Good music, food served up at Nettlefest
High Rocks Academy students, staff and alumni welcomed visitors and celebrated with good music and good food during the fourth annual Nettlefest at the Hillsboro school on Saturday.
Recording artists The Dueling Fiddlers and Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys performed, along with new musical groups including The Hoophouse Sisters (Maribeth Saleem Tanner, Adrienne Juergens, Hazel Scott, Myra Morrison, Mica Baum-Tuccillo and Annie Mountcastle), the Gigue Saws and the I'll Get Back With You Laters, featuring Corey Bonasso on mandolin.
Visitors enjoyed home-cooked food and browsed vendor booths for a variety of arts, crafts and herbal concoctions, including nettle tea. A crowd sat in front of the stage to enjoy the music as some danced in a field behind the crowd. A wide array of handmade, artistic items were available during a silent auction, held to benefit the school.
Bill and Tina Noe, of Cornstalk, were volunteering at Nettlefest for the third straight year. Their daughter, Becca, is a graduate of the High Rocks program and will begin the study of adolescent psychology at Shepherd University this fall. On Saturday, Bill and Tina were serving up vittles, including nettles and kale greens, at a camp kitchen across the field from the concert stage.
Tina said the High Rocks program helped Becca in a variety of ways.
"They helped her a lot to come out of her shell, so she's not backwards" she said. "They helped her a lot in looking for a college, going to colleges to check them out. They give out scholarships and they also helped her to find more scholarships to go to school. She'll be going to college this fall in August. They have been very beneficial in tutoring with her. They help the girls by tutoring. They help the girls by helping them to practice for their SAT tests and ACT tests."
The mother said her daughter had a lot of choices for college, thanks to High Rocks.
"She was accepted to 11 different colleges and I don't think that she would have been if it wasn't for the help she got from High Rocks," she said.
Bill said he's enjoyed eating nettles since he was a young boy.
"My grandpa used to do them," he said. "He always mixed them with poke greens and mustard greens or kale greens or something like that."
The volunteer had no opinion on the reported health benefits of the stinging weed.
"Well, I don' know about that," he said. "I liked them awful good. I always have liked them. I've liked greens since I was a kid."
Tina said she enjoyed eating the spicy greens, too, and that they made her feel more energetic.
For information on the different programs available at High Rocks Academy, see www.highrocks.org.