Covered Bridge Celebration offers wide array of unique arts and crafts

Published 12:02 am Friday, June 12, 2015

covered bridge web

The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, first pick out of a variety of arts and crafts available at the Covered Bridge Celebration.

Arts and crafts vendors started rolling into Edward’s Island park early on Thursday morning to set up for today and tomorrow’s festivities.

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In a change from previous years, the vendors were moved from Covered Bridge Park to Edward’s Island Park. The change came because the entertainment for this year’s festival is being held on the Covered Bridge Stage rather than a stage at the Monument.

This year, around 30 arts and crafts vendors signed up to be a part of the festival, Chamber of Commerce administrative assistant Elizabeth White said. Because Edward’s Island is a smaller park, vendors were allowed to set up in small groups throughout the day Thursday.

“They are setting up in shifts,” White said. “All of the vendors will be here by 10 o’clock on Friday morning. Once they are set up, then they can stay and sell if they want to. We have a few vendors that are ready to go.”

At around 11 a.m. Thursday, six vendors were set up, or were in the process of setting up in the park. Several of the vendors were first-timers to the Covered Bridge Celebration.

Jack and Elaine Davis, Butler, were setting up their booth for their business, Mountain Naturals. The booth features handmade soaps and lotions and country crafts.

“We have tried other festivals in the area, and thought we would give the Covered Bridge festival a try this year,” Elaine said.

June Kelly, also of Butler, was getting the booth for June’s Etc. ready to display her wares. She recently moved here from Florida and is selling at the Covered Bridge Celebration for the first time. Her booth features handmade dog collars, harnesses, carriers and blankets.

Kelly found out about the festival from a friend in Mountain City.

“I was told it was a really good show so I figured I would give it a shot,” she said.

Artist Barbara Crockett of Wake Forest, N.C. has been a vendor at the Covered Bridge Celebration for three years. Crockett grew up in Hampton and was already familiar with the festival before starting as a vendor.

For each year, she has painted the Covered Bridge in a different season.

“So far I have done winter, summer and fall,” she said. “Next year I will do spring. I do about 25-30 shows a year, and I really like the Covered Bridge Celebration.”

Woodcrafter Bill Lyons has been a vendor at the festival for 20 years. Each year he brings his hand-crafted wooden flowers, trees, walking sticks and other creations to the celebration.

“I just enjoy doing it,” Lyons said. “I like to do crafts and I have always done pretty good here. I like meeting the people. It is just a good place to come.”

Sherry Shaner came all the way to the Covered Bridge Celebration from Frederick, Md. to sell her hand-made chainmail and beaded jewelry. She has been a vendor at the festival for three years, and grew up in Elizabethton before leaving the area.

“I like the people here,” she said. “You get to know people. You see them from year to year and they come back and bring their friends.”

John Diaz, Blountville, returned to the festival for the second year. Diaz specializes in hand-carved and stamped leather goods.

“I have to keep my craft going,” he said. “It is a dying art. It takes a lot of time to create these items. I’ve recently started teaching classes because that is the only way to keep it alive, to pass it on.”

In addition to the arts and crafts vendors, Kid’s Island and the food court opens today.

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.