LEE KNIGHT will present “A Songcatcher’s Notebook: Traditional Music and Storytelling” at the Marianna Black Library today (Thursday) at 7 p.m. Weather permitting, this program will be presented on the front lawn of the library; otherwise, it will be moved to the Library auditorium. Knight works as a folk singer, storyteller and outdoor leader, performing at concerts, workshops, festivals, camps and schools. He leads hikes and canoe trips and also guides whitewater rafts. He plays various instruments, including the five-string banjo, various guitars, the Appalachian dulcimer, the mouth bow, the Cherokee flute and the Cherokee rattle. There is no cost to attend this program. Call 828-488-3030 for more information.


THE 50TH ANNUAL MACON COUNTY GEMBOREE will run from today (Thursday) through Sunday, July 26, at the Macon County Community Building. Hours for the event are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Saturday, July 25, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 26. Those attending this year’s Gemboree will find a selection of fine jewelry, rough and cut gems and minerals, a wide variety of beads, lapidary equipment and fossils. There will also be demonstrations of faceting stones and hourly door prizes. Daily admission is $2 for adults; those ages 12 and under are admitted free. A run-of-show ticket is available for $5, and tickets will be $1 for Macon County residents on July 26. Call 828-524-3161 for more information.

THE MACON COUNTY LIBRARY will host “Unmasking the Magic with Professor Whizpop” today (Thursday) at 6 p.m. in the Meeting Room. A 30-minute magic show geared toward teens and adults, plus a 40-minute magic workshop will be held.

MOUNTAIN SYNAGOGUE will hold Shabbat services on Friday, July 24, starting at 6 p.m. with a kiddush to follow. There will be another Shabbat service on Saturday, July 25, at 10 a.m. with kiddush, lunch and Judaic discussion. Call 828-524-9463 for more information or directions.

THE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP OF FRANKLIN will host the Ubuntu Choir of the Great Smoky Mountains on Sunday, July 26, at 11 a.m.

THE MEN’S NIGHT OUT PROGRAM will go over general exercises for men and the important health benefits they provide. The meeting will be at Angel Medical Center in the Video Conference Room on Tuesday, July 28, at 6:30 p.m. Men’s Night Out is a partnership between Macon County Public Health and Angel Medical Center to provide free programs on a variety of health topics for men with an emphasis on the importance of regular health screenings. Refreshments are provided. Call 828-349-6887 or 828-349-2426 for more information.


JOE’S COFFEE HOUSE will host a talk with Michael Diebert, poet and poetry editor of the Chattahoochee Review, at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, July 24. Diebert will also hold a three-hour poetry workshop Saturday, July 25, as a guest of Glenda Beall, director of Writers Circle around the Table. Diebert teaches writing and literature at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta and is also the author of the poetry collection “Life Outside the Set.” There is no cost to attend the July 24 talk and other local poets will be there as well. Call 828-389-4441 or email for more information. To register for the workshop, visit


THE “SMOKIN’ IN THE VALLEY” BARBECUE FESTIVAL will be held Friday, July 24, and Saturday, July 25, at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. “This year’s event has features that all ages and groups can enjoy,” said Teresa Smith, director of the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce. “There’s a wide variety of country and bluegrass bands to listen to, a kids area complete with inflatables where they can bounce around and play while getting their faces painted or playing a nine-hole mini golf course. Crafters and artisans will be selling their handmade crafts where you can find the perfect gift.” Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 6 to 12. All children under the age of 6 receive free admission. Along with the other festivities, there will be a competition for the barbecue cooks at the event. The focus for the competition will be cooking abilities for chicken, pork, pork ribs and beef brisket. This year’s festival drew 48 professionals from around the country who will compete for the competition’s Grand Champion prize consisting of $2,000, bragging rights and a large wooden bear trophy made by chainsaw artist Jeremy Buckner. Visitors can be part of the judging process by purchasing $10 tickets to the “Maggie’s Best” and “Beer, Wine and Swine” competitions. The “Maggie’s Best” competition will allow visitors to enter the Tastin’ Tent, where they can sample barbecue from the numerous competitors and vote for who they think deserves to win. “Beer, Wine and Swine” allows visitors to sample barbecue prepared by Western North Carolina restaurants while pairing their food with wine and micro-brewed beer samples. The barbecue is then voted on by participants. Winners will receive a $250 cash prize, a trophy and bragging rights. Visitors are encouraged to bring their blankets, chairs, strollers and pets (no personal coolers) and enjoy the variety of entertainment. Call 828-926-1686 or visit for more information.


MURPHY MEDICAL CENTER AND BLOOD ASSURANCE will host a blood donation drive today (Thursday) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the area adjacent to the hospital’s cafeteria. All donors will be provided a free T-shirt and snacks. Call 828-837-8161 for more information.