Vendors, musicians, non-profits invited to register for 50th Covered Bridge Celebration

Published 9:14 am Monday, February 8, 2016

Star File Photo  Vendors display all sorts of creative home decor and furnishings available directly from the designer.

Star File Photo
Vendors display all sorts of creative home decor and furnishings available directly from the designer.

A festival that began casually with fiddle-picking on the Elk Avenue Bridge 50 years ago is celebrating its golden anniversary with fireworks, fiddlin’ and fabulous activities for kids. The event is scheduled for June 8-11, with various events slated for each day.
“The festival has grown extensively over the years, and we always have an eclectic mix of activities and entertainment to offer,” said Tonya Stevens, director of the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce. “People can come all four days and have a new and exciting experience each time.”
Planning for the Covered Bridge Celebration is moving forward with full power, with the Covered Bridge Committee scheduling a variety of musicians, vendors and activities. Stevens said last year, over the course of four days, the free festival welcomed between 15,000 and 20,000 people.
“We want to encourage all our talented local artists and crafters to apply,” said Stevens. “People come from all across the region and other states, and it’s awesome for us to be able to showcase the skilled artists and crafters that we have locally.”
Stevens said the number and quality of vendors and musicians attract crowds that pack the park every year. Last year, a total of 72 vendors attended, not including food vendors.
Applications for arts and crafts, marketplace, and non-profit vendors are now available online at under the events tab on the Covered Bridge page. The application for food vendors is currently being modified due to regulation changes from the Fire Marshall, but Stevens said she hopes they will be available by next week. Interested food vendors may submit their names and contact information to the Chamber, to be informed when applications become available.
Stevens emphasized that applicants should not submit fees with their applications till they receive a letter of acceptance via e-mail.
Booth fee and deadline information is detailed in each application. Non-profit applications are due on March 1, while marketplace and arts and crafts applications are due April 1. After April 1, the price increases for booth fees.
Businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate either through volunteering, or welcoming visitors into their shops in their own creative ways, said Stevens.
“This year, we are working with more businesses in town and want to truly make it a community event,” said Stevens. “While the majority of interest will be in Covered Bridge Park, we want folks to think of ways they can do things so we have everyone involved and celebrating everywhere. We are encouraging businesses to be creative and to be involved without having to leave their businesses and to help spread the festival out around town.”
Non-profit nights are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday nights with entertainments and opportunities for non-profit organizations to promote awareness and to raise funds.
Sponsorship is also available, and Stevens said packages may be modified to suit businesses’ and organizations’ needs. Stevens encouraged businesses to get started early to get the most business exposure. All sponsors will be provided a 50th Annual Covered Bridge Celebration decal for their windows.
“This is a special year and it will take a lot of folks to pull it off,” said Stevens.

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