The sun still pokes along the top of Cobb Mountain, but down among the trees, the day has begun to cool. The parking lot of Meadow Springs Shopping center has filled, and parked cars line along the highway. People mill around the parking lot and clump into groups around Mountain High Coffee and Brick Oven Pizza. John and Lia of Teardrop Trailer strum their guitars on the corner outside Hardesters. It’s Cobb Village Night, and people are having fun.
Since the Valley Fire, the Cobb community has changed dramatically. After losing homes, many people either spent years displaced while their homes were rebuilt or didn’t return at all. It’s been almost four years since then, and more than just the trees are coming back to life.
“We’re trying to bring people together,” says Jessica Pyska of the Cobb Area Council. “We’re all mountain people up here, and many people hibernate and hide. We want everyone to get out, have some fun, and catch up with friends. You know, you see someone, and it’s like, ‘Hey, you’re still alive!” She laughs.
All the business are open. People look through the books at Mountain High Coffee, listen to some music, then head to Hardesters or off to get pizza. A few munch on buffalo wing and antipasto skewers from Chastain’s Fire and Feast and chat with neighbors.
“I feel bad that some people came to get groceries and found the parking lot full,” Jessica continues. “But maybe they’ll run into someone they know and stay.”
This evening is part of a larger plan of the Cobb Area Council to revitalize the Cobb community. On August 24th, Whispering Pines Resort will be hosting the Blackberry COBBler festival, an “Old Fashioned Picnic in the Pines.” It’s a day filled with music, children’s events, artisan booths, and fresh produce, all set in the beauty of one of Lake County’s old resorts. It’s going to be an event to remember.
But that’s in two weeks. Right now, the evening is winding down. John and Lia launch into their last song, Bob Dylan’s “Wagon Wheel.” A couple begins dancing in the parking lot.
“Rock me, Momma, like a wagon wheel. Rock me, Momma, any way you feel,” John leans into the microphone. The crowd sings along, swaying with the music. The evening has cooled, and the sun no longer shines on Cobb Mountain, turning the blue sky into shades of purple and indigo.
Then, with a final “Hey, Momma rock me,” John and Lia conclude the song. People slowly finish their conversations, reluctant to leave.
“Play it again,” The dancing couple begs. “Just one more time.”
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