Magnolia 23 (Asheboro, NC)

By Soula Kosti

Magnolia 23 is a small restaurant on 23 South Fayetteville Street in Asheboro, NC. This restaurant takes pride in its home-cooking and soul food. The owners have created a homey, Southern spot with the Southern-style fried chicken as their specialty. They promise their customers the real deal.


This small place is closed three times a week, and has some weird times. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, they open at 11 a.m. and close at 2 p.m., and then reopen at 5 p.m. and close at 8 p.m. On Sunday, they open at 11 a.m. and close at 3 p.m. We went on a Sunday, right before Thanksgiving week and they were planning to stay closed for the entire week. However, many people waited in line and it seemed a popular place, as we had to wait for about 15-20 minutes.


Magnolia 23 offers no menu, as they include different items depending on the day of the week. Even though, there isn’t a big variety, the portions are pretty generous. People who choose meat can get two sides. When we went, we both got the fried chicken, that they say is 63rd best on the entire nation. They give you the choice between white and dark meat, and we both chose white. We both got the white roll instead of the corn bread. My sides were the mashed potatoes and the slaw, while my companion’s were the mac n cheese and the yums. The chicken was absolutely amazing. It was served hot, falling of the bone, and as crisp as it should be. The sides were good, but we could definitely say that the chicken was the star of the plate. The staff was also nice and friendly. The owner is always around and goes from table to table to introduce himself, make sure everything is good, and get to meet his customers.


            Since we had to wait in line to be seated, we got the chance to explore the restaurant’s decorations. As you walk in there is a table with a sign on it saying how Magnolia 23 was voted 63rd on the nation for its fried chicken. The walls have boards with the menu of the day and a personal statement, including phrases such as “our food is made from scratch and most importantly made from love.” In the back of the restaurant, there are many family pictures that give the place more of that homey feel and vibe, and also a big map so people can add the place they came from. When the owner came to talk to us, he actually suggested that we should add our home to the map, and so we did.

Asheboro Fall Festival

By Nicole Galante

Anyone who visits the Asheboro Fall Festival will quickly realize that “small, North Carolina town” is not synonymous with “lack of excitement.”


We arrived just before the start of the festival, 9:45 AM; however, the main streets of downtown Asheboro were already lined with cars. The sky was growing dark and rain made its way down onto the exponentially-growing crowd. Clearly, it takes more than a little congestion and water to keep the people of Asheboro away from a good time.


Walking into Main Street felt like being transported into another world. Vendors lined the streets; the aroma of fried food filled the air; parents let their children walk the street without fear for their wellbeing; and the overall mood was both chaotic and joyful in the best way. There was so much to take in, so many tents to walk up to and people to smile at, that we couldn’t decide what to do first.


Despite the large size of the festival–we stayed until noon, and it seemed like the people didn’t stop coming–traversing the streets of Downtown Asheboro felt like stepping into someone’s home. Every vendor and pedestrian we passed greeted us with smiles and a “How are y’all?” The large crowd didn’t stop children from finding their friends or adults from making small talk with nearly everyone they came across. Everyone knew everyone, or so it appeared, and that made Asheboro feel less like a town and more like a family.


If you plan on going to the Fall Festival in the future, bring a lot of cash. Or perhaps it might be better to come with none, lest you’re tempted to buy everything in sight. Tents along the road offered festival-goers the opportunity to browse locally made goods, from dream catchers to walking sticks. The local focus on goods only served to increase the sense of community.


Perhaps more tempting than the local vendors was the food. Tons and tons of food. Living up to the North Carolina reputation for barbecue, men dressed in camo and overalls lined the street, cooking dozens of pounds of pork for everyone to see. If pork isn’t your thing, well, then you could grab a turkey leg. And if you’re a vegetarian, there’s always roasted corn soaked with melted butter. While the southern cooking was most predominant, we were pleased to find a variety of ethnic foods as well, like Mexican and Greek. You might leave the festival empty handed, but you surely won’t leave with an empty stomach.


Whether you’re old or young, from Asheboro or Asheville, you’re bound to leave the Fall Festival satisfied and feeling at home. The town might be small, but they sure know how to throw a party.

Time Traveling in Asheboro

By Miranda Romano – 2014

Time Walking into the Antique Mall was like walking into a stranger’s grandparent’s house: if their Time2grandparents kept everything they’d ever owned along with all the possessions of their parents and their parents’ parents. The place was built of glass cases and old wooden armoires pushed up against each other. These cases held every household object one could think of; gold earrings worn old and dull, fishing lures that had seen more lakes than any person ever has, vials for makeup and spices, lamps that burned oil and every manner of carved and lacy furniture. Probably most intriguing was the surprisingly large collection of small ceramic gnomes. We were lost for a while perusing shelves of artifacts saved from decades past. Kelley managed to find a terrifying looking handheld blade, hidden inside a stack of old records.

As we were finally forcing ourselves to find the exit, a bearded man in jeans walked down the stairs carrying a giant scythe, shouted this is mine and walked out the front door.

Asheboro Fall Festival

By Caroline Zybala – 2014

Miranda and Jewelry

Street View

On a brisk October Saturday, with the sun offering a warm glow, our group traveled to Asheboro for their annual Fall Festival. After having to turn around because we passed the main part of town where the fair was being held, we were able to park in the local court parking lot. Entering the fair from the side, we were immediately inundated with a mass of people and various tents that lined the street.We attempted to approach the fair in the most logical manner, wanting to see everything there in an efficient

manner. Staying to the right and filtering through the tents, seemed to be the most logical option, so we began our journey into the mass of people. Immediately, we were inundated with the sights and scents of the festival. Tents of all types, representing different organizations, had people calling out to the patrons of the festival, advertising their delectable treats or handmade crafts. With the

upcoming election, there were various tents with political parties handing out flyers of information for their respective candidates and issues. After winding through the many tents, nobody purchased any of the many deep fried treats, so we headed to grab some frozen yogurt to save ourselves from some grease.


Cow 3
Cows were dressed up by their owners and paraded for a contest

Cow 4 Cow 2 Cow 1

Dining and Donating

By Kelley Dodge – 2014


At Di’lishi Frozen Yogurt, the options were endless. With 10 flavors and more than 60 toppings, it took multiple tastings to figure out what combination was best. While I opted for dark chocolate frozen yogurt topped with brownie bits, cookie dough, and hot fudge, Miranda chose a healthier dish, selecting lemon frozen yogurt topped with fresh fruit like kiwi, mangos, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Full from the scrumptious froyo, on our way out Di’lishi encouraged us to drop our spoons in one of three panels for a charitable cause. The three current causes were the local library, the county pageant, and the humane society. Di’lishi explained that each month a portion of the profits go to the winning cause, and at the end of the month the causes change, bringing exposure to new organizations in need. Being English lovers, we all dropped our spoons in the library panel, feeling satisfied with both the frozen yogurt and the community involvement.

My Latest Love/Hate Relationship

By Dustin Swope, 2013

Until recently, I’d never been to Asheboro, and I’d never been to any “fall festival” with real red, brown, and yellow leaves that had fallen from real trees earlier that day. Walking up to one end of the Asheboro Fall Festival’s main street, I thought that would finally change. I crunch my way over a few leaves – I was already envisioning my own freshly raked pile sparring partner, right in line with the other kids half my age.

The first few tents were just as quaint as I’d hoped. Each tent had a specialty food or craft, backed by smiling families in folding sports chairs. No bobbing for apples or scarecrow stuffing, but there was already a five-table spread of baked seasonals, none of which had the telltale white smear of a supermarket label that refused to go quietly.

I thought that I would finally be able to check this one off the bucket list. Then, I looked to my right, up the the surging river of humanity that poured over the banks of Main Street, Asheboro. The column seemed frozen, but after a few minutes of revelling, I realized that there was, in fact, a flow to traffic. Somewhere in this impenetrable swarm, I was supposed to find that simple, seasonal miracle that is the fall festival? It just didn’t seem possible.

Having resigned myself to an afternoon of elbowing and shuffling with my “excuse me”-record on repeat, I took my first brave steps into the fray. Tent after tent, it was all a blur. I pushed forward on something between instinct and autopilot. Children weaved in and out like burrowing mammals, waiting for a moment of weakness to slide under my foot or in front of my knee, because they know that every trampled child gets a fried oreo to wipe away their tears. Women were given a four-inch berth when possible. Men apparently weren’t expected to acknowledge any sort of personal space bubble.

When a crunch corresponded with a footstep, I freeze. I check my shoes, scan the scene of the crime, and move on. It was a far cry from the tranquility that I imagined the sound of leaves crunching under my feet would inspire. And I’m not sure if because of the herds of deep fryers and smokers or how these metal apparati focused festival-goers into a molten river of body heat, but it was hot. The tents impeded wind like trees in a forest, and all I could do was hope that the next person I crashed into was fighting the urge to sweat as valiantly as I was.

Twenty minutes of grinding it out in this family-friendly mosh pit, I spot the end of my own personal trail of tears, just a block away. I’d been ice-breaking through the crowd for the three ladies I came to the festival with up to this point. Now that the current has slowed and the crowd has thinned, though, I lift my gaze up and over heads to the tents on the side. Maybe the grass was just looking greener on the other side, but I could swear the layers of foot traffic closest to the tents were strolling comfortably, even pausing at the odd craft or baked good that caught their eye.

“That looks like fun,” I think boldly. How could I have gone so far without realizing there was more to Asheboro’s celebration than sweating, getting kicked, and trying to not kick the person in front of me? Well, shame on me for wasting the trip down, but I wasn’t making the same mistake twice. The girls about-face while I tag the end of the festival on this street, and dive into the downstream current in pursuit of the parking lot. I, however, planted my feet and began a quiet, smiling survey of the landscape

Flowers, candies, crafts, pies, preserves, jewelry, spices, and political advocacy. So there was more to the Asheboro Fall Festival than sweating, shuffling, and apologizing. I paused at a barbeque stand to purvey the range when the grillmaster asked how everything looked – a school crush might as well’ve asked me how her hair looked. “Beautiful! I don’t know what you did, but it’s beautiful.”

I lost track of time amongst the sweet and spicy smoke at my own little backyard cookout, sampling the goods and talking grilling like I knew why one would use a dry rub instead of marinating or a mid-grill glaze. From a spirit-breaking trial, to a mid-eastern Grand Bazaar, to a seasonal gathering of friends with skills and hobbies, the Asheboro Fall Festival has come a long way to holding a special place in my heart.

I “Dorothy” my way down the rest of Asheboro’s yellow brick road, swinging my bag full of baking and grilling spice blends that I promised my new grillmaster friend I’d learn to cook with. Toe-tapping, fanning hands, and folded arms greet me as I complete my circuit through Asheboro’s Fall Festival. Oops, guess I was in the doghouse for the ride back to Elon. A fast blast to a baked-bonanza tent for chess pie and a sweet potato spice coffee cake and I was ready to hit the highway again. So, I didn’t get to lose myself in a corn maze or fill a scarecrow’s jeans with hay, but this was so much more “fall festival” than a Florida city of millions like Tampa had ever put together for me.