Editor’s note: This article features news and photos from past editions of the Ashe Post and Times (previously the Ashe Mountain Times).
Nov. 15, 2012
On Saturday, a champion White House Christmas Tree will take one last victory lap through downtown West Jefferson before making a 370-mile journey north to Washington, D.C., where it will find its final home in the Blue Room of the White House.
“To us, the big news for this year’s parade is the appearance of the White House Christmas Tree,” said event organizer Gwynita Steele. “The tree’s getting cut at 10 a.m. at Peak Farms, and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s truck will makes its way to West Jefferson where it will be on display for all to see in the parade. This is a very special time for growers Rusty and Beau Estes.”
The father and son owners of Peak Farms in Laurel Springs learned they would provide this year’s national Christmas Tree to the White House during the national tree association contest in Sacramento, Calif., in early August.
The national selection process began in 2011, when Estes won the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association Contest after he entered a blue spruce in the competition’s “other” category. That smart decision allowed Estes to bypass the more traditional — and hotly contested — path of entering a tree in the Fraser fi r division, which has cemented itself as the iconic face of the modern tree industry.
From there, Estes took another blue spruce to the national competition in Sacramento, Calif., this year, where a panel of judges declared it the winner.
“It was actually good for us to be in the other category, mainly because of where we were at,” said Rusty Estes during an August interview with the Ashe Mountain Times. “On the West Coast, the Douglas fir and spruce types are big in that area. … In Ashe County, you mainly see one type of tree. I think we received a lot of votes because of that and after the contest, someone told me it was a landslide.”
Following the conclusion of the parade, the tree will make its way to a celebration at Ashe County Courthouse featuring North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler at 2 p.m.
Nov. 20, 2014
With the flip of a switch, lighted displays spread throughout the town of West Jefferson and area residents had the chance to enjoy the first-ever Light up the Town event.
“We feel that we’ve had a great kickoff for the first annual Light up the Town,” said Keith Woodie, chairman of the West Jefferson Business Association. “This is the beginning of a major event in West Jefferson.”
Decorative lights on the town’s “bump outs” and lights on Backstreet Park were turned on at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, down the sidewalk from the West Jefferson Town Hall. Some of the town’s lights were already turned on, such as the lights and wreaths that were added to the 55 street posts in Downtown West Jefferson on Monday, Nov. 10.
According to information provided by WJ Town Clerk Wesley Barker, SkyLine/SkyBest donated $1,000 to the West Jefferson Business Association to pay for the lights added to the street posts.
“Look at the traffic we have in West Jefferson on a Saturday night. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen it like this,” Woodie said. “The sidewalks are full, the traffic’s everywhere and people are enjoying the lights. It’s almost a dream come true.”
According to Woodie, the annual holiday parade held at 3 p.m. on Saturday helped draw people to town to see the new lighted displays.
Also, Woodie said he was impressed by the participation of local businesses, which took the time to set up their own lights.
“You can see how beautiful this is, imagine thins in three years, if we double it or triple it,” Woodie said. “As I’ve already stated, it would draw people from all over.”
West Jefferson’s lights are scheduled to stay lit until after New Years.
Nov. 17, 2016
Westwood Elementary School students were treated to a real surprise on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Principal Jennifer Robinson dressed up as famous book character, Amelia Bedelia, and read a book, to all the students of the school, while standing on the roof.
Robinson also talked to the students about the importance of reading and bragged about them for having the highest reading EOG scores in the county. She also pointed out the great selection of books that were available for students to check out in the media center.
Robinson praised school media coordinator Laura Bowers for making sure the media center was stocked with interesting and inviting books. She then praised teachers for allowing students to pick the books they would like to read and for using the school’s media center and the teacher’s classroom libraries effectively.
This reading presentation was in coordination with National Young Reader’s Week and the Book It! Program. Book It! partners with Pizza Hut to reward students with free pizza for reading.
Robinson took the challenge to stress the importance of reading.
Students, teachers and staff were spellbound and couldn’t believe their principal was reading to them from the roof. Many students left the presentation and went straight to the media center and checked out Amelia Bedelia books.