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Laurel Park hosts music festival, Jump Off Climb

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Music lovers can enjoy a popular cover band at one of the area's best outdoor venues on Saturday afternoon and bicyclists ready to burn  quads can race 5½ miles up the mountain to Jump Off Rock the next day.

It might be called Laurel Park Weekend with the two events, starting with the popular Jump Off Rock Music Festival. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. for the picnic, music and dancing festival organized by the Laurel Park Civic Association and sponsored by Pardee UNC Health Care. Dashboard Blue provides the entertainment.

"It's a great band and a great view of the mountains," said Mark Morse, president of the civic association, which raises money for projects to improve the town. "It's the only time of year you can have beer and wine there."

A couple of years ago, the association stopped having a barbecue truck serve plates. Now it's a picnic, so people bring their own food, beverages, picnic blankets and chairs. Festival-goers can drop off their supplies and their party and drive down to designated parking. A shuttle is available for those who want a ride back to Jump Off.

The association partnered with iDaph events of Asheville to host the first Jump Off Rock Hill Climb, a part of the Lung Buster Time Trial series. The time trial is one of seven cycling events in western North Carolina open to riders who want a professional race experience, no matter how fast they are. All levels and abilities are welcome. The Jump Off race starts at 3 p.m.

"Our unique mix of different racing environments allows riders of different strengths and focuses to level the playing field amongst competitors," organizers say. "Also, having seven separate events means that one poor showing won’t decimate your opportunity to do well in the series as a whole. So as to not leave out any cyclist: whether you’re an elite time trailer or a recreational rider on your road bike wanting to prove your merit in our Merckx/Standard division, we have both categories."

For more information or to register visit click here.

"With younger people and younger families moving in, we've got more bike riders," Morse said. "We thought it would be a fund thing to watch."