Sunday Sales and Stocking Fish

The late afternoon thunderstorm pattern has continued. Afternoon temperatures have been about 80° on our porch.

I was mistaken about Sunday alcohol sales beginning this past weekend. Actually, they were authorized right after the results of the referendum were certified. I’m told that the Black Sheep and the Fightingtown Tavern are pouring on Sunday, along with the Brewery. I have been told that Harvest on Main hasn’t decided yet. I haven’t heard about the other venues, but it’s good to have more restaurants open on Sunday.

We had an interesting experience last week at the Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery. We watched the stocking truck being loaded, which they do by pushing a screen down the raceway to concentrate the fish at one end. They are then dipped out with a net, weighed, and placed in the truck’s tanks. This particular day, the fish were all about a foot long, and they loaded quite a few of them. Kelly Taylor, Assistant Manager, also showed us a juvenile hellbender, which is something I’ve never seen before. It was young enough to still have its gills, and measured about two inches long. Overall, it resembled a tadpole more than anything, although with a more slender body shape. They find them in the process of cleaning out the tanks, and are trying to save them for a forthcoming research project. (Hellbenders are an indicator species. As they breathe through their skin, they can’t tolerate much sedmentation, which is why they are only found in extremely clean water.) The old idea that they are poisonous is a myth – I think people confuse them with Gila Monsters – but Mr. Taylor did allow that they have a significant bite, so most people who catch them on hook and line cut the hook. They’re extremely slippery and slimy, so I imagine it would be difficult to free them any other way.

My friend the Largo Legend, who covers the craft brew scene for us, brought a new festival to my attention, the Ocoee Fest. It’s set for August 30 & 31 at Adventures Unlimited, a rafting company located in Ocoee, Tennessee (on Hwy 64 on the western side of the gorge). Saturday is the home brew competition and music from Parsonfield, Seven Handle Circus, and Kyle Hansche. Sunday is the craft beer tasting, with music from Behold the Brave, Eight Knives, Shark Week, and Rob Leines. Tickets: 2 day VIP (includes craft beer tasting) $30 advance, $35 door. Two day regular $20/25. Camping and rafting trips are also available.

Pickin’ at Horseshoe Bend Park is back up and running Thursday evenings. That’s on the river just south of Copperhill. From Blue Ridge, you would go to Copperhill, cross the river, turn right on Hwy 60, and then right just before the tracks onto River Road. This brings the old boys out to play and listen to bluegrass. Picnic dinner and lawn chair are advisable.

The Blue Ridge United Methodist Church is hosting a Chamber Music Festival. We’re a bit late for the first event, which was last night, the Bergonzi Quartet. But June 27 at 7:00 PM, Jana Young, soprano and Marina Radiushina, piano, present the “Art of Song,” from Europe to Appalachia. June 29 at 3:00 PM, Pulse Chamber Music present “From Mozart to Gershwin.” Tickets are $20, with seniors and students $10, and children under 15 free.

The 4th of July Parade in downtown Blue Ridge will be held on the 5th, starting at 10:00 AM. Unfortunately, the Feed & Seed Marching Abominable will not be playing, but we will have the Appalachian St. Andrews Pipes & Drums.

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