Covered Bridge event slated for June 10-13: First 2 nights to feature entertainment; vendors to sell wares on Friday, Saturday

Published 10:08 am Saturday, January 17, 2015

File Photo by Brandon Hicks At this year’s Covered Bridge Celebration, vendors will be on hand only on Friday and Saturday.

File Photo by Brandon Hicks
At this year’s Covered Bridge Celebration, vendors will be on hand only on Friday and Saturday.

Spring is still months away, but plans for the annual Covered Bridge Celebration are already in place.
There have been some changes to the schedule for this year’s festival, which will be held June 10-13.
While the festival will maintain its traditional four-day time span, crafts and food vendors, along with Kids Island, will be set up only Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13. On Wednesday and Thursday night, the focus of the festival will be on the music and other entertainment.
Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce Director Tonya Stevens said the change came after getting feedback from the vendors about what would improve their stay during the Covered Bridge Celebration.
“We noticed a decrease in participation with a few of the long-term vendors,” Stevens said. “We asked them why that was, and they said they felt four days was too long. They said they weren’t making enough in sales on Wednesday and Thursday to justify the stay.”
For vendors who came from outside Carter County, there were other factors to take into consideration, Stevens said. They had to determine how much product to bring for the extended stay, and they had to find somewhere local to stay and cover the costs associated with it, she said.
“We want to do what works well for them and for us,” Stevens said. “This is not to say they don’t get traffic on those days, but Wednesday and Thursday are not as busy. We’ll try this and see how it works.”
In addition to entertainment, food and drink will be available to festivalgoers on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
The Chamber is accepting applications for the arts and crafts, marketplace and food vendors. SArts and crafts and marketplace applications should be submitted by April 30. The deadline for food vendors is Feb. 1.
“The food vendors fill up much quicker,” Stevens said. “We have so many who apply very early.”
The process for food vendors is different than that for arts and crafts vendors. Food vendors must submit applications, then a Covered Bridge Celebration planning committee member will selected about 15 of them to participate.
For the arts and crafts vendors, Stevens said the committee is seeking unique handcrafted items and would like to see more participation from local artisans.
“We have so many talented artists locally,” she said. “We would love to see more of them participate.”
The festival usually has about 75 arts and crafts and marketplace vendors, Stevens said.
For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 547-3850.

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