COVERED BRIDGE FUN: Youth activity areas a hit during day two of festival

Published 6:16 pm Friday, June 9, 2017

Mother Nature was a little more friendlier Friday as hundreds descended upon the community.
Downtown Elizabethton was bustling with individuals of all ages taking in the sights and sounds of the 51st Annual Covered Bridge Celebration.
Providing fun and entertainment for all attendees, one of the key components of Friday’s success was the two kids activity areas — “Kids Island” sponsored by Sycamore Shoals State Park and the “Got the Kids Covered!” area located between Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition and the Bonnie Kate Theater.
While Kids Island continued a tradition of providing different inflatables, games and carnival rides to children, participants got the best of both worlds with the new area downtown providing free entertainment and activities.
The Bonnie Kate Theater was able to join in with Got the Kids Covered! by offering their stage for a bevy of different performances.
Being able to be part of the Covered Bridge Celebration is a joy, according to Bonnie Kate Program Coordinator Marcia Ross, who credited Jilian Reece for the success of the free kids’ area.
“This is all Jilian Reece,” Ross said with a smile. “She came up with the plan and asked me about being part of it. It’s been great. I love that it is being used for all these different events. We’ve already had yoga, stories and we have a bird exhibit going on now … the draw for this event is incredible.”
Attendees were able to see the new stage lights, which were obtained after a strand of shows at the facility. While each performance during the Covered Bridge Celebration is free, the Bonnie Kate is still accepting donations to help with refurbishing the inside of the performance area.
While the Bonnie Kate filled up quickly Thursday afternoon, the parking where vendors posted up was just as full. Over 500 children were able to utilize the area in the span of just three hours.
“I have been so surprised by the amount of people that have come out for this event,” Reece said. “We had people waiting for us while we were setting up this morning. I’m so thankful that so many people were able to come out and enjoy this and be able to bring their kids. We’ve already had hundreds of kids come through the area and we’re excited to see the amount we’ll have for the rest of the day and Saturday.
“I’m also so thankful for all the vendors and everyone that supported this event,” she continued. “Our vendors have been able to do all kinds of amazing things, like provide treats, have games … we’re just thankful for the community coming together with us today.”
Children were able to participate in various games and activities while also receiving a reward for visiting each of the vendors.
Along with working with children, CCDP also partnered with Red Legacy Recovery to give back to law enforcement and other emergency personnel that are working the Celebration.
“Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition is so grateful for the support that we get from law enforcement in our community,” Reece said. “We wouldn’t be able to do the things we do without them. We’re just so thankful all of our emergency personnel are here at the Covered Bridge Celebration making sure it is safe and taken care of. We invited each of the departments to come in and get a snack at Red Legacy Recovery. We’re so thankful for Red Legacy for allowing us to use their backroom as a way to give them a chance to rest and relax from their work during the event.”
Kids Island was enjoyed by children of all ages Thursday as different games and inflatables were welcomed by the smiles of participants.
An annual mainstay at the Celebration, Sycamore Shoals always wants to provide a fun outlet for children and stress healthy living.

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