Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Much Ado About Town

The Lit Fest – Who Knew?

Seven years ago, when I heard that Burnsville was going to host a literary festival, I thought, “Who will come to little Burnsville for a literary festival?   As it turns out, that was pretty much the same question well known Burnsville author Charles Price and his wife Ruth asked when they thought of it 7 years ago.  The answer?  Plenty!

Charles Price (3rd from right) and his wife Ruth (far right) 
relaxing on the front porch of the historic Nu Wray Inn
 with some visiting authors during a past Lit Fest.
 The first lit fest had 30 authors and 200 to 300 people attend.  The 6th had 45 authors and 300 to 500 people attend.  This weekend is sure to be even bigger.  For one thing, one of the authors, Joseph Bathanti, was just named North Carolina Poet Laureate 2012.  So, in addition to his 2 scheduled readings on Friday, he has agreed to add another on Saturday.  For another, a number of Friday morning authors are presenting programs for students, and up to 150 students will attend.

When I asked one of the founders of the event, new local author Britt Kaufmann, what makes our lit fest so special, she said, “Because it’s not a writer’s conference like most such events, but a reader’s conference.”  The lit fest committee has tried to keep it more intimate in small and casual settings throughout the town.  It’s more fun for the authors and the participants.  As a matter of fact, our event has developed such a good reputation with authors, that they contact the lit fest committee asking to be invited.

A Lit Fest audience pays rapt attention to the 
keynote speaker in the Burnsville Town Center.
Britt added, “Also, Lit Fest has an ongoing book club open to anyone to discuss upcoming lit fest authors.”

The Carolina Mountain Literary Festival runs this weekend from Thursday night to Saturday night, September 6-8.  Aside from a few workshops and the Saturday banquet, most of the events are free.  Details, a schedule and authors bios are available at


Seeing Stars

If you like to do things that are different, here’s one for you.  This Saturday night, September 8, the Blue Ridge Astronomy Group (BRAG) will have a public stargazing on top of Mt. Mitchell.  It will be the highest altitude star party ever held in the eastern US.  It’s free, it will begin at 8pm in the upper parking lot of Mt. Mitchell State Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway, mile marker 355, and refreshments will be provided by the NC High Peaks Trail Association.

Two of the 200-300 people who come to Burnsville's 
unique Stars on the Square stargazing event. 
 This Saturday's will be on top of Mt. Mitchell!  
In addition to BRAG, astronomers from at least 4 other astronomy clubs in Western NC will be there with many telescopes large and small to share.  So bring the grandkids and jackets for everyone.  Oh, and in case of bad weather, this event will take place the next Saturday.   Details at

Special thanks
In last week’s blog, Burnsville’s Abuzz, I completely forgot to give credit for the bike race photo, and the one of the man setting up a telescope, to my photographer friend who provided them, Steve Buettner.  His work is amazing.  You can see samples at or  His work is also displayed at the Toe River Arts Council gift shop and gallery on East Main St. in Burnsville, next to the Chamber of Commerce.

Check the calendar
Speaking of the Chamber, it’s website calendar,, has all the coming events.  Look for Glass in the Mountains, the Yancey Humane Society’s Fall Flea Market, Old Timey Days on the Square, Music in the Mountains, and a number of musical concerts at our Town Center – all in September. 

Plan a visit

With all that’s happening here in the mountains, why not plan to visit  The Cove at Celo Mountain during a weekend of events.  Get to know the area, our quaint and bustling town of Burnsville, and all we have to offer.  Phone 866 378-4769 and ask about our 2 and 3 day Mountain Renewal packages. 

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