Old Timers’ Parade kicks off Fourth of July celebrations

Community, Downtown Blue Ridge
Old Timers’ Parade

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. — The Old Timers’ Parade made its way down Main Street at 10 a.m. on July 4, 2022. The event, sponsored by the Blue Ridge Business Association, was the beginning of Independence Day celebrations.

Old Timers’ Parade

Blue Ridge Mayor Rhonda Haight attended the parade.

Old Timers’ Parade

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston also attended the Blue Ridge parade. 

 

The Fannin County Chamber of Commerce notes that the parade has been a part of holiday celebrations in the city since the 1950s. Government officials, local businesses, and local organizations all made their way down Main Street for the event. The Kiwanis Club of Blue Ridge and the Blue Ridge Community Theater were just some that had floats in the parade.

Old Timers’ Parade

 

 

After the Old Timers’ Parade, the Tri-State Community Band performed in downtown. The band performed several songs, including “Georgia on My Mind.”

 

Old Timers’ Parade

Local girls Shelby Belt and Allison Nuckolls wore festive outfits for the parade!

 

Parade attendee Shelby Belt told FYN: “I love the Fourth of July Parade because you see our community come together as one to celebrate freedom!”

 

 

City Council will move forward with parking ordinance

City Council, Downtown Blue Ridge
BRCC parking workshop

FANNIN, Ga. — The Blue Ridge City Council held a workshop meeting on March 1 to discuss parking in the city’s downtown area. Business owners, citizens, and members of the county government attended the meeting to provide their input and hear the council discuss the potential parking ordinance.

Mayor Rhonda Haight began the meeting by explaining the reasoning behind the council’s push to create a parking ordinance and the goal of a potential ordinance. “My proposal is not that we have paid parking on East Main, but we have limited parking. And that way we’re having a higher turnover rate where people can come in, they can shop, and then they can go,” Mayor Haight said. She made note of the council’s desire to designate areas for downtown employees, encourage train patrons to park elsewhere, and make the downtown area more accessible to everyone. Mayor Haight explained the council would propose a three hour limit on parking spaces along East Main Street, but clarified that “these hours would only be between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.” The City of Blue Ridge, as noted by Haight, already has a parking ordinance in place that sets a two hour limit on certain parking spaces, but that ordinance is going unenforced.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, several business owners spoke to share their concerns about the potential change. A common concern among those in attendance was the establishment of time constraints on downtown shoppers. Those speaking felt that rushing downtown visitors would have a negative impact not only on their businesses, but on the city as a whole. Changing Blue Ridge’s small town charm and southern hospitality and making visitors feel unwanted was a concern raised several times during the evening.

Some citizens who spoke at the meeting were concerned that further inaction would continue to isolate residents from the downtown area. In response, Mayor Haight mentioned the council would be considering options to address the issue, including stickers for resident’s cars.

Chairman Jamie Hensley and Police Chief Johnny Scearce, both members of the Fannin County Board of Commissioners, also spoke to the council during the meeting. Hensley spoke to the council about property that Fannin County had purchased for employee parking. Offering potential help, he said, “I feel that at some point we may be able to do something, at least on the weekend, with that parking area. So, maybe that will help alleviate some of the strain from downtown.” Police Chief Scearce also spoke, highlighting the importance of public safety in the context of parking accessibility.

While the council agreed action needed to be taken, there was some disagreement concerning the extent of the potential new ordinance. Council member Christy Kay, namely, was against an immediate three hour limit on all East Main Street. Instead, she suggested, the council could test the plan on small sections of downtown. Mayor Haight responded by encouraging action after several years of studies and planning, “We can keep talking about this forever or we can implement.” At the end of the meeting, the council voted to move forward with the process of drafting an ordinance that limits East Main Street parking to three hours.

Light Up Blue Ridge brings Christmas to downtown

Community, Downtown Blue Ridge
Light Up Blue Ridge in downtown

FANNIN, Ga. — Light Up Blue Ridge drew a large crowd to the heart of downtown for the Lighting of the Great Tree on Nov. 27. After a parade made its way through the city, attendees gathered around the tree to take part in the annual tradition, considered by many to be the start of the Christmas season.

With just a walk through downtown it is clear the community is preparing for December, and ultimately Christmas. In the days after Thanksgiving, the city of Blue Ridge was already adorned with Christmas lights and decorations.

Train decorated in downtown

The Blue Ridge train was decorated for the Christmas event.

 

After the parade culminated in the heart of downtown, those in attendance enjoyed performances from various musicians and community members. Mayor Donna Whitener spoke at the event, and introduced Brandon Lofton who led the countdown, “We really appreciate all he does for our community.”

Donna Whitener speaks to crowd

Mayor Whitener spoke to the crowd during the event.

 

 

 

Before starting the countdown, Lofton spoke briefly about his love for Blue Ridge. He asked the crowd, “Are you proud to live here?” and was met with applause. Lofton then began the countdown, and the attendees followed along. The crowd cheered once again as the tree was lit and “Jingle Bell Rock” played.

 

 

More Parking Coming to Downtown Blue Ridge

Community, News
parking

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Hawthorne Ventures promised to bring 186 additional parking spots to downtown Blue Ridge as part of the developer’s retail project.

The developer purchased the old United Methodist Church site approximately two years ago with plans to bring more retail and parking deck to the downtown area. The entire project is privately funded.

Fannin County Board of Commissioners granted Hawthorne Ventures a right of way easement to place tendon wires underneath the Social Security building to support the parking deck’s retaining wall.

“The back-corner grade sits up quite a bit higher than the front of the street, and we’re having to install a retaining wall,” explained John Kieffer, “It’s going to be a short wall, and we’re going to need tendons to support [it].”

https://youtu.be/Ahx_zBh5JAw

The wall sits on the old United Methodist property, but tendons start around eight or ten feet below the wall and drive in at a 20 percent downgrade. The goal is to hit the surrounding bedrock for stability. The tendons go anywhere from 12 to 40 feet underground.

Project engineers are working to ensure the supports won’t disrupt the structural integrity of the Social Security building. The tendons won’t be visible above ground.

Due to funding from a private investor, parking in the desk will cost drivers $5 in a numbered lot. Cash will not be accepted. People can download an app to pay or use the machine on site.

The proposed retail spaces should add around 100 new jobs in Fannin as well.

In other news, the commissioners approved Recreation Department Director Eddie O’Neal’s appointments to the Fannin Recreation Board: Brandon Holloway, Charlene Foster, Gayle O’Neal, Chris Hyde, Ryan Sullivan, and Clyde Bowers.

O’Neal also received approval to install gates and camera systems at Horseshoe Bend and Tammen Park. The county chose Mountain Valley Systems for the bid of $15,654. Mountain Valley currently runs the security cameras at the other facilities.

Both parks are getting camera systems, but the gate is being installed at Horseshoe Bend.
“Horseshoe Bend is kinda secluded and dark. I think it needs the same attention as Tom Boyd Park,” stated Post One Earl Johnson.

To prevent anyone from becoming stuck in the park after hours, a sign will be put up to warn everyone. They also plan to speak with Public Works to identify a potential turnaround area.

West First and Summit Street closed Monday and Tuesday for water main repairs.

Downtown Blue Ridge, Press Release

BLUE RIDGE, Ga.- Fannin County EMS has issued a notice stating the corner of West First Street and Summit Street will be closed for water water main repairs on Monday and Tuesday.

 

PRESS RELEASE

The intersection of West First and Summit Street will be closed Monday April 22 and Tuesday April 23. The city of Blue Ridge will have a contractor on site to make a water main repair.

FetchYourNews.com attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email [email protected].

Fire & Ice Chili Cook-Off gets better every year

Community, Festivals

Blue Ridge GA hosted the 9th annual Fire & Ice Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, February 16, 2019 in beautiful downtown City Park. Although it started out as a dreary, gray sky day, by afternoon the sun shown through the clouds for the estimated 7,000+ visitors who came to Blue Ridge from as far away as Douglasville, Augusta, Lafayette, and surrounding neighbor states.

The festivities began at 11 a.m. Chili cook-off judging was 4 p.m.

The Blue Ridge Business Association along with the Fannin Chamber of Commerce partnered to host this year’s event making it one of the largest and best the city has seen so far.

The judges for this year’s chili cook-off were:

  • Austin Ramsey, former head chef at Black Sheep.
  • Rick Skelton, Chair of Blue Ridge Planning and Zoning Board as well as Board of Appeals.
  • State Senator Steve Gooch.
  • Sarah Auman, owner of ‘Out of the Blue’.
  • Jane Waley, owner of Sycamore Crossing.

These esteemed judges voted in the following categories “on 5 attributes: aroma, color, taste, texture and aftertaste”:

  • Individual Adult.
  • Team Adult.
  • Civic Team.
  • Restaurants.

Visitors cast their votes for their favorite tasting chili in the ‘People’s Choice Award’.

This year’s contestants included:

  • Black Sheep.
  • Blue Jeans Pizza & Pasta.
  • Blue Ridge Brewery
  • Blue Ridge Parade of Homes.
  • Cameron Hall of Ellijay
  • Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar & Grill.
  • Chris Adgate.
  • Chuck’s Moonshine Chili.
  • Flying Trout Restaurant.
  • Grandpa Bill’s Wild Turkey Chili.
  • Grillin Gangsters.
  • Grumpy Old Men Brewing.
  • HempWorx.
  • Hot House Missionary Baptist Church.
  • Kevin Backus.
  • Mercier Orchards.
  • Pit Stop Chili.
  • Project Chimps.
  • Reggie Berry.
  • The Blue Coyote Bar & Grill.
  • Treo Blue Ridge.

Chili Cook-off tickets were $10 each. Beer and/or a glass of wine tickets were $6.

The businesses serving beer/wine with approved tickets were Grumpy Old Men, Fannin Brewing, Mercier’s Hard Cider, and Arches Brewing.

Placed around downtown Blue Ridge were carved rock ice statues. These beautiful pieces of art were created by ‘Rock on Ice’ Master Food Artist/ Professional Ice Carver, Titus Arensberg, from Sunbury, OH. He held several demonstrations throughout the event showing off his craft to an eager audience. All ice sculptures were carved with a chain saw making each one an amazing piece of art. In his 7th appearance for Fire & Ice Chili Cook-off, Arensberg stated he enjoyed coming each year.  

 Music was heard in downtown Blue Ridge for the duration of the festival. Rick Byers Band played a mixture of country, southern rock, bluegrass, and Americana tunes to the delight of many. Folks, young and old, were seen dancing under the pavilion while others sang along to their favorite tunes.

 

 

 

Even Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus took time out of their busy schedule in North Pole duties to visit.

As with many good things that come to an end on such a beautiful day and event, it was time to announce to winners in each category.

Civic Group:

  • 1st Place: Project Chimp (Morganton).
  • 2nd Place: Hot House Missionary Baptist Church (Mineral Bluff).

Individual:

  • 1st Place: Pit Stop Chili.
  • 2nd Place: Reggie Berry (Atlanta).
  • 3rd Place: Chris Adgate.

Team:

  • 1st Place: Blue Ridge Parade of Homes.
  • 2nd Place: HempWorx.
  • 3rd Place: Chuck’s Moonshine Chili.

Restaurant:

  • 1st Place: Black Sheep.
  • 2nd Place: Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar & Grill.
  • 3rd Place: Cameron Hall of Ellijay.

And this year’s People’s Choice Award goes to ‘Black Sheep’.  Congratulations to you and your team.

Well done, everyone. See you next year!

FetchYourNews.com attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit [email protected]

Mountain Street will be closed to thru traffic

News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Mountain Street in downtown Blue Ridge will be closed Wednesday and Thursday starting at 8:30 a.m. due to the city completing repairs in the area which were begun last week.

PRESS RELEASE

Mountain Street will be closed to thru traffic

The City of Blue Ridge will be finishing repair on the Mountain St sewer line Wednesday April 10 and Thursday April 11.

A portion of Mountain St. from the intersection at East Main to the intersection of West Main will be closed starting at 8:30 am on Wednesday. While we understand this is has been inconvenient, the repair work is a necessity.

The same traffic control plan as last week will allow access to all businesses and Roberts’s way should remain open during this process. Please communicate with your staff, customers and delivery people.

Safety of the crew and people on the road is the first priority. We encourage travelers using Mountain St to cut across town to take an alternate route during this time.

Mountain Street – Downtown Blue Ridge Ga.

Traffic Control Plan:
Traffic will be allowed to enter Roberts Way from the West side as long as it does not interfere with the safety of the crew or travelers.

The one way portion of East Main St will be turned up Mountain St to East First. Travelers on East Main between Davis St and Mountain St will be allowed access to those businesses but through traffic will be routed around to the City parking lot to exit on Mountain St and must turn toward West First St.

The Spa store and Tru Fitness will be accessible from the west side where public parking is located via the detour off of East Main into the parking area and must exit via Mountain St toward West First.

Special Olympics Week proclaimed in Fannin County

Community

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County honored its special athletes today, and officially proclaimed both in the City of Blue Ridge and in Fannin County that the week of May 16, 2018 be Special Olympics Week.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Special Olympics, Fannin County Middle School, Proclamation, Mayor, Chairman, Donna Whitener, Stan Helton, Downtown Blue Ridge, Fannin County Courthouse

Mayor Donna Whitener signs proclamation declaring Special Olympics Week for the City of Blue Ridge.

Crowds gathered shortly before 10:30 a.m. this morning in the free parking area of downtown Blue Ridge. Among those present were Special Olympic supporters, teachers, proud parents, Blue Ridge and Fannin County law enforcement and emergency personnel, representatives from Fannin County’s educational system, and of course, the athletes.

This year marks a very special anniversary for the olympics. Having begun in 1968, the Special Olympics celebrates its 50th year.

Blue Ridge Mayor Donna Whitener was present to kick off festivities as she announced that the City of Blue Ridge was officially acknowledging this week as Special Olympics Week and delivered a proclamation stating such from the city.

A lighting of the ceremonial torch set activities in motion, and the athletes were cheered on as they made their way up East Main Street to the Fannin County Courthouse participating in the Fannin County Torch Relay.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Special Olympics, Fannin County Middle School, Proclamation, Mayor, Chairman, Donna Whitener, Stan Helton, Downtown Blue Ridge, Fannin County Courthouse

Chairman Stan Helton signs proclamation for Special Olympics Week in Fannin County.

The celebration continued at the courthouse where the procession was greeted by Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton. Helton announced to the crowd that Fannin County too would like to recognize this week as Special Olympics Week and signed an official proclamation as well.

The Special Olympics will take place tomorrow, May 16, at Fannin County Middle School (FCMS). The opening ceremony will be at 9 a.m. in the FCMS gym.

Elementary athletes and Mineral Springs athletes will compete from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Middle and High School athletes will compete from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 

 

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Paws in the Park 2017 ~ Support the Humane Society of Blue Ridge

Community

Every year, Humane Society of Blue Ridge hosts Paws in the Park, an event that invites our community’s pet owners and animal lovers to participate in a variety of events, including a pet parade, costume contest, pet photos, and our main attraction: the Paws in the Park 5K, a USATF-certified 5K race course that runs through the streets of downtown Blue Ridge. In 2015, the Mutt Mile was introduced, a shorter course perfect for walkers and young ones.

Remember “ADOPT DON’T SHOP” and for those who want to find out more or support our local Humane Society of Blue Ridge Click Here!

 

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Candidate Nathan Fitts – Why Infrastructure needs to be a Priority in the City of Blue Ridge

Politics

I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when Irma came through Blue Ridge doing relatively little damage. But, what if it had lived up to all the dire predictions? Would the city have been ready?

We know that our emergency management team works hard to ensure readiness when needed. You may have seen them performing practice drills that encompass a variety of possible disaster situations. It is comforting to know we have a fine group of men and women at the ready when we need them.

But, is our city infrastructure ready for the next disaster? We have seen the flooding on Ada Street and on W. Main Street after it rains. One can only imagine the damage that would be done to property in the event of a major weather event. And how difficult would it be for our emergency responders to get to people in need if the roads are impassable?

If elected, one of my first priorities will be to address our outdated infrastructure. We need to know what, where, and why we are having these issues.

Once we have answered those questions, we move on to how we are going to remedy the situation. These are hard questions that will require hard answers, and elected officials that are willing to tackle these issues.

Our city is beautiful, indeed. We have lovely public spaces, a fine playground, a renovated train depot. Our newly completed downtown streetscape makes our city even more tourist friendly. All these are reasons that Blue Ridge is included in so many “best of” articles.

 

 

 

 

 

But, it won’t matter how beautiful our city looks if it is not built on a sound infrastructure. We must address this issue now, or pay the consequences later.

 

Your vote for me will be a vote for someone not afraid to tackle the tough issues!

11th Annual Paws in the Park presented by Humane Society of Blue Ridge October 21st 10am – 2pm Downtown Blue Ridge City Park

Community

Blue Ridge City Council Candidate Nathan Fitts speaks out on parking issues

Politics

The downtown Blue Ridge parking situation has been a hot topic over the last several months.  In fact, this has been on the radar for almost four years now.  As a member of City Council, I will take action in resolving this issue to ensure Blue Ridge has room to grow.

First, it is going to take all council members working together for this common goal to get any type of resolution.  Recently there have been different options considered by the current council, however, no real progress in my opinion.  Finding a “perfect” solution may be tough but there needs to be immediate attention paid toward finding both a short term and long-term solution.

Second, I have been doing some individual research in addition to reviewing the current data provided by the council.

From what I have found the first practical step is to make better use of our existing parking areas. To this effect, a hard look should be taken at the approximately 60 parking places which have been eliminated in the last 4 years.  Maximizing your existing supply of parking is a great place to start but it will not be enough to accommodate growth in Blue Ridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Furthermore, parking can be increased by efficiently utilizing existing city-owned property. This utilization of no or low-cost property would be an economical and actionable solution for additional parking which would both save the city money mitigate the need for land acquisitions.

I promise to immediately take action by proceeding with a comprehensive parking plan. This parking plan as outlined above will provide relief to our downtown parking issues.  I promise to work together with all council members and the mayor to support taking action through both short and long-term solutions. I humbly ask for your vote to serve the City of Blue Ridge and I pledge to never put any personal agenda or self-serving motive in front of what is best for my hometown.

 

12th Annual Rotary Blues Event September 15th 2017 in Downtown Blue Ridge

Community, News

Join Us @ Kiln & Crafts in Blue Ridge!

Business

Blue Ridge Parking Crisis, Mayor Donna Whitener holds listening meeting concerning parking

News

The lack of parking has reached a crisis point in the city of Blue Ridge. Mayor Donna Whitener invited the public to attend a listing meeting to hear what citizens and the business community thought about the parking crisis. Several comments concerning immediately solutions and long range planning.

FYNTV.COM / FetchYourNews.com recorded the meeting. Below you can watch the meeting along with the Blue Ridge city council special called meeting concerning parking on June 28th. This video will answer several questions business leaders had concerning the 3 hour parking rule.

“Ask The Doc” with Dr. Tidman – Shingles, Pedicures, and Adrenal Fatigue

Health

Dr. Whaley is traveling out of town so today we sit down with Dr. Tidman for our “Ask the Doc” segment! He has so much great information for us regarding these viewer questions:

  • Can anyone get shingles? Should people take the vaccination?
  • I like to get pedicures in the summer but are there risks, not all nail
    salons use liners?
  • Is there such a thing as adrenal fatigue?

He also has a great joke that he tells us at the end of his segment! Tune in to that to get your laugh of the day! We would like to thank Georgia Cancer Specialist for sponsoring this segment.

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