Thursday, May 13, 2010

$2,000 Scholarship Available: Southeast Old Threshers' Reunion Pageant

DENTON, N.C. -- The Southeast Thresher’s Queen Scholarship Pageant is seeking contestants. It will be held on Saturday, June 26, 2010, just days before the start of 40th Southeast Old Thresher’s Reunion.

The winner will receive a $2,000 scholarship.

The new queen will reign over the Thresher’s Reunion during its five-day run and serve as the Threshers’ Goodwill Ambassador to many festivals, pageants and parades throughout North Carolina.

Held at the Denton FarmPark, the Southeast Old Threshers Reunion is one of the largest antique gas and steam engine shows in the country. It includes a variety of farming demonstrations, steam engine train rides, country, gospel and bluegrass entertainment and crafts. It will be held June 30-July 4.

The 2010 queen will be crowned by reigning 2009 Queen – Natalie Caviness of Asheboro, N.C. Natalie is a student at Randolph County Early College and will graduate in June.

Contestants must be a rising high school senior, either through public or home school, and can be up to 25 years old. Girls must be single, never have had a child or been married. They should either reside, work or attend school in any of the following counties: Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Caswell, Catawba, Chatham, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Union and Yadkin.

Second and Third place finishers will receive scholarships of $450 and $350 respectively. Additional awards will be given in four competition categories: Best Interview, Best “Country Cutie” Outfit, Best Casual Outfit and Most Photogenic.

Entry fees are $50. The application deadline is June 12, 2010. For entry forms, rules and further information call Denton FarmPark at 1-800-458-2755, visit us on Facebook at the Southeast Threshers Queen Pageant or email

The Denton FarmPark is located 20 miles south of Lexington off N.C. Hwy. 109 and 20 miles southeast of Asheboro off N.C. Hwy. 49.

The Grascals to Perform at Big Lick Bluegrass Festival

Big Lick, N.C. – The Grascals have played with George Jones, Porter Wagoner, Vince Gill, Dolly Parton, Charlie Daniels and are just coming off the Hank Williams Jr. Rowdy Friends Tour – and will be appearing at the Big Lick Bluegrass Festival in Big Lick on Saturday, June 12.

The festival will be held at the Big Lick Festival Park in Big Lick, N.C., on Friday, June 11 and Saturday, June 12.

Big Lick is a community on N.C. Hwy. 205 between Charlotte and Albemarle, just off N.C. Hwy. 24/27. It was named for a salt lick that is still somewhere in the woods. Any local deer can tell you its whereabouts.

The Big Lick festival has traditionally had some of the biggest names in bluegrass music – and this year the trend continues.

The Grascals. Goldwing Express. Bill Yates and The Country Gentlemen Tribute Show. Bluegrass Brothers. Deeper Shade of Blue. Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out.

Fans will hear old ballads from the Bill Yates and The Country Gentlemen Tribute Show; traditional mountain music from the Bluegrass Brothers; and a more contemporary sound from The Grascals. Rising stars, The Rye Hollar Boys, are teenagers who come from a family of musicians in the N.C. mountains.

Grascals guitarist and vocalist Terry Eldredge is looking forward to the show. Organizer Jeff Branch and he have been friends since the early ‘80s. “So we’re going to put on an especially entertaining show at Big Lick,” Eldredge says. “Dolly Parton always used to say right before we took the stage, ‘Make it fun!’ That’s what we’re gonna do.”

The Grascals will be singing songs from their newest CD, “The Famous Lefty Flynn’s.” Eldredge sings the title track. “Grascals guitarist Jamie Johnson wrote a ballad with a little truth and a little fiction in it – about a fellow who lived a hard life.” he explains. “But I can’t tell you how the story ends. You’ll have to listen to find out!”

“I was very moved at the 2009 Big Lick festival,” says Bill Yates. “A man in the audience cried when he told me he thought he would never hear a voice like Charlie Waller again. He was the lead singer and guitarist for the original Country Gentlemen group. We’ll be singing some favorites.”

Yates also looks forward to the after-party jamming session behind the stage where many of the musicians, and members of the audience, pull out their guitars, banjos and whatever and play into the wee hours of the morning.

Branch likes to share some little-known tidbits about the performers.

Eldredge chews gum throughout his entire performance to keep his mouth moist. Grascals banjo player Kristin Scott Benson and her husband, Wayne Benson, who plays the mandolin for Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, will be able to perform at the same festival, something they typically don’t get to do. She was voted the 2009 Banjo Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. And Branch points out that Frank Poindexter, dobro player for Deeper Shade of Blue, is the uncle of legendary Tony Rice who is considered the top bluegrass guitar player in America.
The Big Lick Bluegrass Festival opens at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 11 with the Rye Hollar Boys, Southern Junction and Bluegrass Brothers.

On Saturday, shows start at noon with Deeper Shade of Blue, Goldwing Express, Bill Yates and Friends, Bluegrass Brothers, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out ending with The Grascals at 11 p.m.

Adult admission is $10 on Friday and $25 on Saturday. Reduced tickets are available after 6 p.m. on Saturday for $15. Two day passes are available through June 1 for $25.

Tickets for children ages 12-16 are $5 on Friday and $12 on Saturday. Children under 12 years of age will be admitted free.

Everyone is encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Large tents will be available to provide shade. Concessions will be available.

Camping is available at the Big Lick Festival Park. For reservations, call 704-485-4906.

The Big Lick Festival Park is located at 640 South Oak Ridge Road.

For tickets and information, call Jeff Branch at 704-985-6987, visit Big Lick Bluegrass Festival on Facebook or

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hello Dali! Salvador Dali Exhibit in Fayetteville - Feb. 12-28, 2010

Works from Salvador Dali, one of the world’s greatest artists in the past 100 years, will be on display in Fayetteville, N.C. It’s the only city in the Southeast chosen to host the national touring exhibition this year.

The show, “Dali Illustrates Dante’s The Divine Comedy,” will be held through Feb. 28 at the Festival Park Plaza Building in downtown Fayetteville.

The exhibit combines two art forms – poetry and painting.

It pulls together two time periods – the 1300s and the 1950s.

And it will be shown in a city known for being home to military people who have traveled worldwide, some of whom have already seen Dali’s works.

It all started with Dante Alighieri who penned “The Divine Comedy.” He was an Italian poet who wrote his concept of life after death, and the imaginary trek the human soul travels through hell, purgatory and heaven.

Deep stuff.

He wrote during the time of the Great European Famine, the Hundred Years War, and the bubonic plague. It wasn’t a pretty time in world history. Death was often a topic of discussion.

So Dante’s poem was timely.

Fast forward to the 1950s.

To commemorate the 700th anniversary of the poem, the Italian government commissioned Dali to illustrate it. After a few years, he had completed 100 illustrations representing each of the verses.

It is those 100 illustrations that the public will see at the Fayetteville show. Exhibition labels will be in English and Spanish.

But who was Dali?

Born in 1904 in Spain, Dali was a renegade of sorts who bucked conventional art styles. He was kicked out of French and Spanish art schools for a number of reasons, and was highly influenced by Impressionism, Surrealism, Cubism, and Futurism.

By the age of 40, he had gained recognition for his work in Europe and the United States. He had designed the Dream of Venus pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York and costumes and sets for ballets performed at The Metropolitan Opera House and the International Theatre in New York.

His resume included working with Alfred Hitchcock on the film, Spellbound; Walt Disney on the film, Destino; and, Doubleday Publishing Company to illustrate Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Dali’s work was influenced by the dropping of the atomic bomb. The religious and nuclear fusion elements can be seen in his illustrations of Dante’s poem.

In 1964, Dali was awarded the Gran Cruz de Isabel la Católica, the highest Spanish distinction. The following year, The Gallery of Modern Art in New York launched the Salvador Dali 1910-1965 exhibition.

Dali died in Spain in 1989. His legacy of writings, jewelry and painting masterpieces is displayed in museums and galleries worldwide.

The Fayetteville Museum of Art is exhibiting the show at the Festival Park Plaza Building at 225 Ray Avenue.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for students 6 and older and free for those 5 and younger. Groups with 20 members should call the museum at 910-485-5121 in advance of their visit to register for reduced rates. Hours are Monday-Friday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday: 1-4 p.m.

For more information, log onto or call 888-98-HEROES (43763).

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Fayetteville, NC to Host National Art Exhibit

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Fayetteville has been chosen as the only city in the Southeast to display the art show, Art of the Masters: A Survey of African American Images, 1980-2000. The national touring exhibit was first displayed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library. After leaving Fayetteville, the show will move to Chicago.
The exhibition will be shown at the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County from Jan. 22-March 6. Admission is free. Personalized tours are available with advance registration.
The collection includes stunning artwork from John Biggers, Robert Colescott, Adger W. Cowans and many others with national and international acclaim. Hours are Monday through Thursday: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday: 8:30-noon; Saturday: noon-1 p.m. The Arts Council is located at 301 Hay Street in downtown Fayetteville. For more information, call 910-323-1776 or visit
For more information about other area events, log onto

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Teleseminar Discusses Rail Grant Opportunities in Small Towns

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – For people living in small towns, the train sounds of “chug,” “clang,” and “choo-choo” are pretty common. But in some, community leaders hoping to add a new ring – “cha-ching.”
In North Carolina, some towns are rebuilding depots for new passenger rail service. Others are sharing their heritage with tourists through rail museums. Town leaders are hoping to see an increase in their bottom lines.
So, who is paying for the new rail ventures? What are some of the challenges along the way? What is the expected payoff for communities to venture into the world of the railroad? Where do you start? How can your town climb aboard? What are some advantages? Disadvantages? Are there trends? What type of time commitment is required from city officials to bring rail into their mix of local services? What are some of the grants available and how do you get them?
These are some questions that will be discussed during a teleseminar on Monday, August 31, from 10 to 11 a.m. It is being sponsored by, a Website designed to promote small towns as tourist destinations. Anyone interested in participating can call a toll free number, listen and ask questions of the panelists.
City managers, members of city councils, chambers of commerce leaders and community economic development officials are encouraged to participate in the session.
Representatives from Conover (pop. 8,000), Oakboro (pop. 2,000) and Hillsborough (6,000) will share their experience on identifying opportunities, landing grants and dealing with challenges. Guest speakers will be Lee Moritz, member of the Conover City Council, Donald Duncan, Conover Town Manager, Bob Barbee, chairman of the Oakboro Regional Historical Museum, Larry Branch, Oakboro town administrator, Elizabeth Read, Executive Director for The Alliance for Historic Hillsborough, and Greta Lint, tourism consultant and writer specializing in small town promotion. John Delconte, owner of, will be the moderator.
The track running through Oakboro has been upgraded to allow faster trains. The new speed limit could signal passenger traffic, according to town officials. And if that happens, the new depot – which currently is the Oakboro Train Museum - could be a stop along the route from Oakboro to Charlotte.
In 2010, construction is slated to begin on a new passenger depot in Conover. The project is being funded by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program through the U.S. Department of Transportation. Plans are to add passenger rail service to western North Carolina through Salisbury, Statesville, Morganton, Valdese, Marion, Old Fort and Asheville.
Four passenger trains run through Hillsborough daily. A mid-day run with two more trains will be added in the next month or so. However, the town is not a train stop. teleseminars are designed to help retailers, promoters, leaders and small businesses in small towns increase their income.
To register, call John Delconte at 919-241-5001 or email him at

Monday, May 25, 2009

Eddie Miles to Perform July 2 at Southeast Old Threshers Reunion

DENTON, N.C.—Singer and entertainer Eddie Miles, considered one of the nation’s best Elvis-tribute performers, will be one of the headliners at this year’s Southeast Old Threshers Reunion when he performs two shows on July 2 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. The Reunion will be held June 30-July 4 at the Denton FarmPark in Denton, N.C.

With Miles performing in costume, the shows will pay tribute to Elvis and his music and feature many of the late singer’s greatest hits. Shortly after the date was posted on Miles’ Website, the phone started ringing at the FarmPark with jubilant callers asking, “Is it true Eddie Miles will be there?” “Can we really see two shows for the price of one?”

“I’ve traveled far and wide, and Eddie is the closest to sound and looks of Elvis as you’ll find,” said the late Charlie Hodge, Elvis’ lifelong friend and band member.

Miles is no stranger to the stage. He has performed his show, “Eddie Miles: A Salute to Elvis & Country Legends,” since 1990, when he first took his show on the road. During the early 90s, Miles was a regular at Pigeon Forge, T.N., and later, a regular at Myrtle Beach, S.C. Today, traveling throughout the Southeast, he performs more than 100 shows yearly.

Miles began doing his tribute show part-time, but it quickly grew into a sensation when audiences began to recognize his talent.

“It was a dream of mine since I was a young boy to pursue an entertainment career because I’ve always loved music,” said Miles, a native of Bardstown, Ky. “I chased those dreams, and it seemed like the Elvis songs always got the most reaction, so the show just grew out of that,” said Miles, describing his start.

During his usual two-hour show, Miles begins with tributes to the great country legends such as Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and George Jones. His Elvis tribute is typically performed during the second hour of the show.

Because of time restraints at the Denton performances, Miles will perform only the Elvis-tribute section during his two shows. According to Miles, each show is different since he takes audience requests and gears his show around the songs the audience wants. His repertoire includes more than 200 Elvis songs.
Miles was invited to Memphis to perform his Elvis tribute during the 25th anniversary of Elvis’ death. He performed at the sold-out house with all the great acts that had appeared with Elvis during the singer’s long career.
“We’ve seen a lot of Elvis tribute shows, and Eddie’s is certainly one of the classiest ever,” said Gordon Stoker, a member of the legendary Jordanaires, one of the premier backup-vocal groups ever and a mainstay in Elvis’ recording career.

Admission to the Southeast Old Threshers Reunion is $13 for adults, $6 for children under 12 and free for preschoolers. There is no extra charge to see musical shows. Hours are 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily. Camping is available.

The Denton FarmPark is located 20 miles southeast of Lexington off NC Hwy. 49. For more information, visit or call 336-859-2755.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dailey & Vincent Headliners at Big Lick Bluegrass Festival

Big Lick, N.C. – Some of the hottest bluegrass entertainers in the country are going to perform at the Big Lick Bluegrass Festival in Big Lick on June 5 and 6. But, you ask, where is Big Lick?

Even though there is no town sign, you can’t miss it. Bright blue and yellow banners welcome you to what is left of the town that burned in the early 1900s – a farm that today is called Big Lick Festival Park. You’ll find it on NC Hwy. 205 between Charlotte and Albemarle.

And so will Dailey & Vincent, Goldwing Express, The Bluegrass Brothers, Al Batten & The Bluegrass Reunion, and Bill Yates & Friends Country Gentlemen Tribute Show. Goldwing Express puts on a lively, fun show and has performed in the past at the Big Lick Festival. Energetic brothers Robert and Victor Dowdy, of The Bluegrass Brothers, bring a traditional mountain flair to the show. Bluegrass fans know Al Batten, with his 5-string banjo, from his days with The Bass Mountain Boys. The “Ambassador of Bluegrass Music,” Bill Yates, along with the rest of his band, round out the program.

In April, Dailey & Vincent’s CD, “Brothers From Different Mothers” debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Albums chart. So it was no wonder they recently performed to record-breaking, standing-room only crowds at the Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Bluegrass Festival at the Denton FarmPark. Dailey & Vincent is the pairing of well-known bluegrass performers Jamie Dailey, former lead singer and guitarist for Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver; and Darrin Vincent, who most recently was guitar and mandolin player and harmony vocalist with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. The New York Times recently called them “the most celebrated new bluegrass act of the last few years.”

In 2008, the group won seven awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association, including Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year, Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year, Emerging Artist of the Year and more.

Jeff Branch, organizer of the Big Lick Bluegrass Festival, feels fans are looking for another chance to see the dynamic duo. “They’re a powerhouse of talent and crowds love them,” he said. “They no longer fit in the up-and-coming category. They’ve arrived. And everyone starts from somewhere,” he said. “I anticipate we’ll see some new bluegrass performers during Open Mic. It’s a great place for new bands to play on the same stage as some the world’s top performers.”

Open Mic Night will be held on Friday, June 5 from 6-9:30 p.m., followed by The Bluegrass Brothers from 9:30 – 11 p.m. Admission is $5 per person.

Then from 12 noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday, the show will feature back-to-back bluegrass-music. Admission is $25 for adults, $12 for children ages 12-16 and free for kids under 12. Admission after 6 p.m. is $15 for adults.

Advance tickets are $20 for adults or $25 for both days. The deadline is June 1.
Camping is available. Everyone is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Food and souvenir concessions will be available. The show will be held rain or shine.

For more information or to purchase advance tickets, call 704-485-4906 or log onto