Nearby Notes: 3 days of foot stompin'


Mountain Dance and Folk Festival

The 83rd annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival will be Thursday through Saturday at the Diana Wortham Theatre, at Pack Place in downtown Asheville.

The three-day event showcases the best of the region's old-time and bluegrass musicians, mountain dance groups, cloggers and ballad singers. Shows begin at 7 p.m. each day and showcase mountain performers - long-established and up-and-coming bluegrass and mountain string bands, ballad singers, big circle mountain dancers and cloggers.

Featured entertainers include 83-year-old bluegrass legend Ralph Lewis (Thursday), acclaimed 82-year-old fiddler Paul Crouch (Friday) and award-winning balladeer Betty Smith (Saturday). The house band each night is the Stoney Creek Boys. About a dozen acts will perform each evening. Tickets: $20 (three-night admission: $54); $10 for 12 and younger. Details/tickets: 828-257-4530;


Themla Lou comes back to Mayberry

Actress Betty Lynn, who played Barney Fife's girlfriend Thelma Lou on "The Andy Griffith Show," is making a series of appearances at the Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy. She will meet with fans, discuss her role on the show and sign autographs on Aug. 17 and Sept. 21. She will also appear there Oct. 3 - the 50th anniversary of the show's debut (Oct. 3, 1960).

The museum is at 218 Rockford St., next door to the Andy Griffith Playhouse and a half-mile from the actor's boyhood home. The museum holds a trove of show and Griffith-related items.

Aug. 17 and Sept. 21, Lynn will be at the museum 12:30-5 p.m.; Oct. 3, she will be there 2-4 p.m. Museum admission: $3.

Lynn will autograph 8-by-10 glossy photos for $10 apiece. No photography is allowed inside the museum.

Details: 336-786-7998;

'FUN DAY' MONDAY Hilton Head, S.C.

Free day at museum complex

The Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, on Hilton Head Island, is staging a "Family Fun Day" from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday at its location at Honey Horn. Admission and most activities are free.

On your own, you can see the boardwalk exhibits, learn about the salt marsh, explore the Replica Shell Ring and visit the horse barn (where Honey Horn May lives with her foal, Bullet). At Camp Dit-It, there are archaeology demonstrations and hands-on activities.

There will be demonstrations of Lowcountry sweetgrass basket making, and Lowcountry rice and gumbo tastings. Plants that attract butterflies will be available for purchase at the Karen Wertheimer Butterfly Enclosure.

Visitors can try their hands at casting and pulling up a crab trap, tour the Heritage Garden and see what rice, cotton, indigo and other crops look like. At the event's Kid's Zone, youngsters can try on Colonial clothing, play with Colonial toys and games, take a scavenger hunt, etc.

Other activities will be available all day. The 68-acre Coastal Discovery Museum is at 70 Honey Horn Drive (at Gumtree Road and U.S. 278). Details: 843-689-3033 ext. 224;


Twofer admission Thursday at Ava museum

Why is the Ava Gardner Museum - 325 E. Market St., in downtown Smithfield - offering an admission deal on Thursday? Because it's John Huston's birthday: Mention the legendary Hollywood director's name, and you get a free admission with every paid ($6) admission.

Smithfield native Ava Gardner worked on several memorable films Huston directed, including "The Killers" (her breakout role), "The Bible," "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" and - most notably - "The Night of the Iguana." In her autobiography, Gardner says of Huston (who would've turned 104 on Thursday), "Working with him gave me the only real joy I've ever had in movies."

Details: 919-934-5830;


When penmanship was truly an art

The Michael C. Carlos Museum, at Atlanta's Emory University, is opening two exhibitions of rare Arabic-writing artistry: "Traces of the Calligrapher: Islamic Calligraphy in Practice, c. 1600-1900" and "Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qur'an." The shows, which open Aug. 28 and continue through Dec. 5, explore classic Islamic calligraphy through stunning works of art.

The shows examine the artistry of the tools used to create masterful works, highlight examples of calligraphy, and explore the social prestige associated with calligraphy. Approximately 150 objects are used to show the elegance of craft.

The museum is at 571 South Kilgo Circle. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sundays (closed Mondays and university holidays). Admission: $8; $6 for ages 6-17 and senior citizens; 5 and younger, free.

Details: 404-727-4282;