On the Road: Getting Here From NY

Hardware store in Floyd, Virginia at the main ...
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JAMBOREE WARNING: Expect music in the street tomorrow evening, February 18–the first warm-ish Friday of the Musical Year! Stop over at The Station, visit the Floyd Artist’s Association Gallery. I’ll be there from 6 to 8, with the digital photography display, books and note cards, and maybe a few short readings. Stop by, say howdy, then get back to the music!

Honestly, we didn’t quite know what to make of it when an outfit from NY called “Bigfuel” called and requested some local grounding in what to expect, who to interview and where to go in Floyd–a destination they’d already planned to come for filming in late January.

How was Floyd to be “sold” for marketing purposes, and to which target audience?

We are understandably vigilant against any depiction of Floyd town or county that makes its citizenry out to be stereotyped “country persons” or town to be a cultural backwater model of HeeHaw. In the end, our concerns were put to rest.

But when I got word yesterday that the feature video was now out, I of course popped right over and give the three minute piece a look and listen

as Travel writer Mike Barish from NY gets a quick intro to downtown Floyd culture and hospitality. The Bells got some love, and there were flashes of Buffalo Mountain and a dash around Main Street. But mostly, it is a Jamboree feature. I’ll be happy when some film-and-story group chooses to come to look deeper into what’s going on here beyond town on Friday night. That will happen eventually. There’s quite a story growing in Floyd. But that’s for another time.

The travel piece, it turns out, is on a site promoting the Chevy Cruze. I’d have been more satisfied, given Floyd’s focus on sustainability, if the auto got better gas mileage. But hey–the feature could have been for a site singing the praises of McDonalds, WalMart or Monsanto.

Here’s how they bill the episode:

Floyd, Virginia is the quintessential small town with one traffic light and a neighbor-friendly atmosphere. For years, their Friday night Jamboree has brought together neighbors and tourists alike to dance the night away to some of the best bluegrass music in the country. Mike swings through Floyd to meet the locals and cut a rug.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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