INDEPENDENCE DAY FUN: City of Elizabethton holds annual patriotic celebration

Published 1:37 pm Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Each year is a tradition of growth and pride for the City of Elizabethton in July.
Hundreds gathered throughout downtown and Covered Bridge Park to participate in the annual Independence Day Celebration sponsored by Elizabethton Parks and Recreation.
“The Fourth of July is a big event for a lot of people because it revolves around patriotism, military service, and family,” said Jerome Kitchens, city manager. “We’re glad that we can have an event like this locally so that people can come out and have fun. We’ve been building on to this for several years, and each year, it just seems to get better and better.”
One extra addition to this year’s event was the patriotic march and kids bike parade that spanned throughout downtown Elizabethton and ended at Covered Bridge Park.
“I talked to Jerome (Kitchens) about this earlier because the people were wanting something going on locally for the Fourth,” said City Councilman Kim Birchfield. “We worked it out to do this. We’re looking to build on this for the future. This is something for our kids, our old citizens and other who may not have anything else to do.
Following the patriotic throughout downtown, attendees were greeted to a bevy of activities at Covered Bridge Park, including the annual patriotic ceremony led by Paul Gabinet.
While Gabinet shared history of the area and his family, veterans and first responders were recognized as the Carter County Honor Guard presented the colors, and Loretta Bowers sang various patriotic tunes.
“That’s the most important thing about today, our patriotic ceremony,” Recreation Manager David Nanney said. “We try to call attention to the very reason we celebrate today. The freedoms we have and recognize the men and women that have given their times and their lives to protect us. That’s the best part of this celebration. When we see the veterans come to be recognized, you can’t help but get a little emotional. If this doesn’t make the hair on the back of your neck stand up and be proud to be an American or a citizen of Elizabethton, I don’t know what will.”
Attendees were free watermelon from Ingles, inflatables, concessions, performances from the Jerry Pierce Band and Retroville, and an autograph session with the Elizabethton Twins minor league baseball team.
Following the events at Covered Bridge Park, citizens were greeted with some Twins baseball at Joe O’Brien Field while the night concluded with a fireworks show presented by Snap-On Tools and Parks & Rec.
City officials were quick to praise the efforts of the employees involved with Parks & Rec.
“Mike Mains, Kelly (Kitchens), David (Nanney) and all the folks with Parks & Rec have done a tremendous job organizing this event,” Birchfield said. “They always do a great job for the city, and we’re extremely proud and grateful for their work. We want Elizabethton to come back to life, and we want to make sure these types of events are available to the public. This event also didn’t cost us an arm and a leg either.”
And according to the number people at the event, with some congregating an hour before the ceremony, Tuesday proved to be a success.
“In lieu of the weather and forecast, I think we’ve had a really good turnout,” Nanney said. “The bike parade was a big success, and we have a lot of people out here at Covered Bridge Park. We love to see the community come together to celebrate this holiday.”

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