Interview With David Odom Taylorsville
Mia D'Agostino (2020)
I called Mr. Odom at around 11 am on a Monday, not knowing if he would even pick up a call from an unknown Connecticut number. The phone rang a few times, and then I was greeted with a thick Southern accent. I quickly outlined the Highway 64 project and asked him if he would still be interested in answering some questions about Taylorsville. Without missing a beat, Mr. Odom responded, saying he was currently at an intersection, but he would pull over and then be happy to answer my questions. Mr. David Odom is the Town Manager of Taylorsville.
Odom describes Taylorsville as a “small rural town in Western North Carolina, full of farming, furniture, and furniture.” Odom also highlighted the fact that there are over one hundred and thirty churches in the county, which could contribute to the “righteous persona” Taylorsville carries.
I began by asking what part of Taylorsville draws in the most tourists. Mr. Odom immediately spoke of Rocky Face Recreational Park, located at 3451 Rocky Face Church Road, in the northeastern section of Alexander County. Rocky Face offers a number of activities to the public, including camping, hiking, and rock climbing. It is also an ideal destination for picnic lunches! Another draw is the Emerald Hollow Mine, which is the only emerald mine in the world open to public mining. Located within the foothills of the Brushy Mountains, the mine is host to more than sixty different types of natural gems.
Mr. Odom stated that there are numerous events that serve to bring the Taylorsville community together. The Apple Festival is held on the third Saturday of October and draws an estimated 35,000 attendees. The festival has over four hundred booths and includes rides, entertainment, and food. The festival was started in 1988 to honor the importance of apples to Alexander County, which is third in North Carolina's Apple production. Next comes the annual Christmas parade, which is sponsored by the Alexander County Government and is open to everyone. Saturday, December 7, was the date for the 2020 Christmas parade, but unfortunately, it won't be happening this year. Instead, there will be a virtual parade with family activities and entertainment.
As a self-proclaimed barbecue lover, Odom mentioned Crossroads Grill and Scotty’s Hometown Grill as must-see dining spots in Taylorsville. Both restaurants serve classic American fare and are described as family-friendly. An honorable mention goes to Yellow Deli run by the Twelve Tribes in Alexander County, which Odom describes as eclectic but delicious, serving healthy food, bakery items, and mouth-watering apple pies.
Covid has impacted tourism in Taylorsville greatly, according to Odom. The citizens of Taylorsville have been doing their best to follow the governor’s executive order and limit assemblies, utilizing outdoor space as much as possible. One of the greatest impacts covid has had on the community is on the younger generation in canceling sports seasons. Many kids are involved in youth sports and it has been especially devastating to have their seasons canceled. With that being said, everyone is in the same boat, and finding joy in the little things.
Taylorsville's Annual Apple Festival
Micaela Soucy (2017)
The town of Taylorsville is nestled between two major North Carolina cities, Winston-Salem and Charlotte. It lies just off Highway 64 at the cross-section of Highway 90 and Highway 16. Driving into town we passed many commercial shops and restaurants crowded together. This gave the impression of a town influenced by financial gain instead of a town dedicated to its locals and the mom-and-pop shops that come with such a town.
However, the number of people attending the Taylorsville Apple Festival that day gave a completely different impression. The website for the festival claims “The Taylorsville Apple Festival is held on the third Saturday of October and draws thousands of visitors to enjoy the day of entertainment, food, and fun!” One thing they got right was the number of attendees the event draws in. Walking through the streets of downtown Taylorsville felt like pushing my way to the front of the crowd at a concert, a never-ending struggle against bodies also pushing in all directions.
This festival has been around since 1988, which makes this year’s 29th annual festival. Each year approximately 35,000 attendees pack the downtown streets lined with booths and food carts. Three stages are set up throughout the town also, featuring youth performers, gospel performers, and more. Crowds stand or seat themselves in front of these stages to enjoy the music with family and friends. A big grassy area houses the Kid’s Korner, which features blow-up slides with lines of kids and a decent-sized petting farm with goats, ponies, and even a camel.
Venturing up and down the streets, we were highly disappointed with the items and food that we saw. The table booths displayed repetitive articles of jewelry, clothing, and art. A lot of it didn’t even look like it had been handmade. We were expecting booths that would feature items one would see at a craft fair, but it wasn’t the case. As for the food. Being an apple festival we imagined there being different types of foods made with apples. Candy apples, apple pie, apple sauce, apple cobbler. We also thought there would be tons of different kinds of apples to purchase. However, the only things we saw were apple cider and one small tent selling a few types of apples. The majority of the food stands sold fair food: fried dough, nachos, pretzels, cotton candy, etc.
We arrived at the festival at around 2:00 p.m. and despite having a semi-big lunch we were craving something to fill our stomachs. As we passed food stand by food stand and only saw fair food, we came to the realization we weren’t going to find anything better. We had to eat something they were selling. As we passed one food truck the same word slipped out of all our mouths at the same time: “Dapples…”
Our minds immediately went to the assignment we had in class where we had to write about a time we tried a new, weird food. Upon approaching the truck, we were greeted by a friendly young woman. “What’s a dapple?” we asked.
“A dapple is an apple ring fried in donut batter.”
That was all she needed to say. We were convinced. Even knowing I have a gluten allergy, I still wanted to eat a dapple. The three of us eagerly received the cardboard tray full of fried apple rings sprinkled with powdered sugar.
My first bite into the fluffy exterior was like heaven to my taste buds, especially since I haven’t eaten anything containing gluten for quite some time. However, as soon as my tongue touched the apple slice, it immediately revolted. It was hot and slimy and seemed like the apple taste had been cooked right out of it. The texture was the weird part though because it contrasted too much with the doughnut dough.
Upon completing the dapples we realized our stomachs weren’t agreeing with the fried apple slices. Unfortunately, it was a day full of disappointments. I think this stemmed from the fact that our expectations were vastly different from reality. Had we done more research we might have known what we were getting ourselves into.
Despite my unenthusiastic assessment of the Taylorsville Apple Festival, the other attendees appeared to enjoy their time there. I don’t encourage readers to think that my experience is necessarily going to be their experience. Events like this are all that each individual makes of it. I do encourage readers to visit and explore the festival to experience it on their own.