Neighboring Shady Valley prepares for Cranberry Festival this weekend

Published 8:11 am Thursday, October 9, 2014

Shady Valley is the place to be this weekend. Fall color is nearing its peak in the Johnson County valleys, and there will be a celebration of the cranberry.
The 22nd Annual Cranberry Festival will get underway Friday evening with a bean supper from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Shady Valley School. Also, there will be a silent auction, which will be held during the bean supper and concluding at 9 p.m. The main auction will begin at 7 p.m. and continue until all the items have been sold.
Saturday morning the festivities will continue with a pancake and sausage breakfast at the Shady Valley Fire Department from 7 to 9 a.m., followed by a parade at 10 a.m.
The parade will feature the Johnson County High School Band, floats (which will compete for prize money), antique cars, horses and other units.
The theme of this year’s festival is “Celebrating 75 Years of Education.”
The festival’s opening ceremonies will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Patton Pavilion. Events will include arts and crafts, food vendors with festival foods, and the Boy Scouts Famous Road Kill Stew.
There will also be a community-wide yard sale.
Often called the “best little festival in Tennessee,” the Cranberry Festival celebrates a history and heritage dating back centuries to when the valley was filled with cranberry bogs left over from the last ice age. The Nature Conservancy has been working in Shady Valley for more than 30 years to preserve and restore the last of the mountain bogs in this small Johnson County community.
The valley was first settled in the 1700s. At 2800 feet elevation, the area’s temperatures are cooler in the summer than surrounding East Tennessee towns and October brings stunning fall colors and many visitors to the valley.
The famous curving roads which lead up from Mountain City to Shady Valley open up to a breathtaking view of a flat mountain valley with corn fields and pumpkin patches and, amazingly, three stores and restaurants at the same intersection.
The town is a haven for motorcyclists and other road trip adventurers and the curvy approach (known as “The Snake”) is frequently listed in motorcycle trip guides. Shady Valley is a motorcycle-friendly town with stores and campgrounds for motorcyclists.
All proceeds from the Cranberry Festival go to help Shady Valley Elementary — a “still in operation since 1938 WPA built school.”

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