Tryon “Best Place to Raise Your Kids”

Published 2:21 pm Friday, November 18, 2011

Kids get creative with sidewalk chalk during the 2011 Super Saturday children's theater festival. (photo by Leah Justice)

“A cute resort town in the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Tryon has much more bang for the buck than you’d expect from a population of 1,716,” said the Businessweek article.

Each year the news magazine analyzes a variety of data, including family income, test scores and cultural opportunities, to determine the best places for kids to grow up in each state in the country.

Mayor Alan Peoples said he has said for more than a decade now that Tryon has everything parents need to raise kids.

This little girl got to participate in the parade after winning the best princess costume award. (photo by Leah Justice)

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“I have always said it is simply a great place to bring up your kids – we have arts, we have a safe place to walk along the streets – I know, I’ve raised three kids here,” Peoples said. “It’s nice that it still has that small town feel that you used to have a long time ago.”

According to the slideshow presented on Businessweek’s website, Tryon was selected for its population, median family income of $70,103, average math scores of 92.2 percent and average reading scores of 91.75 percent.

Polk County Schools Superintendent Bill Miller said he’s not surprised by the recognition.

“I have people call me every year from all over the country. In fact, I had three different people one year from L.A. call and say, ‘We’re moving to North Carolina and were looking at areas with the best schools when we found your area,’” Miller said. “People now with a lot of modern jobs can live where they want to live. I think our area is very attractive to people with all it has to offer – it has the complexities of a big city with the charm of a small town.”

Miller said local residents, whether they have kids or not, who are willing to support local students makes that all possible.

“I just could not be more proud when I see what our teachers and staff are doing to serve our students and families. Our employees are really about trying to place young people first.”

Businessweek also noted area hiking, parks and the annual Children’s Theater Festival as part of the decision.

Marianne Carruth, marketing and arts in education for the Tryon Fine Arts Center (TFAC), coordinates the Children’s Theater Festival, known as Super Saturday, each year. She said the 34-year event is special to the community for so many reasons.

“It attracts several generations of people who bring their kids and their grandkids to it,” Carrruth said. “I think it reflects back on the people in this community that they value the arts and value their families.”

In fact, TFAC keeps the tickets for each performance at $2 so more people can see their kids on stage and so more kids experience performing arts, Carruth said.

To see Businessweek’s countrywide list, visit