These photos make me think of my childhood. The blonde guy with the hat lived across the street from us when I was growing up, and his kids are close to my age. Richard established the neighborhood I grew up in, termed "Weird Acres" and it was on the outskirts of Love Valley, North Carolina. The Love Valley Rock Festival was there in 1970, which caused a lot of hippies to roll in and settle. Now, and when I was growing up, it's termed the "Cowboy Capital" a.k.a. Podunk Cow Paddy.
These were some of the hippies that my mom and step dad hung out with mostly. Yes, there really were more of them. Many were musicians and/or balloonists. I can recall counting once and there were about 30 musicians. They drank a lot... and smoked buckets (literally) of pot... and a few were hashers & who knows what other drugs. They tried to "hide" it from us kids... but we were sneaky. There wasn't any fighting that I can remember, and I don't remember any stupid-ness because of drugs either. Just people enjoying each other, having a good time, and making sure we kids were having good ol' fashion fun too (a.k.a. playing outside, getting dirty, and being imaginative).
Not too many were balloonists, but they worked with balloons in some way like building them (sewing envelopes, weaving baskets, fashioning burners), and if they didn't fly, they were likely to be part of a chase crew. Tracy Barnes moving into town changed the dynamic of aeronautics in Statesville, NC... and in some way the world, really. When my mom moved to NC from Boston at 18, she worked for The Balloon Works.
This is my step dad, Lewis. Apparently, he just chased down this run away horse.
Tracy (mentioned above) had two leopards - I forget the back story with this photo.
The left over hippies, circa 1980s. I remember several of these folks from my childhood. Lewis is to the right of these photos.
(All of these photos may have been taken by Ken Powers, the infamous photographer from "back in the day.")
P.S. This was a favorite pose for photos. (Look on the top row above.)