Tag Archives: Blacksburg

Take the Easy Way!

8 Mar

Easy Way Packaging Center

Post written by Cyndy Graham

Easy Way Packaging Center has been at 610 North Main Street since 1985, when Charlotte Joyce and her husband built the multi-space building and started their business. A fixture on Main Street, Cathy Taylor bought the business in 2005. ??????????
Today, Cathy, Charlotte, and long-time employee Daryl, operate the business, which offers mailbox rentals and notary services in addition to packaging and shipping. In fact, Easy Way is the only FedEx shipping location in Blacksburg. However, Cathy would like everyone to know that FedEx is not always the best option in terms of price and delivery time. UPS can offer comparable service and price depending on the destination, and UPS also offers overnight delivery. FedEx pick-up times are 4pm, 5pm, and 5:30pm during the week. An insider tip that might help you is that you do not need to rush to get your package to the store early! No matter how early in the day a package is dropped off at the store, the pick-up times stay the same.

??????????One of the many advantages of shipping with Easy Way, is the safety and security they provide. Each shipment is automatically insured. Although there are rarely problems, if a problem does arise, the team at Easy Way does the work for you to arrive at a solution. Cathy describes herself as a “people person,” and this fact is quite evident. She is warm and friendly, and this comes across in the way she does business. In fact, over the holidays a customer was so impressed when she informed him that he could ship his item at the post office for lower cost, he took to the blogosphere to commend her for her honesty.

Another advantage of shipping with Easy Way is parking. A hard-to-come-by luxury in downtown! There is ample parking available, and they can pull up to the curb to unload.  You can bring your package ready to ship, or the team at Easy Way can prepare it for you. They also have all of the supplies available if you choose to do-it-yourself. Operating hours are convenient (10-6 Monday-Friday and 10-2 on Saturdays). What can you ship? Almost anything! From tires to furniture to food, Cathy and her crew have seen it all. There are restrictions of course, and the knowledgeable staff is always there to assist you.??????????


Easy Way Packaging Center is located at:

610 N.Main St

Blacksburg, VA 24060

Tel: 951-4351

Dogs of Downtown- meet Minkie & Caly

10 Dec IMG_5945

Post Written by Erin Jenkins

Part 2 of our Dogs of Downtown series!

Right down the road from Matrix Gallery, and Mr. Keefer Dogg are the Sister dogs of Clay Corner Inn-Minkie and Caly.  These gals enjoy lawn games with their parents and the B&B guests. Caly is an expert cornhole player, frisbee golfer, and both sisters love their tennis balls. Caly is a beautiful IMG_5942nine year old golden retriever, she’s a part-timer at Clay Corner Inn, and part time receptionist at Heartstrings Pet Lodging and Spa. Minky is an adorable jack russell mix, and a full time dog-keeper at Clay Corner Inn. I sat down with the two girls and their parents at their bed and breakfast one day.  Caly is the lover of the bunch, she wants a hug, a kiss, a pat, but she is not obnoxious about it. Minky is a silly girl, and her favorite stance is sitting back on her hind legs, paws folded.  These beautiful girls are friendly, happy, and very well trained. The girls moved east with their parents Nicky and her husband, Rick, when they took over Clay Corner Inn in the fall of 2011 after the original owners decided to retire. From their previous home in California they spent two years searching out B&B properties along the East Coast, wanting to get closer to their three children, the youngest of whom is in Barcelona, Spain, Nicky’s hometown.IMG_5944

The ladies of Clay Corner Inn live to be in their section of the backyard, where there is a taunting squirrel or two to corral. These little girls love being out in the canopy of trees that surrounds beautiful Clay Corner Inn, and sniffing in all the interesting scents that waft in. Although at times the view of a neighboring feline can just be too much to bear, we are all pretty sure these gals would not trade the Inn-life for anything.
Q: What’s the difference between people from Blacksburg compared to those in California?
A: I love people here! They are friendly and want to pet me and love on me. While walking on campus or downtown Dad says I’m a magnet for attention, because everyone always stops to pet me.


Q: What is it like to have other dogs and people staying in your home?
A: I LOVE IT! I like the dogs but I’m mostly interested in the new people, getting a hug, and showing them around my backyard.

Q: What is it like sharing your backyard with cats, squirrels and birds?
A: It’s RUFF!

Q: [for Minky] How do you like your job?
A: It’s great!…although I sure do wish those pesky squirrels would stop dropping in my yard unannounced.


Clay Corner Inn is located at:
401 Clay St., SW

Coming in our next installment of the Dogs of Downtown; meet Goliath, Marketing Team Member at Nest Realty.

Have you noticed that Downtown Blacksburg has been “going to the dogs” for a while now? What do you think about it?

Why not visit some of the Dogs of Downtown:
Calypso the Golden Retriever and Minkie the Jack Russell mix, Dog-keepers at Clay Corner Inn
Keith R. Dogg “Keefer Dogg”, Assistant Curator at Matrix Gallery
Molly and Minnie the mini-Schnauzers, Sales Assistants at Mad Dog
Goliath the Bulldog, Marketing Team Member at Nest Realty
Bella the Bischon Freis, Diamond and Fine Jewelry Expert at Capones Fine Jewelry
Barkley, Antique Collector at Heirloom Originals
Xena, the receptionist at The Laser Clinic
Milo, the greeter at 130 Jackson, who can often be found stationed outside Bollo’s

Other doggie friendly spots in Blacksburg:
Community Arts Information Office
Fringe Benefit
Greenhouse Boardshop: they usually have treats for Fido
Heavener Hardware Lumber and Rental
Heirloom Originals
High Peak Sportswear
Huckleberry Trail
Mad Dog
Market Square Park
Matrix Gallery
Nest Realty
The Henderson Lawn

PLEASE be a responsible pet owner and pick up after your dogs.

See your design on 2013 Steppin’ Out T-shirt!

18 Nov SO_silly_design

How would you like to see this as the design on the 2013 Steppin’ Out T-Shirt?

Well neither would we! So now is the time for you to submit your design and you could win not only $500 in cool hard cash..(well a cool hard check actually but you know what we mean right?!) But you would also be the proud designer of the 2013 Steppin’ Out t-shirt which carries the honor of  being profiled through advertising/news articles, in store windows where t-shirts are sold, online prior to the festival, and at Steppin’ Out. Seriously you would go down in the annals of Blacksburg History alongside many other renowned t-shirt design artists from past years- including George Wills, Cece Bell, Forrest Worley and Robin Rogers. 33 years of Steppin’ Out t-shirt history.

You can get all the details that you need by downloading this nifty little pdf. SteppinOut_Design_Competition

So what are you waiting for? We are anxiously awaiting your design….or we could all be wearing Steppin’ Out t-shirts that look like this…….

And that would not be good for anyone!

T-shirt Design Contest deadline is Dec 14. Don’t spend the rest of you life saying “If only…..”

“Fitting Inn on Main Street”

29 Mar Main Street Inn_Exterior

Post by: Nancy Moseley

“Fitting Inn on Main Street”

Sometimes I think it must be a little daunting for a new business to come into such a tightly woven community where favorite staples line Main Street and the sight of new construction tends to provoke a “Now what?” reaction.  Sometimes I think it must be a little daunting to be the “new guy” in town.

Though Main Street Inn isn’t exactly all that new. Owners “Rip” & Darlene McGinnis opened the doors of the boutique hotel in November of 2008 in true Hokie fashion, on a busy Virginia Tech football weekend – which is one way to win over a college town.

The  “McGinnises ” also started off on the right foot in naming the hotel, assuring Blacksburg they wanted to seamlessly fold into the community and give something back to the town they love. When I sat down with current General Manager, Rei Allen, I asked more about the inception of the business.

“There was an opportunity to add something that didn’t exist yet, to fill a hole in downtown Blacksburg. But it was also important that we complemented and respected the existing businesses, not compete with them.“

For this reason there is no bar or restaurant on the premises, the Inn concentrates solely on providing the very best service in lodging alone. Guests are encouraged to leave the hotel to enjoy the rest – the dining, the countryside, the events or the university. The front-desk concierge helps visitors take advantage of everything the New River Valley has to offer. Backstreet’s Pizza, right next door, for example, started offering breakfast simply as a way to serve overnighting patrons.

The Inn’s neighborly business strategy helps recirculate local foot traffic and makes it easy for people to embrace the larger community. It’s a hometown win-win.

Enjoy open-floor- plan, suite-style accommodations , each with a separate living room that features a wet bar, microwave, refrigerator and sleeper sofa.  Additionally, there are two non-suited rooms with two full-sized beds that meet current ADA standards. Main Street Inn offers  complimentary wi-fi  and parking . A sizable, warmly decorated lobby is an attractive epicenter for all your comings and goings.

Occupancy remains steady throughout the year, with expected upswings during key Virginia Tech events like game weekends, graduation and new student orientation. Mondays through Thursdays keep busy with business travelers, visiting professors and corporate partners, while weekends peak with social functions like weddings, holidays and reunions.

Allen admits, “People come here for a purpose and the convenience of walking out and being right in the middle of things gives them a little something extra, a genuine and accurate feel for the area.”

The Inn has been known to provide overnight R&R accommodations for Appalachian Trail thru-hikers and boasts notable past guests like David Morse, Julia Styles, Ben Folds Five and Governor Mark Warner.

Allen, who graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism, spent 10 years in Chicago before returning to Blacksburg with her husband, a microbiology professor. She laughs that the biggest challenge of working at the hotel is also her favorite part.

“There isn’t the support of a huge corporation here. It’s just us. So one minute I could be fixing a broken printer, the next I’m planting flowers out front or meeting with industry execs. But that’s also what I love about it. There’s always something different to do.”

There is art to building valuable relationships with people when you are given such a short amount of time with them and the staff at Main Street Inn has perfected it. Their priority is to provide such a well rounded, good experience that those relationships will naturally turn into something longer term.

“We are ambassadors of downtown Blacksburg. We ask, ‘How long are you here and what do you want to do?’ We help the town and the people who live here put their best foot forward.”

Perhaps becoming one of Main Street’s new favorite staples isn’t too far away for the namesake hotel after all.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

a spoonful of paradise!

9 Jan

Post written by Lauryn Tamburello

I hope everyone has had a chance to have Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt (froyo) by now…it has been quite the craze lately and I don’t think it’s going away!

I moved back to Blacksburg over the summer after being in Northern Virginia for about a year and everywhere you looked, you’d find a self-serve froyo joint…I was in heaven. Then I moved back here and my boyfriend and I had to drive 20 minutes to Radford to enjoy the customized good stuff, I didn’t mind, but I’d certainly rather have one 5 minutes away instead!

Oh and now we do! Frosty Parrot has recently opened on Main Street right next to Mish Mish and across from the Post Office, a perfect location in our quaint town. You certainly can’t miss the shop either, with their fire red walls and colorful mascot parrot beaming through the windows!

Father and Son, Roger and Kyle Henderson can often be found at their proud establishment; Roger is in Partnership with longtime friend Randy Dutton and recently decided this would be a good venture. They started from nothing, no franchise guidelines or assistance and have learned the business through trial and error.

Roger has lived in the area for 20 years after bringing his family here on Father’s Day, 1991.  He is an ordained minister and has served as a Baptist Campus Minister at both VT and RU.  He currently serves on Sunday’s at First Christian Church (Disciples) in Newport.  Until this year, he taught Algebra at Blacksburg High School and continues to serve as the girls’ basketball coach.  Rogers wife, Cindy, is owner of Blacksburg Physical Therapy Associates. Roger says “It is my hope that Frosty Parrot Yogurt Creations continues to serve as a great alternative to the traditional bar scene.”

Kyle is a 2009 Blacksburg High School graduate and has been a part-time student at New River Community College.  Kyle serves as an assistant boys’ JV soccer coach at Blacksburg High School in addition to managing the Frosty Parrot. Roger’s daughter, Lindsey, is a freshman at Radford University but helps out with the family business in her spare time!

Like many folks in Blacksburg, Roger says that he always used the parking difficulty as a reason for not coming downtown very frequently.  “I really denied myself a treat.  Downtown Blacksburg is a diamond in the rough.  There is tremendous quality of food and retail shopping within – and just beyond – our 16 squares.  Downtown Blacksburg is more than the sum of its bars – there is great shopping, dining, and entertainment; certainly worth the inconvenience of a few extra steps.”

For those of you who haven’t yet enjoyed their 12 different flavors of froyo (and over 40 different toppings), stop by! You can check their flavors daily on their Facebook Page, where you can also find their hours.

When you first walk into Frosty Parrot, you’ll notice they thrive on cleanliness and a fun atmosphere, then you’ll see the wall of flavors! Grab a cup, choose 1, 2 or 12 flavors of froyo then head over to the dry toppings followed by some hot fudge or caramel and don’t forget to add some fresh fruit (or Reese cups, what New Year’s resolution?).

Looking for a place to get a head start on some fundraisers for your children’s sports, Greek Life, Relay for Life, etc? Look no further, Frosty Parrot offers “percent nights” from 6-9 where a team, organization, etc can come in to raise money and will receive 10% of ticket sales! The shop is also highly involved with the community, over Christmas, 20% of sales on certain nights when to the Montgomery County Christmas Store, a goodwill for the holiday season); also, they sponsor recreational sports such as basketball.

Also, don’t forget to “Like” Frosty Parrot on Facebook to receive frequent specials and look for their ad in The Burgs, the Collegiate Times and Roanoke Times for more discounts as well!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now you can sign up for a Parrot Pals Loyalty Card and earn points towards FREE YOGURT! Just ask for a sign up form on your next visit. Tell us about your favorite yogurt and toppings combination in the comments section below.

125 North Main Street
Blacksburg, VA  24060
Mon – Thu: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Fri – Sat: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
Sun: 1:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Down on the camera corner….

15 Dec

Post written by Tracy Watson
It is said that every picture has a story.  If that is true, then John Kline can probably tell it.  Ask him about the antique slot machine he traded for photographing a wedding, or about taking pictures of mining equipment seven levels down.  John Kline has seen and documented many changes since he first grabbed a camera so long ago.  Nowhere in Blacksburg will you find a better, more tangible record of the history of photography or of our town.

John has had a camera in his hands for as long as he can remember. His first camera, a Brownie Reflex, was his companion as a boy scout while he learned about the world around him. At Blacksburg High School he spent many late nights in the dark room as the school’s photograph editor. His summers were spent in the Virginia Tech photo lab. Even his years in the Navy were spent with a camera in hand.

John’s Camera Corner/Gentry Studio has been in downtown Blacksburg for more than 35 years. Having occupied many locations along Draper Road through the years, John recently returned to 213 Draper Road, a space he originally occupied when he first stopped working for Ewald Clark and started his own business. With all the extra room John has been able to fully display a remarkable collection of cameras, from vintage Brownies to 35mm cameras to modern digital cameras. While it may feel like a museum of photography, all these fascinating cameras are for sale and can be serviced right here.

John’s most unique camera can’t be found in his store, however. It’s in the restaurant across the street. A 1960’s photo booth. Pay your money, have a seat, flash your smile and take home a strip of four pictures as a souvenir.

John was among the first to offer  color processing in town many years ago and continues to provide film processing and digital photo printing today. He also does passports on site, photo restoration, large format printing and archival printing of your photographs. And if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, John will photograph your wedding, reunion, or other event offering  all types of photography from aerials to wedding photography.

John is a proud supporter of “living local” in downtown Blacksburg stating that ” Survival in downtown Blacksburg comes first.  We adapt to the changes, but still keep the old alive, for example we are just building a Black and White darkroom again. We have added Records to our store to add a little more variety.  I have even sold sleds in the winter so you may never know what to expect.”

Take a look at http://www.johnscam.com/ or better yet, stop by John’s Camera Corner/Gentry Studio at 213 Draper Road and take a look around.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hello Laser, Goodbye Hair

4 Nov

Got too much body hair?  Don’t pay for another painful wax when you can get permanent results at The Laser Clinic of Blacksburg.  Located at712 North Main Streetjust off the new roundabout, Mary Babcock opened The Laser Clinic about 7 years ago.

Excess hair on the face, arms, back, chest, legs and even the bikini area can be permanently removed over a series of treatments.  The length of treatment is different for each person and body area, but can range from as few as 4 months to as long as a year.  Some clients opt to remove excess hair on their entire body.  (Payment plans are available in those cases.)

And it’s not just for women!  The most popular target areas for men are the back and neck.  Mary has also treated men who have heavy facial hair to help thin out beards or remedy ingrown hairs.

Is it painful?  Well it’s certainly not as bad as a wax.  (Brazilian bikini wax anyone? Yikes!)  The laser machine blows cold air on the skin before, during, and after treatment to counteract the heat from the laser.  The sensation is similar to the snap of a rubber band on the skin.

Hair removal via laser is faster than with electrolysis and is effective with all skin types, though darker hair is easier to treat than lighter hair.  Mary can also remove spider veins and red moles.

Laser treatments are available by appointment only and Mary offers very flexible hours, including evenings and weekends, to accommodate customer’s schedules.  When you come in, the Clinic’s official greeter is Xena, Mary’s blue-eyed dog.  (Mary has extra treats in case you forget to bring one.)

The Laser Clinic also sells vintage Steppin’ Out t-shirts.  Just $5 each or 2 for $8.

Contact Mary at 552.1111 or at info@laserclinicofblacksburg.com to start battling your excess hair today!  Mention this post and you’ll get 10% off your first treatment.

Post written by Peg Warren.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Look Up the Best Tailgate Party in Downtown Blacksburg

3 Nov Kent_sq9

Post written by Karen Quina Doyle

Look Up the Best Tailgate Party in Downtown Blacksburg

No, really!  Look. Up.  The best tailgate party in Downtown Blacksburg is on the Kent Square Parking Garage Roof!  Game day spots are GUARANTEED with advance reservation, and according to Site Supervisor Stephanie Pascoe, space is still available for the Carolina game on the 17th.  “We’re as close to the stadium as most of the ones on campus,” lends Pascoe, “but twice as much fun.”

Specific spots can be reserved with Season Parking Passes at the start of the season for the discounted rate of $26/game versus a non-package rate of $35/game.  Non-reserved spaces in the garage’s four lower levels are just $25/game, but tailgating is limited to the rooftop for the open air nature of grilling, etc. You can also purchase lower level spaces in advance for $20 per game versus $25 on Gameday.

Tailgating is to fall as Up on the Roof! is to summer. 

On the last Thursday of every month from March through September, creative professionals, locals, and grad students gather on the Kent Square Rooftop to enjoy each other’s company as well as food, beer, and vodka mixers for a measly five bucks that goes directly into the non-profit coffers of Downtown Events, Inc.  Joining “Up on the Roof! Blacksburg’s Premier Creative Professionals Mixer” Facebook Group now will practically ensure that you’ll be in the loop to be on the roof with the rest of Downtown Blacksburg next summer.

More than just fun and games.

But the Kent Square Parking Garage is more than just fun and games.  It’s open 24/7 for more serious pursuits like finding the closest spot in the shortest amount of time (so you’ll have more to spend on what really matters, like shopping and eating) or making that meeting without worrying about having enough change to feed the meter or being greeted with the dreaded “TIME EXPIRED” ticket when you return.

Life’s simply too short to waste it wondering and worrying, so here are the

 Top 10 Reasons to Park Your Car in the

Kent Square Parking Garage!


You’ll enjoy the serenity and satisfaction of 24/7 closed-circuit protection for your vehicle


No bird poop on your windshield!


The first 14 minutes are FREE!


The repo man won’t find it!


You’ll NEVER spend more than $4/day on parking in Downtown Blacksburg!

15-45min: $1

45min-1.5hr: $2

1.5-2.25hr: $3

2.25-24hr: $4  $5 on weekends

$5 daily maximum rate on weekends, regular weekday rates still apply before 2.25 hours



“It beats parking on campus!”

(according to Kent Square Parking Garage Site Supervisor, Stephanie Pascoe)



American Red Cross, Avid LCC, Cabo Fish Taco, Center for the Arts, IMG Sports, Kent Jewelers, Modea, Real Life Dental Care, Senior Fellows for Resource Development, Sew Attitude, and SunTrust Bank will all validate your parking (Translation: FREE PARKING when you visit these businesses! Where other than Monopoly can you get that?)  Most businesses will validate parking for the time they spend at the business, not necessarily to cover an all day rate.


Kent Square Parking Garage Site Supervisor, Stephanie Pascoe rocks!!!

Stephanie is personally responsible for implementing Charlotte-based Park Inc.’s first-ever parking garage operation right here in Downtown Blacksburg!  Now, the company, specializes in valet services for hotels, restaurants, and VA hospitals along the east coast, Park Inc has taken her experience at Kent Square and  applied it to another parking garage in Washington, D.C.!  Way to go, Stephanie!!!



You’ll never have to feed another meter again!

Kent Square Parking Garage even accepts credit cards(VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover as well as cash and coins) AND gives receipts for reimbursements for taxes, businesses, etc. (ever get one of those from a parking meter??) 

And the #1 Reason to Park Your Car

in  Kent Square Parking Garage


You will never have to face the shame and humiliation of trying to parallel park in public ever again!


Let us hear from you!  

What do you think is the best reason to park in Kent Square Parking Garage?  Write your entry in the comment section below by 5pm Monday, November 7, and we’ll treat the person with the best response (as determined by Downtown Blacksburg) to Full day rate ($4) for parking at Kent Square Garage.  Validation tickets to cover parking for the day can be picked up at the Kent Square Garage office on the day you will be using the garage.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Kent Square Parking Garage is located at the corner of Draper Road and Roanoke Street; 383 parking spaces on 4 covered levels plus an open air deck with the best views of Downtown Blacksburg on top!  For more information, contact Site Supervisor,

Stephanie Pascoe at 540/443-3542 or at KentSquare@parkinc.com.


1 Nov

Missed TubaChristmas in 2010?
Check out this performance of Hark the Herald!

Now you are in the mood for some TUBA…we need YOU!

All ages and ability levels!
TubaChristmas is coming back to Blacksburg to join the Winter Lights Festival. Join in the fun as downtown Blacksburg celebrates with the annual lighting of the tree, parade, Holiday Market, Horse & Carriage rides, Art Crawl and more. TubaChristmas will make this the best holiday celebration ever! Bring your tubas, euphoniums and all of your friends to downtown Blacksburg on Friday, December 2nd , 2011.

Participants, please RSVP to ecrone@vt.edu

Schedule and Details:
• Parking: Kent Square Parking Garage – 207 Draper Rd, Blacksburg, VA 24060.
• Registration: 3:00 to 4:00pm – $5.00 per musician (Department of Music, rm. 243, Squires Virginia Tech)
• Rehearsal: 4:00 to 5:15pm (Department of Music, rm. 243, Squires Virginia Tech)
• Break: 5:15pm to 6pm (Dinner will be provided for the musicians.) Pizza, hot chocolate, coffee and water.
• Performance: 6pm to 7pm, Market Square Park, outside with heaters. (Warm weather dress and plastic mouthpieces are in order.)
• Available for purchase: TubaChristmas hats and/or scarves, Music ‘Carols for a Merry TubaChristmas ,  and Commemorative buttons.

TubaChristmas is sponsored by Downtown Blacksburg, Inc.and the Department of Music at Virginia Tech

About TubaChristmas

You are again invited to participate in one or more of the TUBACHRISTMAS concerts/events presented throughout the world. TUBACHRISTMAS was conceived in 1974 as a tribute to the late artist/teacher William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day, 1902. Through the legendary William J. Bell we reflect on our heritage and honor all great artists/teachers whose legacy has given us high performance standards, well structured pedagogy, professional integrity, personal values and a camaraderie envied by all other instrumentalists. The first TUBACHRISTMAS was conducted by the late Paul Lavalle in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink on Sunday, December 22, 1974. Traditional Christmas music performed at the first TUBACHRISTMAS was arranged by American composer Alec Wilder who ironically died on Christmas Eve, 1980. Wilder composed many solo and ensemble compositions for tuba and euphonium. He was a loyal supporter of every effort to improve the literature and public image of our chosen instruments. Through Alec Wilder we express our respect and gratitude to all composers who continue to embrace our instruments with their compositions and contribute to the ever growing solo and ensemble repertoire for tuba and euphonium.
Every Christmas season, tuba and euphonium players of all ages, from specific geographic areas, gather to pay respect – through William J. Bell – to all the great artists/teachers who represent their heritage. Every TUBACHRISTMAS performance features traditional Christmas carols especially arranged for the first TUBACHRISTMAS, (December 22, 1974 in NYC’s Rockefeller Plaza) by American composer Alec Wilder (died Christmas Eve, 1980). Through Wilder, TUBACHRISTMAS concerts pay grateful tribute to composers who have embraced these noble instruments with solo and ensemble compositions. Depending on the population of any given geographic area, TUBACHRISTMAS ensembles may attract multiples of 100 participants aged 8 to 85 years! The warm, rich organ-like sound of the tuba-euphonium choir has won the ears and hearts of every audience. It is no wonder that TUBACHRISTMAS is an established Christmas tradition in cities throughout the world.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you don’t play Tuba come downtown and enjoy a spectacular performance on December 2nd at 6:00pm in Market Square Park.

Please share your favorite TubaChristmas story in the comments section below! The best story will win a TubaChristmas commemorative button!

TUBACHRISTMAS is a property and presentation of the
P.O. Box 933 • Bloomington, IN 47402-0933
(812) 824-8833 • FAX (812) 824-4462
e-mail: coord@tubachristmas.com. Web site: www.tubachristmas.com
“. . .dedicated to developing, expanding, and preserving the music arts. . .”

Guess Who’s Celebrating 25 Years in Downtown Blacksburg!?!

29 Oct Matrix

Post written by Karen Quina Doyle

Revised: 11/16/12- Matrix Gallery is celebrating it’s 25th Birthday! Another year older and another year better and better! Come and join the celebration 11/16/12 4-8pm in Matrix Gallery.

Stepping into Matrix Gallery  on a late October day that might best be described as a mix of drizzle and bluster with a touch of grey, the forecast immediately brightens as shop owner Lana Jaurez ushers me in with her warm smile and easy way.

Lana Juarez

A few steps more, and I’m fully immersed in the company and domain of the attractive, petite shop owner with chocolate eyes and silvering bob.  I know in an instant I’ve just entered the realm of someone who is right in her element, doing exactly what she loves and even more obviously meant to do.

The Road to Blacksburg

As an Art Major at Tech in the ’70s, Juarez had her heart set on working at a Downtown Blacksburg craft shop in the spot that is now Poor Billy’s.  It closed before she got that chance.  Waiting and wishing for someone to reopen it, she took to the road as a juried artist specializing in stained glass, a craft, which by her own admission, she hasn’t pursued in a while.

The journey would ultimately take her across the country just as it had as a young “Navy brat” transported from California to D.C..  It was during these more recent ventures that she met most of the artists and artisans “from all over” she still represents to this day.  Even though she has long since left the juried arts circuit, the latest works of those early acquaintances are still exquisitely displayed right next to her more recent finds.

Opening the Doors on a New Chapter

Realizing she could no longer wait for someone else to reopen that craft shop, she, along with two others who have since moved on, opened the gallery November 7, 1987 just a few blocks up the road in what has remained its permanent location at 115 North Main Street.

Working Her Magic

During a visit that was altogether too brief, I immediately grasped the notion behind her success when two random gentlemen, one with a clear agenda and one without, appeared in her doorway. The more decisive of the two made quick work of coveting a dove sculpture, a premeditated gift for (it was apparent) a very special lady, though he was in no apparent hurry.

Every dog has his day!

He and the engaging Juarez lingered over musicians and friends they had in common along with a shared love for Keb’ Mo’, who (unbeknownst to him) had prompted the whole exchange by way of Lana’s sound system.   The other, asking where one “might find antiques in town”, was greeted with the news that he could easily find “future antiques” right there in Matrix Gallery!  It was clear to me that no one could open that door without feeling the urge to come in and find what would surely become a treasured heirloom.  Even I was not immune.  I ended up leaving with the perfect gift for a friend’s new arrival: a baby rattle crafted out of a single piece of American black cherry at the hands of Victoria, TX wood turner and furniture maker, George Bagnall.

Art from All Parts

The array of artists reads like a travelogue as diverse as Juarez’ journeys — Whiting, WA; Burlington, ND; Corrales, NM; Easthampton, MA; Arcata, CA; Haiku, HI — though weight and prominence are equally given to local and regional artists including Blacksburg’s own David Crane, Beverly Nachlas, and Sally Mook as well as Floyd’s Sarah McCarthy, Richmond’s Robin Cage, and the Shenandoah Valley’s Marsha Heatwole.  The offerings range from pottery to glass, jewelry and wood, leatherwork, and hand-forged steel among a variety of other media.

“I believe it’s important to continue the tradition of honoring things made by hand,” Juarez intones.  “Even though this is new,” she urges, cradling a pottery mug with heartfelt appreciation, “it’s ancient.”  With a compassion that is hard to miss, she emphasizes how hard it is for the American artist to make it, especially now as things are moving too fast at the hands of technology.  “It’s something we can’t afford to lose,” she says with an impassioned plea.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tell Us What You’ve Found There

Do have a favorite artist or prized acquisition from Matrix Gallery?  We’d love to hear about it. Please share your story with us in the comments section, below.

When you’re through, go by and wish Lana a Happy 24th Downtown Blacksburg Anniversary!  We dare you to leave empty-handed.

Matrix Gallery is open seven days a week.

Learn more at www.matrixgallery.com.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27,017 other followers