The Fire & Ice Festival is next weekend, Saturday, February 14. Designed by the Downtown Business Association (officially, the Blue Ridge Business Association) to break the winter tedium, it’s usually a pretty good time. It is supposed to happen no matter what the weather brings, including snow. Here’s the official description from the Business Association: “Mark your calendars for live music, ice sculptures and amazing chili! Buy a $10 Tasting Card to sample the competition and vote for the People’s Choice Award. Featuring Live Music and entertainment from the Blue Ridge Community Theater actors. An amazing display of individual and unique ice sculptures from the award winning, National Ice Carving Champion ‘Rock on Ice’ including several ice carving demonstrations.” The tasting is from 12:00-2:00, and the awards are at 3:00. There will be live music and a beer and wine tent from 12:00-4:00. The actors will apparently be playing five famous couples from history. A horse drawn carriage will be available, I assume for an additional fee, but I don’t know that for sure.
There’s a new restaurant in Ellijay, at 1907 River Street, named “1907 Restaurant & Bar.” The chef is B.K. Foster, the owners are Wayne Sloop and Carole Fogle, and the Service Manager is Staphanie Lowell.
We finally made it to Chester’s in Blue Ridge, where we got the last seats at the bar last Wednesday at about 5:30. It’s the closest thing to a full on bar in Blue Ridge, and it’s basically a sports bar. When they have a crowd, it’s quite loud with the music playing. There are a range of craft beers in bottle and on tap, and a full menu. So far it’s drawing a little different crowd from the Brewery, which remains our favorite place for its pub-like atmosphere and food.
In local brewing news, the Fannin Brewing Company is now open for tastings and tours Fridays 5:30-7:30, Saturday 1:00-5:00, and Sundays 1:00-3:00. I’m told that Grumpy Old Men have been temporarily closed as they are installing new and bigger equipment, but that tastings will resume fairly soon.
The Blue Ridge Cellars are offering beer and wine tastings daily, with lunch, small plates, and tapas. They’re at 500 East Main.
A group of citizens who are concerned about the dysfunction and ridiculous shenanigans of some on the City Council have formed the Blue Ridge Taxpayers Association. Here’s their mission statement: “Our mission is to provide Taxpayers of the City of Blue Ridge with additional eyes and ears to see and hear the nuances of actions and decisions of their local city government, and to keep a watchful eye on those who spend our hard-earned tax dollars, while promoting awareness among citizen-voters about incompetence, waste, mismanagement and taxpayer abuse by elected officials at the local level.” Membership is $1, and can be paid to Lynda Thompson, the owner of the L&N Beanery across from the Depot on Main Street. It’s probably a good idea, because two of our three newspapers are absurdly biased, and the other one doesn’t always get it right. Also, it is a bit of a chore for those who aren’t either political junkies or people with a lot of skin in the game to read all three every week and try to figure out what’s going on.