Covered Bridge Celebration kicks off with first non-profit night

Published 9:15 am Thursday, June 11, 2015

Covered Bridge Web

The Covered Bridge Celebration kicked off on Wednesday night to the sounds of Gospel music and the gathering of several local non-profit agencies sharing their information with the public.

Festivities in the park started at 5:30 p.m. when the first band, Reel Steel, took the stage to open Gospel Night. Around 20 non-profit agencies lined the park sharing information about their involvement in the community and their fundraising efforts to help fund their cause.

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This is the first year the festival has included a non-profit night to allow those agencies the chance to share information with the community.

“We are hopeful this will be a good change for the event,” Chamber of Commerce Director Tonya Stevens said. “They are excited to be here and get the word out about what they do in the community.”

Several agencies had already set up their booths early in the afternoon.

Tracie Mosley, a volunteer with East Tennessee Spay and Neuter, worked to arrange information on the agency as the festival started to get going.

“It is all about helping in the local community,” Mosley said. “This is an opportunity to reach out to people who might not know what we do.”

ETSN works to provide low cost spay and neuter surgery, vet care, a pet food pantry and other services to pet owners to keep the pets in their homes.

“We hope to increase the education in the community about spay and neuters and how it can keep pets with their people,” Mosley said.

Nancy Berry with Shoe Sensation was volunteering to fundraise for Project Change, a program that provides shoes to homeless students in the Elizabethton City School system. Festival visitors could make a contribution, or purchase a sweet treat, to help the program.

Several churches took the opportunity to set up and share their message with the community, and in some cases, offer a cold bottle of water.

Big Springs Baptist Church was giving out free water and accepting prayer requests from the community.

“We are giving out water and sharing the love of Christ,” pastor Mark Chatman said. “That is what we are here to do, share and show the love of Christ.”

Non-profits at the event included East Tennessee Spay and Neuter, Eastern Eight Community Development, Project Change, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Gideons, United Way of Elizabethton/Carter County, Assistance & Resource Ministries, Retreat Ministries, Freedom Fellowship Center, the Red Cross, Big Springs Baptist Church, St. Thomas Episcopal Church and Cap the Gap.

The festival continues tonight through Saturday. Stevens is hoping the festival continues as smoothly as it did Wednesday night.

“We are looking forward to having a good weekend,” Stevens said. “The crowds have come in and really seem to be enjoying it. The non-profits will be here again Thursday and then on Friday the arts and crafts vendors, food court and Kid’s Island will start. We have a great entertainment lineup scheduled too.”

Thursday night is Bluegrass Night with headliners Jeff Little and Wayne Henderson playing at 9 p.m. Entertainment begins at 6 p.m. with Lonesome Rails followed by John Curtis Goad at 7 p.m. The Fiddlin’ Carson Peters Band will play at 8 p.m.

Friday entertainment is Country Night starting with the Trailblazer Cloggers at 5:30 p.m. Bakersfield will play at 6:20 p.m. and Daisi Rain will perform at 7:40 p.m. Headliner Brad Puckett will take the stage at 9 p.m.

Saturday is Rock Night and will feature headliner Justin Teseniar, who will perform covers of both current and classic rock music. Teseniar will play starting at 9 p.m. Other entertainment for the day will start with Jeff Sharpe & Friends at 3:30 p.m. The Bullseye Band will play at 5 p.m. followed by Acoustifried at 6:10 p.m. The Watts Dance Studio dancers will show off their moves at 7:10 p.m. and Blue Carpet Corner will play at 7:40 p.m.