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News Third annual April Fools’ Trail Days to kick off season

Appalachian Trail hikers, visitors and locals will come together to celebrate the Appalachian Trail at Franklin’s third annual April Fools Trail Days festival on Saturday, April 2. The festival will offer a wide variety of all the things Appalachian Trail thru-hikers love most: good food, live mountain music, stories and lectures on how to hike the Trail, and a ‘hiker bash’ on Saturday. New for 2011 is the “Go Outside & Play Road Show,” powered by auto maker Subaru, and presented by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, a sponsor of the event. Above, Jennifer Pharr Davis — the women's record holder for the fastest thru-hiker of the Appalachian Trail — will be one of the featured speakers at the event.The Town of Franklin will hold its first festival of the year on Saturday, April 2, celebrating its appreciation of Appalachian Trail hikers. Despite the event’s title, April Fools’ Trail Days promises to be no joke, taking place all day in historic Downtown Franklin.

Event organizers are seeking to bring together trail hikers, visitors and locals at the third annual event, to raise awareness and celebrate the AT’s significance as a national hallmark.

“April Fool’s Trail Days was conceived in part by our designation as an Appalachian Trail Gateway Community,” said Linda Schlott, Franklin Main Street Program Executive Director. “We have a full day of fun planned and encourage the community to come out and support the hiking community that makes such an impact on our town each year.”

Franklin is one of only five towns to receive the Appalachian Trail designation along the 2,181-mile trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. As Franklin’s reputation grows among the hiking community as a hiker friendly town, so does the reputation of the festival itself.

Buncombe Turnpike - Pictured L to R: John Duncan, Griff Martin, Evan Swink, Tim Adams and Tom Godleski.“We have twice the vendors as in past years and this shows that this event is becoming well respected in the outdoor enthusiasts community,” Schlott noted. “Our entertainment has also been expanded and lots of children’s activities are planned. We want the community to come and experience this great outdoor event. We have moved April Fool’s Trail Days to downtown this year.

Festival activities are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., where visitors can connect with national vendors of hiking gear, educational exhibits, trail displays, music, food and more.

Activities & entertainment

One of the day’s highlights will be the 2011 “Go Outside & Play Road Show.” Powered by auto maker Subaru, and presented by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, the exhibit will make its first ever stop in Franklin. The goal of the “Go Outside & Play” exhibit is to encourage participants to become more involved with their local outdoor community and to inspire spectators to be more active in the outdoors.

Iotla Valley Elementary School ChorusAs part of the outdoor fun, those attending the festival can try their hand at a rock climbing wall that will be set up at Franklin Town Hall atop town hill. No fee will be charged to try your vertical climbing skills.

Many special guests will also be on-hand for the celebration including Jennifer Pharr Davis, the record holder for the fastest woman thru-hiker of the Appalachian Trail, and Warren Doyle who has hiked the AT more than anyone else. Davis and Doyle are widely respected members of the hiking community.

Headlining this year’s Trail Days lineup will be the nationally-acclaimed Buncombe Turnpike.

The award-winning Asheville-based bluegrass quintet will perform two sets of music during the festival.

Warren Doyle has hiked the Appalachian Trail more times than anyone elseOther entertainers scheduled to perform include local guitarist Ronnie Evans, the Sweet Tater Band and choral groups from Iotla Valley and South Macon elementary schools who will entertain festival goers with a special selection of music.

Running in conjunction with April Fool’s Trail Days is the Annual Hiker Bash hosted by Ronnie Haven at Sapphire Inn on East Main Street. This portion of the weekend is a way for hikers to connect, share stories and advice on hiking the AT and fill up on some good eats. The Hiker Bash will begin at 6 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2.

April Fool’s Trail Days is sponsored by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, Outdoor 76, Franklin Main Street Program, Town of Franklin Tourism Development Authority and the Macon County Tourism Development Committee.

For more information on the festivities of Franklin’s April Fool’s Trail Days visit the website at www.aprilfoolstraildays.com or call (828)524-2516.


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