By Ray Knapp
Unicoi County High School sure has their share of talented young actors and actresses who put on an energetic, refreshing, delightful, and downright funny play: “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” I was fortunate to catch its last showing on the 13th of this month. I laughed and laughed, and almost cried for poor ole Charlie Brown, played by Isaiah Tipton. Something, I hadn’t realized before, but the reason for Charles M. Schulz success with the comic strip “Peanuts,” is, a majority of his characters are you and me, or someone we know. These accomplished young actors brought that out.
In the play, one of the comic strips, Lucy, played by Bailey Robinson, was telling her brother Linus, played by Matthew Szucs, about trees and birds – a sparrow according to Lucy, was an eagle that hadn’t grown-up, and that snow fell from the ground upward and she refused to be corrected by Schroeder (Chase McNabb.) My guess, in real life, I would have been Linus, as I had an older sister, like Lucy, with a forceful mindset who refused to be corrected. I thought she knew everything. Well, she did turn out to be valedictorian of her class, which surprised the whole family, as some of her answers about everyday life were out in left field.
If you didn’t see the play, you really missed out, – even Woodstock, (Jade-Noel Peterson) who didn’t say a word played the part of a bird to perfection. She and Snoopy (Cameron Spires) put on some funny and amazing acrobatics scenes. In other words, I really enjoyed the play, and all the actors/actresses, not just the ones whose names I’ve mentioned. They all had their lines down pat. There wasn’t a hic-cup in their performances.
There was quite a bit going on around Flag Pond the 13th too. Their Ruritan Club was hosting Flag Pond’s famous Ramp Festival featuring lots of Blue Grass, Gospel, and original Mountain music; clogging, and a host of other activities, including a raw ramp eating contest that brings tears to the eyes of novice ramp eaters. That pungent plant is certainly in a class by itself. My wife was asking, “I wonder who the first person was – way back, that got up the nerve to eat a ramp? With that smell, wouldn’t people think they were poisonous?”
Unfortunately, I missed out on the festival this year, but a good friend, Garland James, posted pictures on Facebook, which showed a lot of the goings on – including his dinner plate that was overflowing with fried potatoes and ramps, side meat, coleslaw, cornbread and such. I wish I had asked him to get me a souvenir ball cap or T-shirt to commemorate how many years the festival has been in existence – 32, I think.
I sometimes marvel at all the entertainment going on around here. You can save your gas and motel money by just staying home and going on vacation during most of the year by attending events that happen in your own back yard, or front yard, for that matter. There are races over at Bristol’s fastest half mile, in April and August, but here in our county a lot is happening too. The Fiddlers Convention at Flag Pond’s old school was a sellout on April 29th, attracting visitors from near and far.
That same day, the Great Outdoor Festival was held in Erwin. Not to be outdone, Unicoi hosted the Fiddlers and Fiddleheads which drew a large crowd. The Heritage Museum opened that day to celebrate its 35th season, and the Clinchfield Railroad Museum opened – wowing visitors with a lot of new attractions.
You could say entertainment and activities opened with a bang this spring, which is just how I like it. The Kiwanis Club will be providing entertainment throughout the summer, each Friday evening, at Rock Creek Park outdoor Amphitheater, and for the more adventurous, there is always whitewater rafting on the Nolichucky. If you don’t like it that adventurous, there’s the Linear Trail to enjoy a leisurely walk and enjoy nature. Of course Erwin’s famous Apple Festival will be here, come fall – it’s just a pretty good life around here. Thanks Lord.