Blast on the Mountain struggling to get noticed

A Roan Mountain community event with at least five years of history is falling into obscurity, as the local residents seem to forget the event, or even the park it takes place in, even exists.

John Bland and Rhodyjane Meadows have been organizing Blast on the Mountain for the past five years, a collage of different community-focused events and activities, including an open mic time, tai chi and a weekly band series called Tuesday Blues, which brings different local or national bands to perform for participants.

It also includes a community farmer’s market, where the product is so fresh, he said the vendors often pick the vegetables the morning of the market.

“We are having a hard time getting the word out,” Meadows said.

The weekly event runs from May through September and takes place at the Roan Mountain Community Park, located behind the post office. Not only do residents often confuse this with the Roan Mountain State Park farther down the highway, but many residents seem surprised the community park exists at all.

“Eric Anderson is in charge of the park,” Bland said. “Someone asked him when they built the park. It is 15 years old.”

He said they were desperate to find any way to get the word out about this yearly project.

“What can I do to further promote this?” he said. “[Anderson] said the people that want to know already know. The rest do not care.”

The duo said this is often the case in Roan Mountain, which they described as a somewhat insular yet fluid community. Many residents come in and out throughout the year.

“We have a lot of passing-through people,” Meadows said. “We have a designation for snowbirds.”

The result, however, has some negative effects. Even though out-of-town travellers often come through the region and enjoy its beautiful sights, many of those same sights go unnoticed by the residents.

“My neighbors have never been to the top of Roan Mountain,” she said. “There is a special-ness in having an intimate experience, but you want people to know about it.”

The details of each event are featured in the Star’s Roan Mountain Community Calendar.

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