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Flags will identify docks at participating homes.
Courtesy of Jerry Hale
The Crusty Minstrels concert at the YMCA at Smith Mountain Lake will benefit this year's Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour charities.
Friday, October 11, 2013
In a change from the long-standing tradition of using large orange balloons, this year the docks at the homes on the SML Charity Home Tour where boaters can tie up and offload passengers will be marked by 10-foot-tall event flags.
"The balloons nearly always created problems," said Charlie Diederich, the tour's traffic committee chairman for 2013.
"For several years they were helium-filled and sometimes lost their lift before the event ended. A brisk breeze would blow them nearly horizontal, making them hard to see from a distance. And there were times when half the balloons were lost in a brief thunderstorm," he added.
Looking for a marker that would guarantee good visibility for the entire three days of the tour, the traffic team hit on the idea of using tall orange flags to mark each dock.
"They're really easy to transport and install," Diederich said. "And there will be no mistaking them from the water. Boaters can expect to see one on every dock that is available for tour traffic."
Tour turning up the volume
Live background music played in selected homes on the 2011 and 2012 tour was well-received and will continue for this year's tour, which will be held today through Sunday.
An expanded schedule of music by volunteers is planned, with live music in at least some of the homes on all three tour days. Ranging from mellow saxophone to guitars, banjo, flute and keyboard to a complete bluegrass band, music also will be offered by a variety of groups and soloists on the decks, patios and docks of the featured homes.
"We've had overwhelmingly positive reaction to live musical backdrops in the past two years," said Denise Tuttle, head of the home administration committee.
There's more music associated with the home tour ahead. SML's New Crusty Minstrels will dedicate its 2013 singalong concerts to augmenting the funds the tour will present to its eight participating charities . The events are scheduled for Oct. 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. at the YMCA
The group's lively music with lyrics projected overhead for easy singalong, plus a lighthearted, dance-party atmosphere at the previous two concerts has prove n popular with lake residents.
This year's show, "Where Were You, 1952-62?," will feature tunes from the American Bandstand era - about 40 "oldies" that will bring back memories to scads of lake-area residents who danced to them as teens or heard them being played on their parents' home and car radios.
Tables will be provided in the gymnasium, and Hot Shots Family Fun Center will sell grilled burgers for those who prefer not to bring their own food. A large sock hop-style dance floor will be located between tables. Guests are reminded that high heels are not allowed on the gym floor.
Ticket-holding groups can reserve tables in advance using the instructions on their tickets, which are on sale for $20 each at RadioShack, Oar Knot, The General Store, Bedford Welcome Center, Basket Case in Lynchburg and Haywood's Jewelers in Rocky Mount.
Centra is the main sponsor of this year's tour.
High water makes for easy travel
"At this point, we can count on the lake being at or near full pond for tour weekend," said Charity Home Tour CEO Bill Piatt. "That means boaters will have minimal issues with shallow water as they travel the lake and approach the eight tour homes. It also makes for additional usable docking spots at several of the homes."
Piatt also said the lake "shows" best with normal water levels.
"Smith Mountain Lake is always pretty, but the many visitors the tour attracts will see it at its most magnificent this year," he said. One of the goals is to entice new people to vacation or invest in property here. Having the lake looking its best helps achieve that goal."
The Smith Mountain Lake Water Safety Council offers these recommendations for taking the tour by boat:
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