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Tourism event features local culture, talent

A sampling of Carter County talent was on display at the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce Friday Photo by Brandon Hicksafternoon.
The celebration was part of National Tourism Week. The event featured a local artist, author and musicians, along with a traveling shooting range from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.
One of the exhibits featured a woodcarver from Butler, known simply as Zeke the Woodcarver. Zeke creates hand-crafted wooden keychains, wall hanging and walking sticks and created hand-carved pencils featuring different faces and well-known personalities.
“This is a good thing,” Zeke said. “I surely hope it brings more attention to what is going on in Carter County. What I noticed in Elizabethton is the Chamber of Commerce is thinking outside the box. This is what they need here. People need to know what is going on.”
Author Michael Manuel was on hand to sign copies of his book “Fish Springs: Beneath the Surface” that was co-authored with Lawrence Timbs Jr.
The event featured live music by Ben Bateson, Kathryn Brickey and Tourism Coordinator Carl Brickey IV.
Rich Butler and Judy Whitcomb stopped in at the Chamber to take in the exhibits that were on display. The couple recently moved to Carter County from Michigan and are still exploring the area.
“I think this is a pretty good idea,” Whitcomb said. “It is very interesting.”
Butler said he first visited the area for a BMW motorcycle rally in Johnson City when he decided to make the move to east Tennessee. Working with a real estate agent, they looked at houses in several surrounding cities before deciding on the more rural location of Stoney Creek at the base of Iron Mountain.
“The more we looked, the more we realized we wanted to live out in the country,” Butler said. “We really like it there.”
Brickey said the event was planned as a way to say “thank you” to both the citizens of Carter County and the visitors who make stops in the county.
“It is our way of saying thank you to the residents for making Carter County the tourist destination that it is,” Brickey said. “For the tourists that stop in, it is a thank you for coming to visit.”