by Erika Giovanetti
January is set to be a landmark month for The Local and Blue Ridge Community Network, which have together set a goal to keep the spirit alive this winter.
The Local, which has had plans to launch its PASS program since November 2014, hosts its inaugural PASS event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 16. BCN will also host a talent showcase at the restaurant on Jan. 24.
“The partnership with BCN was decided based on timing, as well as enthusiasm on their part,” Michael Diettrich-Chastain with The Local PASS program said. “When I met with Ben (Loomis, who is with the BCN) he was very excited about the opportunity to be the first organization featured at The Local PASS event.”
The Local PASS is a social fundraiser featuring raffles, free appetizers and a free pint of beer for participants. PASS is an acronym for “provide, advocate, sustain and synergy.”
Appalachian Mountain Brewery and Appalachia Cookie Co. will be sponsoring the event, allowing patrons to purchase local brews and sweets, on top of the appetizers and pints available through the program.
BCN is a nonprofit that culminated between multiple community projects through solidarity of purpose, according to BCN spokesman Ben Loomis.
“Out mission is to create spaces within our local community that encourage networking and support positive change,” Loomis said.
Loomis believes that BCN’s mission is congruent with The Local PASS initiative, and is excited to be the first PASS partner.
“Working with the Local has been fun,” Loomis said. “The PASS program is a solid way for the restaurant to channel their audience and give back to the town. I really respect how forthcoming they've been giving us help setting the event up.”
Tickets are now available at The Local for purchase in person.
A silver PASS offers admission for one event, including a free pint and appetizers, as well as one raffle ticket, for the cost of $10.
The gold PASS costs $50 and grants the cardholder admission to six months of events and, in addition to the perks of the silver level, allows cardholders a 5 percent discount on all food items. It expires after 12 months.
Finally, the platinum PASS offers admission for 12 months of events, a 10 percent discount on all food items and expires after 18 months. The platinum PASS costs $100.
A significant portion of the proceeds will go to benefit BCN. BCN will also receive 10 percent of the food sales of the night from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., 50 percent of the total ticket sales for the night and 100 percent of the proceeds from raffle tickets.
“The overall response for this program has been so positive, so it's been great meeting with all of the organizations that have committed for 2015,” Diettrich-Chastain said.
In February, The Local PASS will benefit OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter) and will feature an additional component to the usual schedule of events for The Local PASS with more details to follow, according to Diettrich-Chastain.
Local nonprofit organizations looking to be featured at The Local’s PASS events may contact Diettrich-Chastain at or (828) 260-6224.
As mentioned, BCN will also host a talent showcase from 9 p.m. to midnight Jan. 24 featuring 15 acts from around the High Country.
“We're reaching out to as many active groups in the community to participate,” Loomis said. “We want a wide sampling of the cool things happening in Boone.”
A $200 cash prize will go to the winner, which will be determined by audience votes. After the show, Craven Sound Solutions takes the stage until 2 a.m. for an electronic swing-dance party.
Anyone interested in performing in the talent showcase should email or visit for the registration form.
There is a $5 cover, which will go toward the funding of future BCN events, such as this. The talent showcase is also sponsored by Appalachia Cookie Company.
The Local is located at 179 Howard St. in downtown Boone. For more information, visit , or call (828) 266-2179.
For more information on BCN, visit .
The Local holds inaugural PASS event, talent showcase with BCN
photo by Erika Giovanetti