Covered Bridge Park hosts inaugural December event

Published 4:08 pm Monday, December 4, 2017

Residents recently had the chance to step into the Arctic and get their own taste of the North Pole lifestyle.
Elizabethton Parks and Recreation welcomed the public to the inaugural “Christmas at Covered Bridge Park” Saturday afternoon prior to the start of the annual holiday parade. With just six weeks of preparation, the first-ever Christmas-based event at the park was able to surpass expectation, according to Parks & Rec Director Mike Mains.
“It really has,” Mains said when asked if the event surpassed expectations. “We’ve had a steady amount of people stopping by. We were expecting the bulk of people to stop by before the parade, but we’ve been slammed each hour.”
For three hours, the public was treated to various Christmas-themed activities. Having the ability to utilize the resources offered at the park made the project a no-brainer according to Kelly Kitchens, program and special events coordinator.
“We wanted to give the public something to do before the parade,” Kitchens, who spearheaded the event, said. “I think this was the perfect opportunity for us to use what Covered Bridge Park has to offer and let the public get into that holiday mode. We’ve been able to serve all age groups today. This shows that people want these types of opportunities available in the community.”
Multiple agencies offered support throughout the day. Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition provided hot chocolate and other sweet treats to the public while the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library offered free games and other activities for children.
A popular part of the event, according to Kitchens, was the photography sessions offered with Santa and in front of the Covered Bridge. Whitney Oliver with Oliver’s Twist Photography offered low-cost photos of children with Santa and family photos.
Parks & Rec staff also commended the workers with the Northeast Correctional Facility of Carter County for creating the different Christmas pieces placed throughout the park, including Christmas-themed houses and a throne for Santa.
Kitchens added the hope is to use Saturday’s event as an unofficial kickoff for the potential of additional events to be held at the park.
“This is an event we want to build on for next year, but we’re looking for those gaps during the year to offer different programs and events,” she said. “We want to continue offering these events that can be for all ages.”
Mains recently added the program is just one of the many programs that will return for the new year
“This is just one more step. We have a lot of things we want to do throughout the year, but this particular event is special and something we wanted to do to let people take advantage of the location and showcase the park,” Mains recently told the Elizabethton Star.
And the year isn’t over when it comes to programs through the department. Kitchens added Parks & Rec will offer the annual Storytime with Santa on Thursday, Dec. 21, at the Recreation Center.
Free inflatables will be offered along with a storytime session with Santa. Attendees will receive a free book for the library while cookies and milk will be offered from Carter County UT – Extension.
For more information on other events offered by the department, visit their website or call (423) 547-6441.

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