By Bridget Huckabee For the CVB
Staff and wire reports
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 —
Stanly County has much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving weekend. We like to think of ourselves as an oasis of calm in the midst of North Carolina’s busy urban centers. Untouched by sprawl, we are a land of rural beauty with scenic byways, lakes and streams and ancient mountain tops worn into softly contoured hills. The cool weather of autumn draws many visitors to enjoy hiking and boating at Morrow Mountain State Park, and this is the time of year when our small communities host holiday parades and craft shows and cruise-ins.
When the turkey is a memory and the pumpkin pie is no more, begin your weekend on Friday with a visit to the Falling Rivers Gallery on West Main Street in downtown Albemarle. This unique venue run by members of the Stanly Arts Guild displays the work of local artists and features paintings, pottery, jewelry and more. From now until December 24, 2011 the Gallery features the Saggy Frog Holiday Craft Show. With a wide variety of local one-of-a-kind hand-made crafts by local artisans to choose from, this is the place to find those special Christmas gifts.
Later on Friday, stow those newly-purchased gift items away and head out to Oakboro for the monthly Cruise-In. This event continues throughout the winter on every fourth Friday of the month. Although the crowds are thinner, giving the visitor more opportunity to see the lovingly restored old cars and trucks, and the Burn-Out will not begin again until next April, the event is still a popular place for photo opportunities and friendly conversation with the car owners.
On the other end of the county, from 7 pm to 10 pm, the Badin Inn continues its popular Friday night Pickin’ on the Porch. The porch itself is now winterized, a warm and cozy place to hear local groups entertain. This Friday, don’t miss the music of Loose Change as you wine and dine in this beautiful setting.
On Saturday, Locust comes alive with the spirit of Christmas. This is a great place to begin your holiday festivities. The Christmas Festival opens at 12:30 pm followed by a concert at Locust City Hall featuring Wayne and Gina Stewart. The Christmas Parade, sponsored by the West Stanly Lions Club, begins at 3 pm. At 3:30 pm to 7 pm there is a Community Blood Drive in the Community Room at the Town Center. At 4:30 pm Locust will hold the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Locust Government Center with Congressman Larry Kissell. 5 pm brings another concert by Wayne and Gina Stewart and from 5 pm to 5:30 pm visitors have the opportunity to tour the Locust City Hall. And for the grand finale, be sure to catch the 6 pm tree lighting.
Sunday afternoon between 12 pm and 5 pm is a great time to visit Uwharrie Vineyards. This 14,000 square foot facility located on Austin Road in western Stanly County, features a spacious visitors center, a formal banquet hall, large tasting bar and unique gift shop. Surrounded by 50 acres of beautiful grape vines, it’s the place to go to sample some of the award winning wines, tour the operations, bring a picnic lunch, relax in the rocking chairs, camp on the grounds or just enjoy the afternoon. Uwharrie Vineyards feels that life, like great wine, should be enjoyed to the fullest. Amen to that and Happy Thanksgiving.