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Posts Tagged ‘Mount Airy’

An Olympics of Native American games in Mount Gilead, a family festival celebrating gold in Old Fort and free concerts by the North Carolina Symphony around the state are just a few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find across North Carolina this weekend.

Here are nine suggestions to help you make the most of your limited time:

1. Try your hand at a whole host of traditional Native American games Saturday at Town Creek Indian Mound’s first annual Archaeolympic Games in Mount Gilead.

 

 

2. Hear some of the best light classical pieces of music as performed by the N.C. Symphony at free concerts in Tarboro Thursday, Chapel Hill Friday and Jacksonville Sunday.

 

 

3. Enjoy music by some of the state’s best old-time musicians at the Mount Airy Bluegrass and Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention Friday and Saturday in Mount Airy.

 

 

4. Celebrate North Carolina’s rich history of gold mining Friday and Saturday at the Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort with mining demonstrations, gold panning, gem stone screenings, the chance to meet renowned gold experts, children’s games, prizes, music and food.

 

 

5. Bring a blanket to Vance Birthplace in Weaverville for an evening of campfire storytelling Thursday.

 

 

6. Watch a movie under the stars at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh. The museum will be showing Dazed and Confused Friday and the sing-along version of Frozen Saturday.

 

 

7. Explore the North Carolina History Center at Tryon Palace with your kids after dark Thursday in New Bern.

 

 

8. Check out a new small case exhibit highlighting the history of funk music in North Carolina, opening at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh Saturday.

 

 

9. Join the North Carolina Symphony for a concert of the hits from the 80s Saturday in Cary.

 

 

Check out DCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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This year and last, we’ve been thrilled to host the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual meeting and music festival in Raleigh. Seeing the breadth of talent in the genre today and the massive number of people interested in a form of music that has strong ties to the western part of our state has truly been amazing.

So, now that you’ve been to (or at least heard of) IBMA and bluegrass, you’re probably wondering what more there is to explore. The answer is simple: a lot.

To get you started here are six Tar Heel bluegrass destinations and events you won’t want to miss:

1. The Earl Scruggs Center, Shelby, Cleveland County

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Named in honor of bluegrass legend and Cleveland County native Earl Scruggs, this spectacular museum opened to wide acclaim earlier this year and explores Scruggs and the roots of the music genre he came to dominate.

2. Red, White and Bluegrass, Morganton, Burke County

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Held annualy on the Fourth of July, there’s no better way to celebrate our nation’s birthday than at this festival, one of North Carolina’s largest music events.

3. The Mount Airy Bluegrass and Old-Time Fiddlers Convention, Mount Airy, Surry County

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One of the more significant of the music festivals held in the Blue Ridge area every summer, this convention celebrates the fame Surry County musicians have achieved throughout the nation.

4. MerleFest, Wilkesboro, Wilkes County

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One of the nation’s premiere music events, this annual festival honors Watauga County bluegrass stars Doc and Merle Watson and draws nearly 75,000 attendees each year.

5. Yadkin Valley Bluegrass Convention, Yadkinville, Yakdin County

A throwback to the more traditional, smaller music contests of yesteryear, this annual event has become a favorite among bluegrass and old-time music fans and musicians alike.

6The BarnEden, Rockingham County

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Not many people create a music venue in their front yard, but that’s exactly what Jerry and Debbie Wilson did just a few years ago. Stop by on any Tuesday night to see and hear bluegrass and gospel bands play in the Wilsons’ barn.

These six places and events are just a few tips to get you started exploring the Old North State’s rich bluegrass culture and heritage. Pick up a copy of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, produced by the N.C. Arts Council and Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, or check out the book’s companion website for more great ideas.

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I don’t think that many people are aware that the two most famous sets of conjoined twins in the 19th century called North Carolina home – Chang and Eng Bunker (the original Siamese Twins) and Millie-Christine McKoy (the Carolina Twins or the Two-Headed Nightingale).

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Chang and Eng Bunker. Image from the State Archives.

Chang and Eng Bunker, born in Thailand (then Siam) in 1811, amassed a fortune for themselves on the circus and exhibition circuit and retired to North Carolina in 1839.

They first lived in Wilkes County, where they married sisters Sarah and Adelaide Yates. With growing families, the brothers purchased land in Surry County and built large homes a little over a mile apart. For the rest of their lives they spent 3 nights at one house and then 3 nights at the other.

If you visit the Andy Griffith Playhouse  in Mount Airy you can see a large collection of Siamese Twin memorabilia. The North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill has Chang and Eng papers and artifacts.

Millie-Christine considered herself one person and railroad lines even issued letters to conductors instructing them to require only one ticket for the “dual woman.”  She was born into slavery near Whiteville, Columbus County, in 1851.

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Millie-Christine McKoy. Image from the State Archives.

Exhibited initially as a curiosity, the twins eventually learned to sing and dance.  She even performed for Queen Victoria in England. Having eventually been able to profit from shows and exhibitions (after emancipation), Millie Christine purchased the Columbus County property on which she’d been born.

The State Archives has manuscript collections for both Millie-Christine and Chang and Eng—they have put together an educational resource site that includes digitized images of some of the documents.

Chang and Eng and Millie-Christine are buried in North Carolina, and using findagrave.com, you can see their final resting places. (You can also see the grave of celebrated 20th century conjoined twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton, who spent their last years working at a grocery store in Charlotte.)

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