Sipe's blooms with a new fundraiser

Sipe's Orchard Home will be the scene of humor and rock 'n' roll as the well-known band, Antsy McClain and The Trailer Park Troubadours, take the stage.
The Bloomin' Orchard Festival, which is planned for Sept. 4, will be Sipe's Orchard Home's largest fundraiser for the year with proceeds going to the organization's newest project, The Houston Cottage.
 "We are excited about the program, and the festival will help fund the program," said Nan Lacy, Sipe's Orchard Home marketing director.
The Houston Cottage is a transitional living center for youth ages 16 to 21 who are homeless. The cottage provides a skills-building environment, where children are working, volunteering, going to school or actively seeking employment.
The Houston Cottage opened earlier this year and was possible from the donations of area individuals, according to Lacy. By hosting the Bloomin' Orchard Festival, Sipe's Orchard Home hopes to raise enough funds to continue providing for youth in need.

Bloomin' Orchard Festival
The festival will be held on the campus of Sipe's Orchard Home, 4431 County Home Road in Conover, at noon on Sept. 4. Antsy McClain and The Trailer Park Troubadours will start playing at 5:30 p.m. Admission to the festival is free until 5 p.m.; however, tickets for the Antsy McClain concert are $25 for adults and $15 for students.
Other performers during the festival include the American Pride cloggers and singers; Irish Step Dancers; The Whistling Woman Phyllis Heil; The Morgans, a bluegrass and folk music group; and Toothpicks.
Activities for the festival include pony and cart rides, hot air balloon rides, a horse show, dunking booth and a blow-up jumping jungle. A variety of food will also be available.
There will be a small charge for a few rides, such as the pony rides, as well as a cost for food.
Also, festival goers are asked to bring their competitive side for the many contests to be held during the day. They include a potato-sack race, egg and spoon race, yodeling, whistling, watermelon seed-spitting contest, pie eating contest and an apple bobbing contest.
The festival will be held regardless of weather conditions.
Sipe's Orchard also has discounted hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. To get more information on the hotel and its rate, call Sipe's Orchard Home.
Sipe's Orchard Home is seeking volunteers for the festival, as well as vendors who are interested in participating. For more information, call Sipe's Orchard at (828) 256-5056 or visit

Antsy McClain and The Trailer Park Troubadours
Antsy McClain, who lives in Nashville, Tenn., will arrive in Conover on Sept. 3 for a private concert at 7:30 p.m. at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church's fellowship hall. For more details about this event and tickets, contact Sipe's Orchard board member John Cutchin at (828) 238-7045.
Antsy McClain and his band will perform at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 4 for the Bloomin' Orchard Festival. The concert is expected to end by 8:30 p.m.
"Everyone is in for a real treat because Pauly Zarb was here two years ago and will be here again this year," said Cutchin. "He was a crowd favorite."
Zarb is a member of the band, who spent time in Australia recently, which resulted in his absence during past concerts in the area.
Antsy McClain and his band are no strangers to Catawba County. In the past, the band played benefit concerts for the Women's Resource Center and the Lincoln County Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
"Antsy does benefits at the request of certain folks," Cutchin said.
Cutchin was an organizer for a past benefit concert for victims of domestic violence. When he asked Antsy McClain to play, McClain said, "That's what we are all about."
As a Sipe's Orchard board member, Cutchin said it seemed natural for the board to request the band to perform at its first Bloomin' Orchard Festival.
Antsy McClain's music follows the sounds of performers such as Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. For more information on Antsy McClain and The Trailer Park Troubadours, visit Samples of the band's music can be found on the website.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students. Children 4 and younger are free. Tickets may be purchased from Cutchin; Sigmon and Clark law office in Hickory; Bank of Granite locations in Conover, Newton, Springs Road and Viewmont; and Killians Hardware on Springs Road. Tickets may be purchased the day of the festival at the Festival Information Center at Sipe's Orchard.

The Houston Cottage
Sipe's Orchard Home took a new direction when it started The Houston Cottage.
Sipe's board members took a look at services needed for Catawba County. The results showed there was a great need for a place for children who were aging out of foster care or who are homeless to have a place to transition into adulthood.
"Sipe's Orchard has always been a gap filler and always stepped up to do what is needed in the community," Lacy said. "(The Houston College) kids are no different from my son or daughter. They just don't have responsibilities or support."
Lacy said the youth in the Houston Cottage have dreams like most children their age, but were never given guidance or a mentor with patience to show them how to accomplish their goals.
"We get commitment from the kids," said Sipe's Orchard board chairman Warren Hutton. "The kids document their hours for searching for a job, hours for working, hours spent getting an education for a GED or higher education and hours spent volunteering. If they aren't doing that, they aren't in the house."
The youth at Sipe's learn how to cook, how to buy groceries, balance a checkbook and some even get their driver's license using one of Sipe's Orchard's vehicles.
"We build a safe haven for the youth to make an informed way (in life)," Lacy said.
The program is designed to address root problems for homelessness, Hutton said. These issues can be substance abuse, emotional therapy, education and job readiness.
With four kids currently living in The Houston Cottage, Lacy and Hutton said it is only a matter of time before the house is full of committed teens with a desire to succeed in life.
"We could fill the house tomorrow, but it's a rigorous process," Hutton said. "We only want kids who are willing to commit."
Lacy agreed.
"That's how you want your kids to be," she said. "Some kids aren't there yet. There comes a point in life where they say they don't want (to be homeless) anymore."
To find out more information about The Houston Cottage, as well as how to apply, visit Sipe's website at or call (828) 256-5056.