• The rock band Hell & Hollar will be performing at the Mountain Freedom Festival in Hall Memorial Park in downtown Andrews on Wednesday, July 3. Photo by Cam Brooks Creative
    The rock band Hell & Hollar will be performing at the Mountain Freedom Festival in Hall Memorial Park in downtown Andrews on Wednesday, July 3. Photo by Cam Brooks Creative
  • Karen George, Margo Locust and Kandy Barnard welcome everyone to the new location for Valleytown Realty, Locust Trading Co. and Wayah Native American Crafts. Photo by Samantha Sinclair
    Karen George, Margo Locust and Kandy Barnard welcome everyone to the new location for Valleytown Realty, Locust Trading Co. and Wayah Native American Crafts. Photo by Samantha Sinclair

SCOUTING AROUND: Holiday fun gets off to eary start July 3

    Andrews – Matt Ahearn was inspired. Hell & Hollar, a rock band from south Florida, was planning to stop by the area on July 3 between gigs in Atlanta and Raleigh. Ahearn knows drummer Nate Largent through his relationship with Heather Largent, and was asked if he could arrange a place for them to perform and entertain people locally.
    That place ended up becoming the Mountain Freedom Festival, which will be held in Hall Memorial Park downtown from 5-11 p.m. Wednesday, July 3.     Ahearn created the event after talking to few people, like Tommy Rowdeck of Hoppy Trout Brewing Co. They discussed doing something in nearby Hall Park, and Ahearn quickly had a festival with five bands, a few breweries and restaurants lined up.
    The event is free to the public.
    “It was really organic,” Ahearn said. “It basically turned into a really fun gathering.”
    The evening will include performances from local bands Woolybooger & the Loon, Kilmer & Cooley, Mike Bonham and Leper Shepherd, in addition to Hell & Hollar. At 10 p.m., all five bands plan to take the stage together for an open free jam finale. The bands’ sounds range from Appalachian roots music to classic rock ’n’ roll.
    Food and beverages will be available from Happy Hawg, Ronnie’s, Granieri’s Italian Restaurant, FernCrest Winery, Valley River Vineyards, Hoppy Trout, Snowbird Mountains Brewery and Nocturnal Brewing Co. There will also be organic ice cream and vegan offerings from The Shop.
    “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Ahearn said.
    The process of creating something like this for the community emphasized to him that there hasn’t been anything in the community to replicate the atmosphere of Doyle’s Cedar Hill Restaurant in Murphy, where he used to disc jockey. He hopes to change that, and wants to create a regular gathering in the park every Saturday night called Squeeze the Lemon. The first Squeeze the Lemon weekly event is planned from 5-11 p.m. Saturday, July 20.
    For details, visit the Mountain Freedom Festival event page on Facebook or visit hellandhollar.com.

Businesses find new home
    Andrews – Three businesses moved out of the heart of downtown to a nearby stand-alone building. Valleytown Realty, Locust Trading Co. and Wayah Native American Crafts can now be found in the former Valleytown Realty building at 741 Main St.
    The building was vacant for about six years after sewer issues forced Valleytown Realty to relocate. Those issues with the sewer lines have been fixed, and Ricky Barnard, who owns Valleytown Realty with his wife, Kandy, said the building has been refurbished and is basically new inside.
    The plan was to sell the building. Margo Locust – who owns Locust Trading with her husband, Ken, and Karen George – was inspired to move in while working on new flooring for the building. Although smaller, the space is an improvement for the flooring and wall-covering business, as deliveries were getting more and more difficult to manage with downtown traffic.
    “We needed a stand alone. It’s time,” Locust said. “I love it. It’s a great location. I feel like we’re expanding Main Street.”
    Her other business, Wayah Native American Crafts, has space in the building. She asked the Barnards to bring Valleytown Realty back to the building, too.
    “I’m glad to be back here,” Kandy said.
    Locust said in the trade magazines she publishes, she advises flooring businesses to partner with real estate businesses since they have similar customers, so it was natural to ask her neighbors on Main Street to join her. They plan to rename the building Valleytown Center.
    The businesses were previously in The Valleytown Ballroom, on the corner of Locust and Main streets, where they often won the window-decorating contest each Christmas.

Library hosts blood drive Friday
    Andrews – The American Red Cross bloodmobile is returning to the Andrews Public Library from 1-6 p.m. Friday.
    This is the second time the library has hosted a blood drive. Jacqueline Hulse, library branch co-manager, said about 25 people donated blood at the first blood drive in January, and five of those donors were donating for the first time.
    “I thought it was fabulous that people were willing to take the time to donate,” Hulse said.
    Hulse, who has been donating blood since she was age 18, has donated seven gallons since moving to Andrews 20 years ago. She organized the blood drive so local residents have another place to donate. The bloodmobile also stops regularly at Andrews United Methodist Church, where it will be next month.
    “The lack of blood for emergencies is critical,” Hulse said. “Any blood type is needed.”
    Those who donate may download a computer app that will show them where their blood ends up. Donors will also be told what their blood type is through the process.
    The bloodmobile will be parked in the library’s back lot, next to the building. Those who need to may use the library’s new ramp to access the sidewalk, which is even with the entrance to the bloodmobile.
    Appointments may be made by calling Hulse at 321-5956 or visiting redcrossblood.org. Hulse said she would fit in walk-ins. Donors are advised to eat breakfast and drink plenty of water during the day.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.

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