• Staff Report

    Preparations for the 15th Annual Smoke on the Mountain Virginia State BBQ Championship and accompanying street festival are under way this week.

    Smoke on the Mountain will be held July 19-20. Once again, the event will be held on historic downtown Galax, but will have a few changes to mark this milestone year.

  • The 7th Annual Great Galax Duck Race was held July 4 on Chestnut Creek, starting at the East Grayson Street bridge next to Vaughan Bassett and ending in the creek next to CVS.

    Once again, the race broke the previous year’s record, with 4,100 ducks on the water.

    As always, the “race” was actually a technique for the annual harvesting and cleaning of the popular Galax rubber duck (scientific name Flexilis anatis galax), a valuable cash crop for the Galax Volunteer Fire Department, which hosted and managed the event.

  • Last year’s rodeo in Galax’s Felts park was so good it won an award. This weekend, it’s back again.

    The Oakland Ruritan Club will host a two-day rodeo on Friday and Saturday, with gates opening at 6 p.m. and the show starting at 8 p.m. nightly.

  • Staff Reports

    It’s a long trip to Carnegie Hall, and a great expense to see the Paris Opera, but tickets to the world’s most sought-after social event can be yours for a mere $5.

    Just stop any Galax firefighter you see and ask to purchase a ticket to the annual July 4 Great Galax Duck Race, truly an amazing spectacle for young and old alike.

    The swells, the hoi polloi and the cream of the celebrity media crop all gather along the banks of Chestnut Creek to watch the thrilling sight of yellow rubber ducks floating downstream.

  • HoustonFest’s 2019 lineup includes Shenandoah, Dailey & Vincent and EmiSunshine, as well as many returning favorites, new faces and the popular Youth Stage.

    HoustonFest will be held in Galax’s Felts Park on June 7-8.

    Dailey & Vincent (Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent, backed by their band) are five-time Grammy award winners individually, three-time Grammy nominees collectively, four-time DOVE Award winners and winners of 35 IBMA awards altogether, including three-time IBMA Entertainer of the Year and three-time Vocal Group of the Year awards.

  • TROUTDALE — Local author Deborah T. Clark will hold a reading for her new book, “Friend, Foe, or Family,” at Chestnut Creek School of the Arts on Friday at 4 p.m., followed by a signing at Chapters Book Shop at 5 p.m.

    Clark has won numerous literary honors, including first place prizes for fiction at Wytheville’s Chautauqua Writing Contest and the Sherwood Anderson Prize for Creative Writing.

    The Grayson County resident is a part-time reporter for The Gazette and The Declaration and a former teacher.

  • Young ministers of the Sky View Academy let their commitment of creating a solid foundation for youth flourish this past week by donating an array of useful items to the Tri-Area Pregnancy Center in Galax, to be dispersed to new parents and children in the Twin Counties.

    The academy, a ministry of Sky View Missionary Baptist Church in Fancy Gap, is comprised of children and members of the congregation with the collective mission of providing local children with a solid foundation to thrive physically, mentally and spiritually.

  • Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Irish eyes are smiling in Virginia.

    The commonwealth is home to about 790,000 people with Irish heritage, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That is about 9.5 percent of the state’s total population.

    The percentage of residents with Irish ancestry ranges from 2.6 percent in Petersburg to 16.5 percent in Rappahannock County.

  • Staff Report

    RICHMOND – Virginia State Parks are partnering with the national organization Park Rx America to help more people enjoy the outdoors.

    The nonprofit Park Rx America works with doctors to prescribe nature to patients as part of routine healthcare.

  • SOUTH KOREA — In his training courses with the U.S. Air Force, James Sizemore’s peers were mostly between 18 and 26 years old.

    While he shared their eagerness to serve, the former Twin Counties resident stood out from his fellow trainees in one very noticeable way — he was about twice their age.

    After a previous stint in the military and a civilian career in aviation, Sizemore found himself beginning a new chapter in his life at age 50, as a member of the D.C. Air National Guard.

  • Dumpling, the feral fowl that lived in the wooded area next to Long John Silver’s of Galax and enjoyed dining on their corn and hushpuppies, now dines off a menu of berries and other treats at her new home.

    Heather Nichols of Woodlawn has adopted the chicken, who she says is adjusting well to a life of (very pampered) captivity.

    According to Nichols, she saw a post in a local Facebook message group that said someone needed to come get Dumpling, as the chicken was named by the fast food workers who temporarily adopted her.

  • The 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration was held at McMillian Ministries church on South Main Street on Sunday, with singing, prayers, praise and testimony, in addition to the words of guest speaker Chief DeWitt Cooper of the Galax Police Department.

    The opening prayer was conducted by Sister Hilda Tucker, with the conclusion delivered by Evangelist Gloria Richardson.

  • Patrons of the Galax Long John Silver’s know chicken is on the menu — but one fowl outside is dining off of it.

    Dumpling, as the chicken was named by restaurant employees, eats a diet supplemented by the restaurant staff, who give her corn and hushpuppies, according to manager Joey West, who laughs a little when describing the bird. The rest of the time, Dumpling can be found scratching grubs at the edge of the woods.

    The chicken showed up around the time heavy snow hit Galax last month and has stayed ever since, West said.

  • FRIES — On Joe Vaughan’s last day as a bus driver, the staff of Fries School staff, Grayson County school system personnel and county board members celebrated his 55-year career.

    On Nov. 30, Vaughan was presented with a certificate and cake from Sandra Anders, director of transportation; an envelope from Susie Funk, assistant superintendent of instruction; and a walking stick to use during his retirement from Fries Principal John Alexander.

  • Fancy Gap Pre-K


    I would like the black dinosaur from Wal-Mart. I would also like a dragon. Can I pet your reindeer?


    What do you tell your reindeer to do? I want a yoyo and a stuffed animal mouse. Thank you Santa!


    Santa can I have a motorcycle with no training wheels and some Legos? Thank you so much. Your reindeer are cool!


    I would like a bike and clothes for Christmas. How do your reindeer fly?


  • INDEPENDENCE — Tourism continues to be a top priority in Grayson, and less than one month into her new position as tourism support specialist, Tracy Cornett is excited to promote what the county has to offer.

    Cornett officially began her new position on Nov. 19. She filled the seat previously occupied by Rhonda Sproviero, who announced in November that she would be taking a full-time position in the county’s building department.

  • Joe Lauer of Hillsville shared these photos of a giant snowman he and his friends built Monday after the weekend’s storm, which dropped nearly two feet of snow on the Twin Counties.

    The snowman across from Willie’s Drive-In on U.S. 221 in Hillsville is more than 18 feet tall.

    Lauer said the project took about three hours and they used a skid loader to stack the huge pieces.

  • Thanks to Hillsville resident Tracey Hodge, critters at the Galax-Carroll-Grayson Animal Shelter are having a Merry Christmas.

    When Hodge took a stray mama cat and its kittens to the shelter, she missed it so much she ended up going back and adopting it. The mother, now known as Cricket, was old and Hodge was afraid it would end up not being taken by someone.

    However, she felt bad for all the cats and dogs in there who wouldn’t have a loving home to enjoy the holidays in. This month is seeing a high volume of animals at the shelter.

  • HILLSVILLE – The community has come together during this holiday season for the first-ever “Lawn of Hope,” a Relay for Life fundraiser with a touch of Christmas spirit.

    On Dec. 1, the blue house at 1815 North Main Street in downtown Hillsville added holiday décor to its lawn for a good cause. Twenty trees were set up on the grounds for members of the community to “adopt” and decorate, with all proceeds going to the America Cancer Society.