Grammy winner, Grand Ole Opry Member and legendary bluegrass artist Del McCoury receives a highway dedication and celebration. The five mile sction of Highway 261 that connects Bakersville to Glen Ayre in North Carolina has been designated the "Del McCoury Highway" according to EDC Director Bill Stagle. The request was approved by the Department of Transportation and the dedication took place Saturday, October 26th. Governor Pat McCrory made the presentation and the Del McCoury band provided music in their classic bluegrass style.
Del McCoury, a National Endowment of the Arts National Heritage Fellow, told a media outlet “It is a great honor to have a road named after you” That stands forever.” McCoury was born in York, Pennsylvania, but his parents and his wife’s parents are Mitchell County natives. McCoury was surprised by the dedication. While he wasn't born there, McCoury has strong roots from North Carolina.
“McCoury's name is synonymous with bluegrass," said Angie Chandler, Executive Director of Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, which is collaborating with counties in Western North Carolina and the North Carolina Arts Council to develop the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina.
"Our mountains and foothills have a national reputation as a music-rich region, and our traditions of old-time string band music, ballad singing, and bluegrass are internationally renowned," she said. "No other area of the country has had more impact on the development of the banjo as a bluegrass instrument than here in Western North Carolina. Del McCoury has exemplified that musical heritage through his 50-year career, his ability to appeal to younger and older audiences, and his innovation of various musical styles."