A High Country weekend is like a candy buffet. There’s so many sweets from which to chose, all you have to do is walk in and enjoy. Here’s a sample of two consecutive weekends of family fun.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 12
During a local restaurant trivia night a few weeks earlier, I won four tickets to any Hickory Crawdads home game. Tonight we decided to cash them in. Not just for the baseball, but the big fireworks show afterwards. So soon after leaving work I packed up the family and headed the roughly 70 minutes down to Hickory.
The game was great. It went to extra innings. But, sadly, the home team lost, 5-4. The kids enjoyed the game, or at least its atmosphere. The ballpark includes a playground area, complete with a carousel ($1 a ride) and jump house ($1 a kid for 5 minutes). The fireworks show afterwards was, literally, fantastic. It was set to classic rock and involved roughly eight minutes of continuous crayola explosions. Kids loved it, and fell asleep on the way home.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 13
The local treasure Horn in the West was having its final show of the season. The kids had yet to ever see it, and the weather was pefect – cool and breezy. Off we went for an evening of outdoor theatre.
The show opens with a gun battle. Actors in red coats after actors in colonial civilian garb, with occasional stops to ready, aim, fire a long-nosed rifled. After opening number one with more than one bullet, the show moves to dialogue, song and dance. Which meant for the next hour my four-year-old son repeatedly asked, “Where’d the guns go? When they going to shoot the guns again?” Thankfully my six-year-old daughter was engrossed in the dancing.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 19
My daughter was invited to a birthday party. At 8 p.m. On a Friday night. At school. And she loved it!
The birthday girl in question – or, more specifically, her parents – arranged for a birthday party out near the school playground. It was capped off with a movie, shown on the side of an inflatable on the field. It was a Barbie movie. Something about fashion and glamour. It wasn’t for dads. But the girls loved it.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 20
Less than 15 hours after one birthday party, my daughter had another one to attend. This time her brother could come too. It was a pool party at the exceptional Blowing Rock outdoor swimming pool. The pool includes water slides and a kids play area. They almost wore themselves out, jumping, sliding, paddling and stroking. Note almost, cause immediately after the party was something we’d long anticipated – Football Fan Fest at Appalachian State.
Each year prior to the football season the football stadium is opened to families and fans. Football players and cheerleaders mill about signing autographs and posing for photos. There are a variety of airwalks surrounding the field. And, better than all that, any and everyone is free to run the field playing catch, kicking field goals or simply rolling around in the turf. My son especially looks forward to that. Give him a ball and 20 yards, and he’s in pigskin heaven.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 21
This was impromptu, but uniquely special nonetheless. I was mowing the yard while the kids played amidst the trees lining the road. At one point a horse-drawn wagon came hoofing our way. It’s not that an uncommon site. I see one or two wagon trains a year. But this was the first of the summer. My son waved at them. The driver waved back, then directed his two horses to our driveway. There both kids got a couple minutes to pet the walking engines and touch a wagon up close.
Where else can you enjoy baseball, gun battles, movies at school, parties at the pool, football on the field and two horses in your driveway? Only in the High Country!