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Waynesville reclaims its gateway glory

fr waynesvillearchA dedication ceremony for Waynesville’s latest art installation will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 27.

The event will include music, food and recognition of donors who made the $5,000 arch possible. Private donations funded the entire project.

The “Gateway to the Smokies” arch was placed over the entrance to the mini-park at the corner of Main and Depot streets last week, just in time for the kick-off of the Folkmoot international festival.

During the dedication, people will have a chance to buy a cookbook for $10 featuring favorite recipes from local restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and residents. The proceeds will go toward future public art projects.

Longtime residents who remember the original arch that the new one is based on have voiced their support for the piece, which was planned and coordinated by the town’s public art commission.

“We’ve got an awful lot of really excited people about it,” said Jan Griffin, chair of the public art commission.

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The new arch is a replica of an old arch that spanned across Main Street and touted Waynesville as the “Eastern Entrance” to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The original arch was built in 1936 by Oscar Briggs, father of local historian Bruce Briggs. It was taken down sometime in the 1970s.

Ted Dake, owner of Moto-Fab Metalworks, crafted the piece on display today. Dake is a well-known metalworker who makes custom yard art and signs.

The mini-park will eventually contain three artworks. One other is already in place — a hand-forged metal railing with subtle references to the Smokies, including mountain peaks and salamanders.

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