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Comedians, gospel music, award-winning country sensations. What do they all have in common? They are all slated to take the stage at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts during the center’s 2017 season.
“There is so much variety this year- comedy, plays, musicals, big name artists, country, rock and roll, beach music, music festivals, dance competitions- you name it, we’ve got is coming at some point during the year,” said Scotty Corbin, Director of the SMCPA.
Corbin and his staff are constantly working to fill the slots in the center’s calendar. With a focus on variety and entertainment that can span different audiences, when talent is available, even if its a year out, Corbin snatches them up. “Even though our 2017 schedule is still not complete, we already have some plans made for 2018 and tours have been contacting us,” he said.
This year’s line up includes crowd favorites like Dailey and Vincent scheduled for November 4, but are also welcoming new superstars like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on March 3 and County Music sensation Sara Evans on April 28. Regardless if the show has been to the center before, Corbin says the shows are already crafted to be new and exciting.
“With each performance, something different is offered,” said Corbin. “Even though you may have seen an artist in the past or seen a show of the same title, the live experience is always new and can never be duplicated the same way again. It is always a one-of-a-kind moment.”
In addition to constantly searching for new talent to book at the center, Corbin said the audience and marketing efforts for the center are also expanding.
“We are expanding our radius quite a bit,” said Corbin. “It used to be difficult to get audience beyond Asheville/ Black Mountain, but over the past year, we have seen a good number of visitors from Raleigh and beyond. Same thing with north of Atlanta- that used to be our line on the map that seemed difficult to get beyond, but now our audience is coming from much further south inclusion the Macon, Georgia area and down to the Florida line.”
Tribute bands are a big theme this year with a remembrance concert featuring the greatest sounds from The Carpenters scheduled for February 18, Departure,a Journey Tribute band scheduled for June 2, and then on August 19, The Return, a Tribute to the Beatles is scheduled.
Comedians made the lineup again this year with James Gregory, “The funniest man in America” scheduled for May 26 and on September 14, Bill Engvall will take the Smoky Mountain Center Stage.
A show that is sure to be sold out, The Beach Boys, thats right, THOSE Beach Boys, will be in Franklin on April 6 with a show start time of 7:30 p.m.
The famous Overlook Theatre Company will also be taking the stage in 2017 with two shows already on the schedule. On March 17 and 18, the always impressive theatre company will recreate E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web and then on July 14, 15, 21, and 22, the company will transform the stage to the Broadway musical, Tarzan.
“2017 is the most exciting year so far,” said Corbin. “We just completed our most attended year yet with 2016 and are looking forward to growing our numbers even more and bringing as many people as we can to experience the theatre and what a wonderful place Franklin is to visit.”
For more information about the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, visit Greatmountainmusic.com or call 828.524.1598.
This article was originally published in the Macon County News.
Franklin’s Beer Mile touts fresh, locally brewed craft perfection
Asheville, North Carolina, may be one of the top craft beer cities in the country, but just a day trip away rests the picturesque mountain town Franklin, North Carolina. Whether you visit Franklin by hiking off of the Appalachian Trail, spend the day bicycling any one of the nearby mountain bike trails, or dry off after a day of kayaking the Little Tennessee River, Franklin is the perfect place to relax and enjoy one of North Carolina’s fastest growing exports – craft beer.
In 2011, there were just 59 breweries in North Carolina. By 2015 there were 161 across the state, two of which are located right here in Macon County. North Carolina has continued to become one of the leading states in the country for craft beer production. Even more than the economic impact craft beer has on WNC, the cultural and identity the industry brings to a region is invaluable and markets to a growing demographic.
The Lazy Hiker Brewing Company and Currahee Brewing Company make Franklin a must-see stop for beer tourism. The two breweries are located less than a mile apart, and the businesses lining main street between the two are capitalizing on the traffic. Currently on tap at both the Lazy Hiker and Currahee is the Christmas Stumbler, a collaboration beer the two breweries worked up together, adding their own twists.
Located at the foot of town hill, Currahee Brewing Company opened last summer with a 9,000 square-foot production and canning facility. The brewery’s owners built the brewery with beer aficionados in mind, and it comes complete with a 2,000 square-foot tasting room and an outdoor, German-Inspired biergarten that overlooks the Little Tennessee River.
The 15-barrel brewhouse, a 30 barrel fermentation area, and a variety of wine and spirits barrels make up the brewery’s operation. Currahee’s focus is not just unique to Franklin; with an emphasis on Belgian and barrel aged beers, the brewery is setting itself apart from other NC breweries with a distinct flare.
The brewery features the Mountain Fresh Grocery food truck, serving up indulgent specials everyday. From trivia night to the always-expanding indoor concert series, Currahee Brewing is a year-round must stop.
At the tip of town hill, Franklin’s Executive Chef Nick Powers is serving up farm-to-table delicacies at Root + Barrel Kitchen. The only thing more delicious than the fresh food is the ever-changing craft beer list, which features craft beers from not only North Carolina, but all over the United States. The restaurant’s emphasis on local beer pairs perfectly with the farm-to-table theme, promising only the best locally sourced goods.
Root + Barrel often hosts special beer dinners, working with local wineries and breweries to develop a specific menu to perfectly match the drinks. For the first time, Root + Barrel will be working together to host their first beer dinner on January 25, which will feature 5 courses and beer pairings for each.
Just down the sidewalk from the Root + Barrel sits the Rathskeller Coffee Haus & Pub, a truly unique staple for Franklin. A speak-easy feel with a broad selection of coffee (primarily from Dynamite Roasting out of Black Mountain, NC) and espresso-based drinks, floats, shakes, and italian sodas. The pub also has hand-made baked goods such as cookies, cakes, brownies, pretzels and cheese breads that go perfectly with the craft beers and ciders either on tap or in a bottle.
Founded in 2000, The Rathskeller hosts unique events such as trivia and live music, while filling the spaces on the walls with local geniuses’ creative artwork, all of which can be purchased. Take a second to relax, play a board game or a game of cards, or challenge a friend to the Foosball table along the back wall.
A little further up Main Street is Outdoor 76, one of Franklin’s premier outdoor gear and supply stores. From specially fitted hiking boots and camping gear you may want, to paddle board and kayak rentals, Outdoor 76 has it all and more – their bar, the Rock House Lodge, features 18 craft beers on tap.
Located in the back of Outdoor 76, Rock House Lodge specializes on pouring local beers, whether special-released or just the best hops in North Carolina. The 18 beers on tap are ever-changing, keeping up with seasonal trends and ensuring the perfect beer is available for the time. And if craft beer isn’t your thing, Rock House Lodge also has wine and champagne ready to pour.
After you get done shopping, try your hand in a game of shuffleboard or challenge a friend to a game of darts, beer in hand. The Rock House Lodge is no stranger to entertainment and features a stage that regularly hosts live entertainment. On Wednesday, January 25 at 7 p.m., Sean Bendula, a dashing young singer/songwriter, is set to take the stage.
Right at the end of Main Street, in the old town hall, sits Franklin’s very first brewery, Lazy Hiker Brewing Company. Capitalizing on the lazier side of life, the Lazy Hiker has been brewing beer in Franklin since 2015. Opening in the summer of 2015, the 15 barrel brewhouse has a list of mainstay beers and regularly brews up seasonal favorites you can grab while they last.
The Lazy Hiker includes an outdoor patio area, unique games like life-size Jenga, and The Yard, an outdoor concert area that keeps a full lineup throughout the summer. The taproom stage stays booked, too, with concerts on Friday and Saturday nights – and don’t forget the weekday fun, like Wednesday night trivia or Tuesday night ping pong tournaments.
If the pretzels at the bar aren’t enough to hold you over, the Food Truck parked outside of the Lazy Hiker is serving up portions that are as plentiful as they are delicious.
Franklin’s downtown Americana charm, complete with cascading brick buildings, with stories all their own, is taking advantage of the craft beer world. With two original breweries within an easy mile’s walk of each other, Franklin’s craft beer scene has exploded since 2015. With annual events in the works, it won’t be long before Franklin takes its rightful place as a craft beer staple in WNC.
That moment the first snowflake caresses the warm mountain earth, winter in Franklin sprouts and entirely new feelings takes over. Beginning with Franklin’s annual Winter Wonderland festival, held the last weekend in November and the first weekend in December, Winter in Franklin might be one of the most majestic times of year to visit Macon County.
Main Street shops remain opening, inviting visitors to shop local and shop small for the holidays. From the Ice Skating Rink in the neighboring town of Highlands, to the countless hiking trails providing the perfect winter adventure, Franklin’s Winter season is as exciting as the rest of the year.
Setting itself apart from other small southeastern towns, Franklin will be ringing in the new year in style this year with the third annual New Year’s Eve Ruby Drop. As the Gem Capital of the World, the only fitting way to count down the new year is while watching a fluorescent Ruby descend from the sky, right in the middle of Main Street. With live music up and down Franklin’s Main Street, this small mountain town knows how to throw one heck of a New Year’s Eve bash.
With all the leaves gone, revealing barren trees, the endless mountain views extended across states is a site like no other. Its quiet, serene, and paints the perfect picture of warmth and belonging. That is winter in the mountains. Come Discover it for yourself!
Our wonderful town was named the 2016 Top Small Town by the readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors for the 2nd year in a row!
Read the full story HERE.
For 20 years the streets of Franklin, North Carolina have been transformed into a premier fall festival every October. This year’s event is kicking off at 9 a.m. on Saturday, October 22. Franklin’s PumpkinFest has grown each year with fun for the entire family and for its 20th year celebration, the day-long event will surely be the best one yet. With hours of activities planned throughout the day, to make your decision to attend this year’s 20th annual PumpkinFest a little easier, here are the top 5 reasons why Franklin’s PumpkinFest is a must-do this Fall.
5) Win prizes or cold hard cash in any of the contests scheduled throughout the day!
PumpkinFest has become known for its annual Pumpkin Pie eating contest that pairs eager contestants against each other as they race against the clock to devour the deliciousness of a Pumpkin Pie. Whoever gets through more whip cream and Pumpkin spice will walk away with a cash prize.
The best dressed of the day won’t go unnoticed either with the annual costume contest. Separated by ages, judges will take notes as both kids and adults parade on stage with their best Halloween costumes. A winner for each age category will be crowned.
New to this year’s Pumpkinfest, a Lip Sync Battle will be taking place on the town square stage. Contestants are encouraged to come prepared with their best Halloween hit ready to lip sing right into the judges’ hearts.
4) Fire breathers, jugglers, dragons and more!
PumpkinFest is is jam packed full of entertainment throughout the day and this year there will be more street performers than ever. Last year’s’ hit fire breathing dragon will be stomping up and down the street again this year. Additional street performers will also be on main street this year, with jugglers and fire breathers that will be performing all day beginning at 9 am.
3) Bounce houses, pony rides, and kids activities on every end of the street
On both end of main street, Franklin’s PumpkinFest will have dozens of activities specifically for kids to celebrate Fall. From bounce houses to carnival games, to pony rides, to a costume parade up Main Street, PumpkinFest is all about the kids. All of the activities are free for families and will be going all day long.
2) Shop Main street merchants, eat local treats, and visit any of the 90 vendors scheduled to set up.
One of the best traits of Franklin is its diverse shopping opportunities. Main Street has everything from an Outdoor outfitter, to speciality boutiques, to a home goods store and jewelry. The shops that line both sides of the streets are the backbone of Franklin and make events like PumpkinFest possible. Main street restaurants or either of the town’s two breweries have the perfect treats and drinks to make the day a little sweeter. And speaking of sweet, from 3-4 p.m. during PumpkinFest, main street merchants will be giving out candy to all the trick or treaters that stop by the stores. In addition to the main street merchants who are opened everyday in Franklin, PumpkinFest maxed out the vendor list this year and will feature 90 vendors offering everything from handmade crafts to fall decor, to local jewelry and just about everything in between.
1) The World Famous Pumpkin Roll.
It wouldn’t be PumpkinFest without the World Famous Pumpkin Roll. From the top of Frogtown just off of main street, try your hand at rolling your pumpkin the furthers to be named the 2016 Pumpkin roll winner. Pumpkin rollers travel from surrounding states to try to conquer Frogtown and with last year’s event surpassing 700 pumpkins being rolled, this year the town will have even more pumpkins on hand for the contest.