Hillsville Town Council and “HillFest” representatives cleared the air at the regular April 25 meeting in regards to support of the September HillFest event.
The discussion was prompted by an April 26 meeting where town officials, local law enforcement, Virginia Health Department and Virginia Department of Transportation representatives were invited to discuss the music festival.
Laura Beth and Brian Parnell of Parnell’s Driving Range told councilmen they had put in the hours to be sure the festival would meet safety and health regulations and had they been informed of the Tuesday meeting, time might have been saved in answering any questions, and scheduling a meeting.
According to Laura Beth Parnell, HillFest is a three-day (Sept. 2-4) festival. The event website describes Hillfest as “spirited revelry with an effervescent air of music, art, and Blue Ridge Mountain culture.” Parnell confirmed this is the inaugural festival offering activities for all ages. The two operate Parnell’s Driving Range on South Main.
The slogan for HillFest is “Shakin off the Fleas.” Parnell said there will be four stages with more than 30 bands performing in addition to dancing, a hot air balloon and artisans and vendors with quality, handmade items. Libations, camping and children’s activities will also be offered. HillFest plans to offer shuttle service to and from Hillsville’s famous Labor Day Flea Market.
“We’ve tried to make this as local and representative of Virginia as we can,” said Laura Beth Parnell, who is also a member of the Friends Of Hillsville group. “It’s humbling and exciting to do something on this scale and have the support we’ve had. This is designed to enhance, not take away, from the flea market. We also hope to appeal to a group who may not necessarily be coming here for the flea market.”
The Parnells pointed out not being extended an invitation to the meeting left them in doubt about the support of the council. She asked if this was a typical procedure. Councilmen Ed Terry and Greg Yonce pointed out Hillfest is not a typical event. Yonce said the intent of the meeting was to let them know the town was available to help.
“We’d like the support of the town and right now we feel singled out,” said Parnell. “The reason we’re doing this is we love Hillsville and we want to do whatever it takes to show the world how special it is.”
Councilman Ed Terry said it “was not so much what you’re attempting, but when” and said he didn’t think they were being singled out. He said the meeting was an effort to be sure everyone is on the same page and council hopes the festival will be successful. Mayor Gregory Crowder said the whole council supports the festival and embraces the event.
Council approved Sherri Williams of Santa Fe Sun Tanning being added to the Hillsville Beautification Committee. Lora Terry of Country Formals & Gifts made the recommendation, citing Williams volunteering to be more active in the committee, which is always looking for more people to help with cleaning and planting projects.
Town Manager Retta Jackson welcomed new business “Country Diva” to the town. She also encouraged citizens to participate in the May 3 town elections. Crowder praised the cooperation of his fellow council members, saying the town was now “hitting on all eight cylinders now.” He said one thing he admires about council and town employees is they don’t give up.
According to the Hillsville Police Department activity numbers report for March 23 to April 6, the department assisted 33 motorists, conducted 29 criminal investigations and 21 follow-up investigations. The department performed 475 business checks and 14 house checks. A total of 24 false or unfounded calls were reported, 58 traffic warnings and 227 traffic summons were issued.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.