them, and even first responders feel the ache of tragedy long after the fires are put out, the accidents are cleared, and the storms pass.

  • Mandy Archer and Grace Kirk are upstairs at Chestnut Creek School of the Arts, merrily sorting through a scrap box, trying to place out squares, strips and odd-shaped pieces of cloth left over from previous projects for further use.

    “It’s my first night!” says Archer, picking through a handful of cloth. “I’m following Ms. Grace here, she’s my teacher.”

    Kirk explains, holding up an irregular but good-sized scrap, “The little bitty ones are trash, but [Penney Klaproth] told us not to throw the other ones away.”

  • Staff Reports

    The third annual Galax Rhythm, Brews & Vine Festival will be held on W. Grayson Street in downtown Galax on Saturday from 2-8 p.m.

    The festival will feature two bands, two vineyards and 18 breweries, and is sponsored by

    Blue Ridge Tire & Automotive, Creek Bottom Brewing, Galax Downtown Association, Macado’s and Chances Creek RV Center.

  • HILLSVILLE — If meat-based cooking competitions and beer gardens make your mind immediately go to Galax’s barbecue contest, the Friends of Hillsville (FoH) might soon change your mind.

    They’re planning the very first Historic Hillsville’s Chili Shootout, a cookoff sanctioned by the International Chili Society (ICS).

  • On July 11, Grayson Highlands celebrated the 50th anniversary of being open to the public since its establishment in 1965.

    There were more than 1,300 visitors in attendance, many of whom were locals, but some came from as far away as Germany, according to a Virginia State Parks news release.

  • FRIES — Although this year’s headcount for the Grayson County Relay for Life was small, the participants’ efforts were reflected in both their attitudes and the impressive amount of donations that were raised (almost $19,000) for the continuing fight against cancer.

    According to Dreama Underwood, the event chair for the relay, four teams raised a total of $18,893.76, as of last Friday. Money was still coming in this week.

  • HILLSVILLE — Cosplay, Magic card tournaments, action figures, stormtroopers… all of these features may seem reminiscent of the almighty San Diego Comic-Con, a four-day event in California that fans of video games, comic books, fantasy characters and the like flock to by the thousands each year.

    This event, and others like it across the country provide a safe haven for die-hard fans.

  • Galax hosted the 11th Annual Smoke on the Mountain state barbecue championship on July 17-18, with nearly 40 teams from all over the country competing, along with local cooks both amateur and professional.

    In addition to the state championship, the cookoff is a qualifying event for two major barbecue circuits, and the grand champion also earns entry into the World Food Competition.

    Winners and award sponsors included:

    KANSAS CITY BBQ SOCIETY CONTEST

    Chicken:

  • FRIES — A piece of local history was passed down to students at Fries School last month, when a local songwriter designed her own take on a locally-spun tale about a girl named Caty Sage.

    According to the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum’s online exhibit, “The Ballad of Caty Sage” was originally a poem written in the 1930s by Eva Boyer of Carroll County, and was later set to music by J.C. Pierce of Galax. Pierce performed it at the 1940 Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention, and later recorded it on small commercial labels.

  • Bethany Welch, 19, the 2014-2015 Miss Carroll County (another one will be crowned this September) says she is excited to go compete in the National American Miss Pageant.

    Welch is also a stylist and nail tech at Fifty Eight Salon in Woodlawn.

    “One of the things I’m going to do is go compete in the top model and runway contests,” she said. “You go in and literally have a photo shoot with professionals, and you’re judged on how well you do. You can be scouted, you can win money, you can win scholarships.”

  • This year’s 11th Annual Smoke on the Mountain Virginia State Barbecue Championship looks to be another landmark competition.

    This year’s contest is July 17-18 in downtown Galax. Teams from all over the country come to Galax to compete. For spectators, there’s live music and food vendors with barbecue (of course) and much more.

    According to Twin County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Judy Brannock, this year’s competition has drawn upwards of 40 teams, the highest number of competitors since Smoke on the Mountain’s beginning.