Full Bloom: 71st Rhododendron Festival expected to draw thousands to county

Published 5:25 pm Tuesday, June 13, 2017

With a tradition over 70 years old, it is hard to not expect some fun times.
The Roan Mountain Citizens Club is putting the final touches on the 71st annual Rhododendron Festival scheduled for June 17-18 at Roan Mountain State Park.
One of the key driving points is the purple rhododendron gardens in the area and attendees should expect some majestic sights during the two-day affair, according to Roan Mountain Citizens Club President Brian Tipton.
“The gardens should be at full bloom, or at least near there by the time of the festival,” Tipton told the Elizabethton Star Thursday.
A festival steeped in tradition, thousands flock to the park to take in the beauty of the foliage while having the opportunity to visit multiple vendors on hand.
“We have a wide variety of new craft vendors,” Tipton said. Over 100 arts & crafts and food vendors will be scattered throughout the park’s premise treating the public.
Each year, the festival brings in droves of community members and visitors alike as a way to showcase the region and help raise funds to provide back into Roan Mountain.
“This is really a community-driven event,” Tipton said. “All of the proceeds raised during the event go directly back into the community. Whether it’s the park, the Citizens Club scholarship, the Roan Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, supporting the community park or different landscaping projects, we make sure everything raised goes back to support the residents.”
Various items for sale include the annual festival T-shirt, which features a design of mountains and trails, for $12. The Citizens Club Cookbooks and Roan Mountain license plates are also on sale for $10 and $8. The club will also be selling drinks for $1 and will have Dr. Enuf available for event-goers.
And the festival proves to be a double whammy when it comes to the tourism aspect, the club president added, stating its significance for Roan Mountain businesses and others throughout the county.
“It has an impact of the Roan Mountain businesses, and the entire county as a whole,” Tipton said. “We have so many people that come through Hampton, Elizabethton and even through western North Carolina. We’re proud to be part of an event that allows people to come in and see what Roan Mountain has to offer.”
With the event taking place at the state park, Tipton commended the efforts of each staff member for their tireless work during each event. A key focus for this year’s event is the parking, Tipton said.
To help deter congestion, the event organizers comprised a parking diagram to help with the flow of traffic while Tipton added that just about any parking opportunity doesn’t put attendees in a situation for a long walk to reach the festival grounds.
“It’s just an exciting time,” Tipton said. “We’re looking forward to this year’s event and encourage people to come out and have fun over the weekend.”
The Citizens Club is vital to a variety of aspects with their events, which include the annual Christmas Tree Lightning at the park and a special Halloween event, just to name a few.
For more information on the organization, visit roanmountain.com or the Roan Mountain Citizens Club Facebook page online.
The list of entertainment for the festival includes:
Saturday, June 17
• 9-10 a.m. – Open Mic
• 10-11 a.m. – Jona Riddle & Carolina Express
• 11 a.m. to noon – Sound Travler
• 1-2 p.m. – T.V. & The Moonshiners
• 2-2:05 p.m. – Scholarship Presentation
• 2:05-3 p.m. – Siam Symphony
• 3-4 p.m. – Jim & Cheri Miller
• 4-5 p.m. – Mountain Rose
Sunday, June 18
• 10 a.m. to noon – Open Mic
• Noon to 1 p.m. – Art & Friends
• 2-3 p.m. – Black Hat Mission
• 3-4 p.m. – The Tim Hughes Family
• 4-5 p.m. – Greater Glory

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