Arts + Entertainment

coverThis Fourth of July there will be plenty of places from which to watch a fireworks display. North Jackson County will not be among them.

“I understand Sylva’s not having them this year,” said Cindy Cavender, marketing director with the Franklin Chamber of Commerce.

Ghost Town in the Sky, the seemingly ever-limping amusement park in Maggie Valley, did not open on June 20 as planned. Delays in running new water lines to the park’s upper levels have stalled the opening.

fr alaska“See that up there?” asked Alaska Presley as she piloted her Mercedes up a back road to the top of Ghost Town in the Sky. “That’s the drop tower there.” 

Critics of tourism-related economic development in Haywood County have joined forces with a conservative think tank from Raleigh to question the underlying premise of county travel and tourism agencies — namely, should they exist?

“Is that legitimate? Is that a core function of government?” posed Becki Gray, an analyst with the John Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Raleigh.

fr ghosttownMemorial Day weekend has come and gone, and Ghost Town in the Sky still appears much as the name implies. The closed gift shop and ticket windows sit watch over an empty parking lot. 

fr swainvisitorcenterThe Smoky Mountain News recently got a sneak peek of the new Swain County Heritage Museum and Visitor’s Center. Leading the tour was David Monteith, who’s been a driving force and visionary behind the museum since its inception.

The new Swain County Heritage Museum slated to open in downtown Bryson City this weekend not only honors Swain County’s history, but the sizeable visitor center housed inside also pays homage to Swain’s future.

It’s an unenviable task, but one Haywood County tourism leaders face every year: weighing dozens of festivals and niche marketing campaigns vying for a share of tourism promotion dollars.

Deciding which festivals hold the most promise for luring coveted tourists is a balancing act, and one that’s sure to produce its share of winners and losers.

The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority may be ready to start thinking about hiring an executive director. Board members of the still-new tourism organization are currently forming an exploratory committee to ponder the possibilities.

fr nocwcuThe takeaway from Western Carolina University’s inaugural Tourism Works conference was pretty straightforward. 

“I don’t think tourism gets enough credit for what it does for county economies, and I think it’s about time it did,” summed up Steve Morse. “In Western North Carolina, tourism is economic development.”

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Reading Room

  • A strange mix of books crosses my desk
    A strange mix of books crosses my desk The first weeks of 2018 have seen some offbeat books shamble across my desk and into my fingers. First up is John Buchan’s Mr. Standfast, also known as Mr. Steadfast. Buchan, a Scottish novelist and politician who served as Governor General of Canada from 1935…
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