50th Annual Gemboree

50 Annual Macon County Gemboree - last two days!

50 Annual Macon County Gemboree – last two days!

The 50th Annual Macon County Gemboree is going on now, and there’s only two days left to stop in to the Macon County Community Building located on Hwy 441/Georgia Rd just south of Franklin and across from the Whistle Stop Mall. The event is a joint effort of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce and the Gem & Mineral Society of Franklin.  “We have had a great partnership over the years and that has lead to the success of this show,” said Linda Harbuck, Executive Director of the Franklin Chamber.  “Our dealers this year come from all over the country and will have a tremendous variety of items to show and sell.”

Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 11am – 4pm are the very two last days that you can stop in and see some of finest cut and rock cut gems in all of the southeast. This year we are pleased to have Mr. Jerry Call, a world renown geologist, join us.  Jerry attended the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, CA.  After graduating, he went to work for GIA in New York City as a Diamond Grader for the Lab and an Instructor of Gemology.  After three years Jerry accepted a job in Brazil as a consultant for a gem buying company out of New York.  “I fell in love with Brazil and all the gem stones there.  I moved to Brazil as a permanent resident in 1970” said Call.  “I went into mining right away from Aquamarine mining in the North of Brazil to Tourmaline mining in Minas Gerais Brazil.  We opened a large cutting shop where we cut the first fine cut calibrated stones in Brazil.  I have been involved in Brazilian rough stones for 44 years and worked the Tucson show for 25 years direct and many other Gem Shows over the years including Franklin, NC.” Call continued. Call is now retired but still involved in fine gemstones.  Call has a few stones in the Smithsonian Institute that he cut.  He is also the cutter of the Carolina Emerald in Tiffany’s NYC that was found in Hiddenite, North Carolina.

Stop on into the Macon County Gemboree. These last two days could see some exciting happenings and wouldn’t it be awful if you missed it! A present for someone special in your life and what a better way to remind them how much you love them!

Admission is $2 for adults, children 12 & under are free. For more information, please call the Franklin Chamber at 828-524-3161 or visit the website at www.franklin-chamber.com

 

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Wesser Bald Tower

The view from Wesser Bald Lookout Tower

The view from Wesser Bald Lookout Tower

If you’ve never explored  Wesser Bald Tower on the outskirts of Franklin and Macon County, you’re in for a true majestic treat. Wesser Bald is located about 20 miles outside of Franklin, as you head out Hwy 28 towards Bryson City, you’ll make a left onto Tellico Road. A few miles of paved road end and you travel another 9 miles on narrow, unpaved road that winds up to the top of Tellico Gap.

The winding road up

The winding road up

This road is at times very narrow and you must pay close attention at all times while navigating the switchbacks and sharp corners, as an oncoming vehicle can ruin your day. Wesser Bald is on the Appalachian Trail, and the the tower is one of only a few full 360 degree view vantage points in the area. The original fire tower was destroyed by fire, but the Forestry Service and Nantahala Hiking club joined forces to build the observation deck on the remaining metal structure.

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Wesser Bald Lookout Tower

Once you’ve reached the parking area, you’ll head up the hill to the right and follow the gradual climbing path up the summit, where you’re rewarded with this tower’s observation deck to look out over the Smoky Mountains, the Nantahala Ridge, the Cowee Mountains, the Balsam Mountains and the Tellico and Little Tennessee River Valleys.

For more information about the hike to Wesser Bald, along with lots more information about more things to see and do during your time here in Franklin, NC, please visit our website http://www.franklin-chamber.com/

 

looking out towards the Nantahala Ridge

looking out towards the Nantahala Ridge

 

 

 

 

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Summer Attractions

Bridal Veil Falls, Hwy 64, Franklin

Bridal Veil Falls, Hwy 64, Franklin

Every year, thousands of people make their way to western North Carolina for fun, adventure, hiking, and a place to get away from it all, right here in Franklin, NC. We have just about everything you need to fill a week or two with non-stop action and entertainment. Waterfalls, the Appalachian Trail, The Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, Main Street after dark, meaning, dining and entertainment. There’s so much to do and see, it’s common practice to make plans to come back, long before you’ve ever left from the current trip.

Waterfalls – Western NC is known for many, many waterfalls. Nature’s “Rock Music”, if you will. The above pictured waterfall is unique, in that, you can drive underneath and park their, while taking or posing for a photograph. Bridal Veil Falls is certainly a busy and extremely popular stop along Hwy 64. Others to visit in the immediate area are Dry Falls, Bust Yer Butt Fall, and Cullasaja Falls. All of these waterfalls are located on Hwy 64 E towards Highlands, NC. The approximate 9 mile drive up the curvy road can be intimidating, however, patience pays off and gets you there safely!

Hiking – With so many trails all over the area, you will definitely want to reach out and locate a hiking guide book or an app on a smartphone, to help you plan YOUR ideal trip. The Bartram Trail, Appalachian Trail, and many more smaller, more local destination trails, such as, Wayah Bald Lookout Tower, Albert Mountain Lookout Tower, Wesser Bald, and one of the most famous, Pickens Nose Trail.

If you’re an outdoorsman, photographer or just being out and are fascinated by mother nature, you’ll be able to get out and travel the back roads, hike the trail, find your spot and just lay back and become one with all that surrounds you. Snap a shot, cast a line -just see what turns up!

Come on back to town if you want to have a sit down meal at an upscale restaurant or head on down the road to some 50’5 fair. Otherwise, you have to make a trip across town toward the BBQ establishments. Head on in and get ready for some great eating.

If you aren’t tired yet – then it’s time to put you to work! At one of the MANY mines we have here in Franklin! Just recently we had a brand new discovery, a rather large Ruby was discovered at one of the local gem mines. You go in and purchase buckets of sand and then you’re off to “Siftin’ School”. They teach you what to look for in the gems and will then help you classify them. Who knows, maybe YOU can find the next BIG ONE!

For more information about events or many of our local mines, stop by the chamber website here Franklin Chamber of Commerce  or give us a call at 828.524.3161. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Franklin’s All American 4th of July

Veterans Memorial Park - Franklin, NC

Veterans Memorial Park – Franklin, NC

The celebration of our country’s independence is less than a day away. AAA is estimating record numbers of travelers will be on the roads, some of you may well already be on your way now! As the holiday weekend comes and passes, please take a moment to remember the brave soldiers of our Armed Forces. Those who sacrificed so much for this country to be what we are today. Those who made it home, and those who didn’t, we’re grateful to you and to your families, for all of the men and women who protect the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. Thank you and God bless you.

We would also like to to also return home safe! So please, no matter what fun and exciting plans you have, always keep the safety of yourself and others at the forefront of your activities.

Here’s a quick rundown of this weekends plans for Franklin’s Fourth of July weekend:

Friday, July 3rd – 7:30 pm

At the Gazebo in downtown Franklin, there will be a Free Concert:

An Evening of Red, White & Blues featuring Blues legend Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues. Bring your lawn chair.

In the event of rain, the concert will be moved to the FHS Fine Arts Center. There will also be a patriotic 3D projection on the clock tower after the concert or at dark.

Saturday, July 4th – Franklin’s All American 4th of July

At 10:00 am in historic downtown Franklin, there will be the annual Fourth of July parade. Anyone is welcome to participate, there is no registration required. Lineup begins at 9:30 am in the lower level parking lot of Town Hall. The parade will disband at Macon Bank.

11:00 am – Patriotic Pet Contest in the Gazebo

Trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners  – there is no registration fee

12:00 noon – Free, ice cold watermelon while supplies last in the Gazebo!

10:00 am – 2:00 pm – Two roving street performers. The performers consist of a balloon artist and a super hero.

There will also be other activities will be going on with many of the Main Street Merchants, so be sure to take a stroll down Main Street and check out what’s happening!

Then, the focus of Franklin’s All American 4th of July shifts over to the Macon County Veteran’s Memorial Recreation Park where there is a full afternoon and evening of fun, food and fantastic music lined up bringing you right up to the main event, the celebration of the Independence of the United States of America with the largest fireworks display in Western North Carolina at dark. Here is a schedule of the events at the park:

Free Shuttle Buses from Franklin High School beginning at 5pm

Free Funland for Kids sponsored by Biltmore Baptist Church

9:00 am        Horseshoe Tournament – Registration 8:30 am

3:00 pm        Cornhole Tournament – Registration 1:00 – 2:30 pm

Sponsored by ServPro

3:00 pm        Blind Golf Cart Obstacle Race

7:00 pm        Plunger Toss with $50 payout

9:15 pm        Bulls Eye Ball Drop with $500 prize

Sponsored by Smoky Mountain Chevrolet

Purchase balls at the Chamber Tent 1/$5 or 3/$10

Entertainment Schedule:

7:00 – 9:00 pm         Sundown Band

9:20 pm            Presentation of Colors, A Salute to all Branches of the U.S. Armed                                              Forces, and the Presentation of the National Anthem

9:30 pm         Fireworks Display (ground and air)

Donations will be accepted at all gates

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Fourth of July in Franklin, NC!

July 4th in the Park

July 4th in the Park

Get ready for a spectacular 4th of July as the Franklin Chamber of Commerce finalizes plans for the largest annual Independence Day celebration in Western North Carolina.  The 4th of July Fireworks & Fun Day will be held at the Macon County Veterans Memorial Recreation Park just south of Franklin off U.S. 441 on Saturday, July 4.  Activities will begin in the park at 1 p.m. and conclude at dark with one of the largest fireworks shows in the area.

“We always work hard to make this a very special day for those who attend” said Cindy Cavender, Special Events Coordinator for the Chamber.  “Our plans are complete and the crowds can expect a spectacular day of fun and excitement for the entire family.  The day will begin at 1 pm with lots to do including live entertainment, bungee jump, cornhole and horseshoe tournaments, the famous Plunger Toss and Bulls Eye Ball Drop.

Biltmore Baptist Church will again host a free kid’s inflatable area.   Campus Pastor Patrick Trawick invites you to drop by, say hello and visit BBC’s booth in the kid’s area and register for free wristbands for all day play.

The horseshoe tournament is being brought back this year and is being organized by  Frank Rodriguez and Chuck Tallent.  Registration will begin at 8:30 am near the horseshoe pits.  The tournament will begin there at 9 am.  Registration fee is $20 per team.  Prize money amounts to be determined by number of teams participating.

The cornhole tournament, sponsored by ServPro, will begin at 3pm.  Registration will begin at 1:30 pm on the baseball field and end at 2:30.  Cornhole registration is $25 per team with a total cash purse again at $650. Registration forms are also available at the Franklin Chamber of Commerce located at 425 Porter Street.

The Plunger Toss, sponsored by Ferguson Enterprises, has become one of the most entertaining and anticipated contests at the 4th of July festivities.  Kids and adults alike try tossing small plungers into the toilet bowl.  Land a plunger and move on to the next round.  Winners are declared in two age groups, Adults are 13 years and over and the Children’s group is 12 years and under”.  Prize money will be given to the winner of each age group. The plunger toss will take place at 7pm on the baseball field.

Another crowd favorite, The Bulls Eye Ball Drop, sponsored by Smoky Mountain Chevrolet.  Numbered golf balls will be dropped from the top of a crane high in the sky.  The closest ball to the center of the bulls eye on the baseball field will win $500.  The balls will be dropped around 9:15 pm.  Balls can be purchased at the Chamber tent in front of the baseball field for $5 each or 3 for $10.  Be sure to purchase your golf balls early before we sell out.

Bulls Eye Ball Drop

Bulls Eye Ball Drop

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Largest Fireworks Display in Western North Carolina at dark

There’s also great entertainment lined up for the evening.  Pickin on the square will be joining us at the park this year with the headline act for the night “Sundown”.  They will be playing from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm.  The Presentation of Colors will take place at 9:15 pm followed by a salute to all Branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.  The National Anthem will lead into the largest fireworks display in Western North Carolina beginning around 9:30 pm.

What’s the 4th without great food?  This year will be no exception.  You will find plenty of tasty treats like hamburgers, BBQ, hot dogs, Chick-fil-A, funnel cakes, kettle korn, ice cream and fresh lemonade.  There’s sure to be something for everyone.

A bus shuttle will run continuously from Franklin High School’s parking lot to the Recreation Park beginning at 5 pm.  There will be four buses running after the fireworks to help get folks back to their cars as quickly as possible. Since no parking is allowed along Wide Horizon Drive, everyone is encouraged to use the shuttle this year.

For more information about upcoming events visit www.VisitFranklinNC.com or contact the Franklin Chamber of Commerce at 828-524-3161.

We thank our additional gold sponsors – Macon County Recreation Park, The Town of Franklin and the Franklin Tourism Development Commission and everyone who donated to help make this celebration successful.

Remember, Franklin’s Fourth of July festivities will begin with the Parade on Main Street at 10 am downtown. Everyone is welcome to participate. The parade lineup will begin at 9:30 am in the lower town hall parking lot. The Most Patriotic Pet Contest will begin in the Gazebo at 11 am.  Free kids games and more will begin at 11 am with watermelon served at noon.  While downtown, be sure to stop in and shop with our Main Street Merchants.

We hope to celebrate the 4th of July with you!

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Taste of Scotland Weekend

Taste of Scotland Festival - Franklin, NC

Taste of Scotland Festival – Franklin, NC

Every Father’s Day weekend in downtown Franklin, NC there is a touch of Celtic tradition and a whole lot of Scottish history on display during the annual Taste of Scotland Festival. The festival begins on Thursday evening with a Clan Gathering and entertainment at Tartan Hall, First Presbyterian Church, 26 Church St. The dinner is open to the public and begins at 6 PM.

The festival picks back up Friday evening with a Ceilidh. It is being held on Stewart Street, across from The Rathskeller and in front of The Attic. The entertainment will be provided by My Three Kilts. The show starts at 7 PM and continues until 9 PM.

Saturday is when the festival kicks into full swing. Downtown Franklin transforms into a historic Scottish community with demonstrations, games, vendors, entertainment and more. If you have the courage, the Braveheart 5k race begins at 9 AM downtown. If you’re more of a walker and want the company of the same, the Rob Roy 1k is right up your alley and begins at 8:30 AM. To register, see race officials before the events.

Taste of Scotland Parade begins at  10:30 am

Taste of Scotland Parade begins at 10:30 am

The day continues on into the evening until 6 PM, but that doesn’t mean the fun is over in downtown. Franklin’s Pickin’ on the Square will come in at take over the entertainment until after dark, so if you’re wanting some entertainment after dinner, stop in and sit a while as you’re brought into the early summer evening with friends and neighbors.

For a complete listing of all the events of the Taste of Scotland Festival this weekend, please visit their website here Taste of Scotland Festival Schedule. And for an in depth look into all things Franklin, please visit the Franklin, NC Chamber of Commerce website here Franklin Chamber of Commerce.

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Lake Emory Boat Access Area

For  years, you could only launch from a couple of location along the Little Tennessee River to canoe, kayak, or small engine fishing boat your way down towards Lake Emory. Well… after Duke Energy of the Carolinas stepped in, things went to changing.

A process carried out over a number of months and years to get to where we are today. Shortly put, we now have a new Lake Emory Access Area on Lakeside Drive, just down from the corner where Dollar General and Highlands Road intersect. Off of East Main Street, you’ll turn onto Lakeside Drive. Follow Lakeside Drive just a short few minutes and you’ll see Lake Emory Access Area on your left.

Perfect for a day on the lake

Perfect for a day on the lake

Also at the access area, for those that are more land loving, but do enjoy casting a rod, there is an area that has been constructed as a fishing pier. Pictured below, the pier will allow folks to come in, cast a line, and be high above the water to catch their local favorites.

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Lots of room for all ages and sizes of fishers

When you show up for the day, finding the ramp and room to park are a snap. Make sure you read the signs and information about the river, Lake Emory, and the area before you depart. Remember to always boat safely and most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Boat ramp at the Lake Emory Access Area

Boat ramp at the Lake Emory Access Area

For more information about all things Franklin, NC – please give us a call at (828) 524-3161, message us on Facebook or contact here on our website: Franklin Chamber

Photographs and the stories are provided by Eric Haggart of Timeless Moments Imaging

 

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Firefly Event

Synchronous Fireflies light up the Elkmont area of Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Synchronous Fireflies light up the Elkmont area of Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Each year, in the Elkmont section of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, an event like any other in the United States, and for that matter, the world, happens in the late Spring. Thousands of synchronous fireflies begin their dance as dark settles in on the most visited national park in the country. As the night wanes to total darkness, the male fireflies signal their mating call by illuminating. The wave of light cascades over, around, and past you as you sit in the near dark natural environment.

Because the synchronous fireflies are such a popular, as well as unique, attraction to the area, limited access is controlled by the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Each year, a limited number of passes are “sold” to the public on a first come, first serve basis, at the end of March. The tour dates aren’t announced until then, due to the climate, conditions in the park can vary, which affects the peak period when the males are most active. It is a forecast at that point, but when the time comes, there are 85 “day before” passes that go on sale at 10 am, which are for the following night’s event.

The synchronous firefly event is happening now, through June 9th and if you’d like to take that most beautiful drive over to the Sugarlands Visitor Center, if you’re able to get a pass, you will not be disappointed. For information about the event, please visit www.recreation.gov and search “Firefly Event”.  For more information about Franklin, NC and all the more closer to home attractions and upcoming events, please visit our website at Franklin, NC Chamber of Commerce.

Images and text provided by Eric Haggart of Timeless Moments Imaging

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Our Mountains

Sunrise over Cowee Mountain

Sunrise over Cowee Mountain/Hwy 441

Quite simply, we’re a bit biased when it comes to the mountains here in Franklin, NC. And we believe, at the beginning of a new day or the end of the last one, we are so blessed and fortunate to live among the peaks and the valleys in western North Carolina

To quote a rather famous author of mountain inspiration – “How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!” ~ John Muir

Make plans now to be here this summer, whether it’s for the Scottish Tartan Festival, coming in June, the July 4th Fireworks display, the Mountain High BBQ Festival in August, or just the quiet nature and good old down home folk, come for a visit, stay for a lifetime.

For more information about lodging, restaurants, upcoming events and festivals, and everything Franklin, please stop by the Franklin, NC Chamber of Commerce website by clicking here: Franklin Chamber or give us a call at 828-524-3161. If you’ve already mae it here and want to stop by and say hello, get tons of great information about hundreds of businesses and activities, come in to our office at 425 Porter Street, just past Franklin High School.

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Memorial Day Weekend

The unofficial start of Summer is already upon us. For years, Memorial Day Weekend has symbolized the end of Spring and the ushering in of Summer’s longer days, sunny rays and more time to enjoy life outside. The banks are dotted with wild flowers, the trees have filled out all their greens, and some of the more beautiful foliage of late Spring, such as the popular Mountain Laurel are in bloom. The wild blackberry bushes are flowering in abundance, promising a rich harvest for those willing to chance the sting of the thorns for a taste of the sometimes sweet, sometimes tart, berry.

Mountain Laurels in Bloom

Mountain Laurels in Bloom

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Wildflowers popping up around town

Wild Blackberry bushes flowering

Wild Blackberry bushes flowering

There’s a lot great things happening this weekend as well. Pickin’ On The Square returns for another season with their first concert of the season. The J.W. Band will entertain the crowd with their own renditions of country music favorites from the past. Pickin’ On The Square is Saturday night, May 23rd, at the gazebo in downtown Franklin. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on and enjoy the show. Open mic is at 6:30PM with The J.W. Band kicking off their first song at 7:30PM.

Also on Saturday night, the Jonathan Byrd & the Pickup Cowboys will perform at the Macon County Heritage Center at the Historic Cowee School, 51 Cowee School Drive in Franklin. Tickets are $15 for general admission and are available at CoweeSchool.org, the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, and at the door the day of the concert. For more information, please call 828-349-1945.

We would be remiss if we didn’t wish all of our veterans, their families, as well as active duty military and their families a happy and safe Memorial Day. Often times, we take for granted our freedoms in this country and don’t take a moment to thank our veterans and soldiers for their sacrifice and also to remember those who paid the ultimate price to preserve the rights that we take for granted. So to all of our military, past and present, we thank you for your service and pray for your safe return.

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Macon County Veterans Memorial Park Highway 441S  Franklin

For more information about all the happenings this Memorial Day Weekend, please visit the Franklin, NC Chamber of Commerce website – Franklin Chamber of Commerce or give us a call at 828.524.3161

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