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Features

  • 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.

  • Russian composer Pyotyr Illyich Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” is perhaps the best known ballet in the world.

    Fraught, passionate, and dark by turns, it stands as both a cautionary tale about the dangers of reckless love and a testament of the human spirit’s ability to elevate the mundane into the realm of art.

  • This year’s Galax Fire Department Carnival is underway through Saturday in Felts Park.

    Gates open at 5 p.m. and the carnival and bingo will start at 6 p.m.

    Bingo will be held every night from 6 p.m. until closing, with a 50 percent payout each game. There will be a $1,000 championship game on June 27 for qualifying players.

    There will also be a $300 nightly cash drawing at 11 p.m. with one entry per paid adult gate ticket.

    Fireworks will be held on June 27 at 11 p.m.

  • By SHAINA STOCKTON and SHANNON WATKINS, Staff

    The Grayson County Friends of the Library celebrated Flag Day on June 14 with a flag raising ceremony at the Grayson County Public Library in Independence.

  • This year’s Galax Fire Department Carnival will be held from June 22-27 in Felts Park.

    Gates open at 5 p.m. and the carnival and bingo will start at 6 p.m.

    Bingo will be held every night from 6 p.m. until closing, with a 50 percent payout each game. There will be a $1,000 championship game on June 27 for qualifying players.

    There will also be a $300 nightly cash drawing at 11 p.m. with one entry per paid adult gate ticket.

    Fireworks will be held on June 27 at 11 p.m.

  • FRIES — Equestrian and rodeo enthusiast Jamie Hyatt was honored with a dedication at the Providence School’s horse arena in Fries on May 3.

    Now named the “Jamie Hyatt Arena,” the spot has become a second home to riders, and a venue for horse shows and rodeos that have grown in popularity over the past two years. Proceeds from events go to the Fries Volunteer Fire Department, and offer a fun escape for families and fellow equestrians of all ages.

  • INDEPENDENCE — Christmas came about six months early for the children at Carilion Roanoke Memorial’s pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) this year.

    A previous patient at the facility, Daniel Jones, 9, of Independence, wasn’t very excited about going back for his check-up on May 31. So, to make the trip more positive, he and his family decided to bring something along with them: a mini-van stuffed full of toys for the other patients.

  • The Twin County Humane Society held its annual Brews for Rescues event at Creek Bottom Brews in Galax on May 30.

    The group had lots of merchandise to sell, fun activities and plenty of animals present that were looking for “forever homes.” Creek Bottom offered a special brown ale named “Woof’n Down Brown” and gave $1 for every glass sold; George Smith provided live music and donated a portion of his CD sales to the Humane Society.

  • HILLSVILLE — Guests who attended last year’s Fourth of July celebration in Hillsville might have spotted a familiar figure at the Grover King VFW Post during the festivities. Clad in familiar colonial attire, “Patrick Henry” took the stage last year to deliver his historic message to the community.

  • Generally, legends are made by acts of great heroism: beating back an enemy, rescuing the helpless, bringing justice to the oppressed.

    Another component of heroism is simply in doing: committing acts and going forward.

    Curious, then, that Joe Wilson, who died on May 17 at 77 years of age, is a legend in folklore, traditional arts and roots music when he was barely known to pick up a guitar.

  • HILLSVILLE — The Hale-Wilkinson-Carter Foundation will commemorate the 120th anniversary of George Lafayette Carter and Mayetta Wilkinson Carter’s marriage with a wedding reception, dinner and program on May 30 at the Carter Home in Hillsville.

    Carter was born Jan. 10, 1857, in Carroll County, one of the nine children of Walter Crockett Carter and Lucy Ann Jennings. Of his siblings, he and three of his sisters were the only children to survive past the age of 20.

  • WOODLAWN — The summer schedule for The Studio in Woodlawn will include a variety of classes and workshops, as well as a series of self-protection classes and concealed carry firearms classes.

    Located across from the Midway Shell station on Carrollton Pike in Woodlawn, The Studio opened earlier this year with a hodgepodge of choices for clients, including yoga classes, children’s theater and venue rentals. But as business owner DeeDee Wright mapped out plans for her studio space, a new opportunity for promoting community safety was presented.

  • Galax High School students showed off their unique styles at the 2015 prom, held May 2 at the Galax Golf Course country club.