Parkway: Happy 75th!

 
Staff Report
News tips: freepress2@ntelos.net

The Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary is officially here with the advent of 2010. Construction of the 469-mile All American Scenic Byway began Sept. 11, 1935, at Cumberland Knob, near the North Carolina and Virginia border.

A celebration of this special American treasure and its importance as a cultural, historical, and natural resource includes events and activities throughout the year in communities that line the Parkway.

A list of events, which may be searched by community or region or by month, is on line at www.blueridgeparkway75.org and is updated regularly. To date, over 400 events have been identified as part of the year-long celebration.

A sampling of some of the events and festivities includes the following:

– FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway Viewshed Planting in Roanoke County (Near Milepost 121) – March 20, 2010. A biannual planting of 500 to 600 seedlings along the Parkway designed to help protect scenic vistas. More info: www.blueridgefriends.org.

– The Blue Ridge Bike Fest (Roanoke, near Milepost 120) – April 9-April 11, 2010. An all-makes motorcycles expo, show, and festival with music, stunt demonstrations, and access to rides on the Parkway. Info: www.blueridgebikefest.com.

– Opening Juried Art Exhibit “Memories: The Blue Ridge Parkway in Retrospect” (Galax, near Milepost 215) – In conjunction with the opening of the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts, this exhibit will run April 16-June 14. Info: www.chestnutcreekarts.org.

– Virginia Fly Fishing Festival (Waynesboro, near Milepost 0) – April 17 and 18, 2010. For novice and experienced fly anglers, the event offers instruction, Virginia wine tastings, and a focus on conservation education and natural resources stewardship. Info: www.vaflyfishingfestival.org.

– 56th annual Vinton Dogwood Festival (near Milepost 112.2)-April 21 -25, 2010. On Saturday the 24th the festival features a parade, antique car show, craft show, children’s area, carnival, distance run andmultiple entertainment stages. Info: www.vintondogwoodfestival.org.

– Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary Symposium (Boone, N.C., near Milepost 285) – April 22-April 24, 2010, at Appalachian State University. Imagining the Blue Ridge Parkway for the 21st Century: History, Scenery, Conservation, and Community.

– Blue Ridge Marathon (Roanoke, near Milepost 120) – April 24, 2010. An inaugural marathon – one of the most difficult and beautiful marathons on the east coast – will begin at the Taubman Museum of Art and end at The Hotel Roanoke. Info: www.blueridgemarathon.com.

– Opening “Motoring the Blue Ridge Parkway” Exhibit (Maggie Valley, N.C., near Milepost 443) – April 30, 2010. Located at the Wheels Through Time Museum, the year-long exhibit will include historical information and displays of period motorcycles that have traversed the Parkway during its 75 years. Info: www.WheelsThroughTime.com.

– Spring on the Blue Ridge Parkway Art Exhibit (Floyd, VA, near Milepost 165) – May 1-May31, 2010. A month-long multi-media exhibit at the Jacksonville Center for the Arts. www.jacksonvillecenter.org.

– Asheville Bikefest and the Blue Ridge Run (Asheville, N.C., near Milepost 377) – May 13-May 16, 2010. A motorcycle touring rally with events at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center. Info: www.ashevillebikefest.com.

– Whitetop Mountain Ramp Festival (Mouth of Wilson, near Milepost 203) – May 16, 2010. At Grayson Highlands State Park, this festival celebrates the ubiquitous mountain wild onion, the ramp.

– More Than a Mountain: Celebrating the Land and Community of the Peaks of Otter (Bedford, near Milepost 86) – May 29-July 9, 2010. A community-wide juried art exhibition commemorating the Parkway’s 75th Anniversary with various art – painting, sculpture, photography, pottery, glass, and mixed media. Info: www.visitbedford.com.

Besides event information and historical resources about the Blue Ridge Parkway, www.blueridgeparkway75.org also offers commemorative items in its online store. The new 2010 Blue Ridge Parkway Directory is available at National Park Service locations along the road as well as through the Blue Ridge Parkway Association’s at www.blueridgeparkway.org.

Blue Ridge Parkway 75 Inc. is the nonprofit organization designated by the National Park Service to lead the Parkway’s 75th Anniversary celebration. With representation from all of the Parkway’s partner groups, the states of North Carolina and Virginia, and community leaders along the 469-mile scenic route, Blue Ridge Parkway 75, Inc.’s mission is to engage local communities and all visitors in an anniversary that focuses attention on a sustainable and healthy Parkway for future generations. For more information, visit www.blueridgeparkway75.org.

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