boone country

luke bryan is one of the featured performers at sunday's lykins park concert in winchester for the daniel boone pioneer festival.

luke bryan is one of the featured performers at sunday's lykins park concert in winchester for the daniel boone pioneer festival.

Kitty Strode was less concerned about the cost of gas as she was the general economic downturn as Winchester’s Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival prepared to turn 30 years old this weekend.

“I was worried this year because I know the economy has affected everything,” said Strode, who has been chairperson for the festival since its late ‘70s inception. “But we’ve actually picked up new money. Winchester is committed to this festival. Many of our non-profit and civic groups set up exhibits that weekend. But those groups are also the work force.

“I use one of the church groups to pick up trash. I use the football boosters to load and unload the sound equipment. The rescue squad helps with parking. We actually have a waiting list of people to come on board and help.”

The Boone Festival kicks off tonight with a 7 p.m. street dance and will continue through Sunday with a 5K run, talent contest and more than 100 vendors and exhibits. The event traditionally culminates in Lykins Park with a Sunday evening concert by a national country artist. The show has drawn as many as 10,000 patrons in past years.

In 2007, the Boone festival hit gold by presenting singer Rodney Atkins right as his These Are My People single hit No. 1. This year, the festival will serve up two newcomers: North Carolina singer Jason Michael Carroll, who hit the country Top 10 twice last year with Alyssa Lies and Livin’ Our Love Song, and Georgia native Luke Bryan of All My Friends Say fame. There will also a homecoming slant to Bryan’s set. His drummer, Kent Slucher, is a Winchester native.

“This is our weekend to shine,” Strode said. “Winchester is not a tourist destination. It’s kind of a pass-by. People are either going to Boonesborough or the Mountain Parkway or further down 64. As far as having a captive audience, this is it for us.”

The Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival begins tonight in Downtown Winchester. Jason Michael Carroll and Luke Bryan conclude the event at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Lykins Park. The Festival is free, although admission to the Sunday concert is $5. Call (800) 298-9105.

What Tree Growers Want For Christmas: A ‘Tax’

St. Joseph News-Press November 9, 2011 | Laura Batchelor NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Yes, Virginia, there was supposed to be a Christmas tree “tax” — and it’s just what the people who will pay the tax wanted. But its fate is as up in the air as Santa’s sleigh at midnight.

The Obama administration is backing a plan requiring U.S. Christmas tree growers to pay 15 cents per natural tree sold; imported producers will pay 20 cents per tree. The revenue would go exclusively toward a program that will research and promote fresh- cut Christmas trees in the United States.

But an outcry from conservative critics resulted in the Agriculture Department delaying implementation and revisiting the fee.

The Christmas tree farmers sought the levy. They have been hit by the increase in popularity of artificial and plastic trees over the past several decades, and they want to find a way to keep their businesses — mostly small family farms — going.

“I think with this program, it is going to be a positive and build up our business,” said Sherry Severt Taylor, the daughter of the owner of Severt Trees in Elk Creek, Va. Severt has tree farms in Virginia and North Carolina. go to web site christmas tree tax

“Individually, we can’t afford this exposure. But as a collective group, it’s going to help, and we need this help because of the artificial trees,” Taylor added.

But the idea that the administration is behind the 15-cent fee led to an outcry, particularly among politicians and the social media. And, according to media reports, that outcry led to a delay and re-evaluation of the levy.

The outcry was fierce.

“The administration’s new Christmas tree tax and ad campaign is clear evidence of misaligned and misguided priorities in Washington,” said Robert Aderholt, a Republican congressman from Alabama, in a news release.

Jim DeMint, Republican senator from South Carolina, dedicated an entire blog post as a criticism of the fee. The post, which is titled “Crony Capitalism, Christmas Trees, and the Stupidest Tax of All Time,” rips the administration’s plan apart.

The blog ask, “does anyone in America — anyone? — believe that Christmas trees have a bad image that needs taxpayer-subsidized improvement?” Sen. DeMint says the administration’s “scam” has gone too far and “public backlash will force Congress to shut down the Christmas Tree Promotion Board and repeal the single stupidest tax of all time.” The administration defended the idea. go to site christmas tree tax

“I can tell you unequivocally that the Obama administration is not taxing Christmas trees,” said Matt Lehrich, a White House spokesman, in confirming the delay and review. “What’s being talked about here is an industry group deciding to impose fees on itself to fund a promotional campaign, similar to how the dairy producers have created the ‘Got Milk?’ campaign.” There are more than 12,000 farms in the United States that grow and sell Christmas trees. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the average price for a fresh-cut Christmas tree was $36.12 last year, and the group says customers shouldn’t seen an increase in the price because of the tax.

Since 1966, the nation has had research and promotion boards, the first one being for cotton during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Other products that have research and promotion boards include beef, pork, peanuts, popcorn, Hass avocados, milk, eggs, cotton, watermelon and blueberries.

The Agriculture Department did not return calls to explain what it would do to revisit the plan.

Laura Batchelor

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