Virginia back in Boone
The upcoming Blues, Brews, BBQ & Canoes tourism expo is back in tune.
Nashville-based country artist Steve Virginia, of the Brother Virginia duo, will reprise his performance from the inaugural event for the third annual expo May 10.
“As a solo artist, I played the very first … expo,” Virginia said. “It was a blast getting to be a part of such a fun event back then.”
Virginia, who grew up in Boone, is happy to return to his childhood home and, of course, the New River.
Blues, Brews, BBQ & Canoes is an outdoor expo, featuring all of the above, that targets “frontline” employees of tourism-related business, namely those who regularly interact with tourists and visitors.
According to expo organizer Jeff Stanley, owner of Wahoo’s Adventures in Boone, the idea is to educate frontline employees about all the tourism opportunities in the High Country, so they can offer knowledgeable answers and recommendations for tourists’ inquiring minds.
It’s also a “thank you” to these employees, Stanley said, as they’re treated to live music, a variety of food and beer from participating restaurants and businesses, and fun on the New River with canoes, kayaks and tubes, courtesy of Wahoo’s. The event takes place at Wahoo’s New River Outpost on Big Hill Road off N.C. 194 North.
It’s a chance to network, he said, to talk with other professionals and learn about their services, thus allowing folks to make informed recommendations.
“And a tourism venue can be something as simple as a jewelry store in a mall,” Stanley said. “If you do any business with tourists, you’re a tourism venue.”
There’s no admission charge (just a pay stub as proof of employment), and any tourism-related businesses are welcome to register by May 8 for complimentary booth space.
That, of course, includes complimentary music from Virginia and local Southern rock band Yellow Grass. Virginia, who comprises Brother Virginia with his brother, Eric, will be performing solo for this gig.
“My brother has a previous engagement in Nashville … so for this event, Brother Virginia is just going to be me,” Virginia said. “It will be a fun thing to do though, because I have not played a show as a solo artist in quite some time. Since the last event, I’ve been doing a lot of writing with all my Nashville writing buddies. I plan on bringing some of the new stuff, some of the old stuff, and some covers that are just plain fun at events like this.”
He added that the Blues, Brews, BBQ & Canoes show might be the live debut of Brother Virginia’s first single, “so that is pretty exciting for me.”
Although his brother will be in Nashville, Virginia’s ties to the expo may keep the music all in the family, after all. His uncle, Mark Scruggs, runs Mayview Rod and Gun Club, which will be hosting a booth at the expo. “My uncle is a drummer and might sit in for a couple of songs with me,” Virginia said.
Accompaniment or no, Virginia’s just happy to be performing in the High Country.
“It is, after all, my hometown, and there is nothing better than a hometown crowd,” he said.
Blues, Brews, BBQ & Canoes takes place Thursday, May 10, from noon to 6 p.m. at Wahoo’s New River Outpost on Big Hill Road, just outside of Boone. For more information, or to register for a booth, call Stanley at Wahoo’s Adventures at (828) 262-5774.