Covered Bridge Celebration kicks off Thursday

Published 3:24 pm Monday, June 4, 2018

Later this week hundreds of local residents and visitors will flock to downtown to take part in the annual Covered Bridge Celebration.

The festival, which is in its 52nd year, will be held Thursday, June 7, through Saturday, June 9, at Covered Bridge Park and surrounding areas.

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Set up for the festival will begin on Thursday.

“We’re bringing in our vendors on Thursday morning,” said Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce Director Tonya Stevens. The vendors will be setting up that day, but Stevens said it would be up to the individual vendors if they want to open for sales that day.

Festivities will kick off at 6 p.m. with an Ice Cream Social in the park sponsored by Food City. The Trailblazer Cloggers will perform on the stage at Covered Bridge Park from 6-6:30 p.m. At 7 p.m. Carson Peters & Iron Mountain will take the stage to open the music performances for the festival.

“On Friday we will open our full festival,” Stevens said.

The food vendors and the arts and crafts vendors will open for the day at 10 a.m. Stevens said this year’s festival will feature many favorite returning vendors as well as some new ones.

The children’s area featuring paid attractions such as inflatables, kids swings, games, and a rock climbing wall will open Friday at Edwards Island and remain open through Saturday.

Last year, the festival introduced a Free Kids Area through a partnership with Carter County Drug Prevention, and it was such a hit it is returning for this year’s celebration, albeit in a different location.

“An overwhelming response led to some overcrowding which led to us changing the location this year,” Stevens said.

This year, the Free Kids Area will be held on the grounds of the historic Folsom House which is home to the Carter County UT Extension Office. “There are lots of things for the kids to do for free,” Stevens said. The move also brings the Free Kids Area closer to the main festival area, according to Stevens.

Friday evening’s entertainment will kick off at 5 p.m. with Hillbilly Bad who perform a country rock blend. At 6:30, bluegrass group Hightest Grass will take the stage. The headline concert for Friday evening will be Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, who will take the stage at 8 p.m.

Friday evening will also feature a free yoga class at 6:30 p.m. offered by The Yoga Farm in the grassy area at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Hattie Avenue.

The fun and festivities will culminate on Saturday.

“On Saturday we are chock full of stuff,” Stevens said.

For those looking to hit some pavement, Ballad Health is sponsoring the annual 5K Run/3K Walk. Registration for the event will begin at 6:30 a.m. at Elizabethton City Hall with the Run/Walk starting at 8 a.m.

The Community Yardsale will open at 8 a.m. and continue until 2 p.m. on East E Street. In the event of rain, Stevens said the Community Yard Sale will be held at the Boys & Girls Club on Hudson Avenue.

At 9:30 a.m., join The Yoga Farm for a free yoga class in the grassy area at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Hattie Avenue.

The popular Little Mr. and Little Miss Hillbilly Pageant, sponsored by Double C Western Store, will take place on the park stage at 11 a.m.

The downtown cruise-in sponsored by the Carter County Car Club will take place from 5-9 p.m. along East Elk Avenue in downtown Elizabethton.

Saturday’s entertainment in the park will kick off at 3:30 p.m. with a performance by the Watts Dance Studio Showcase Dancers.

Local musicians The Bullseye Band will perform from 5-6 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m. Raybon & Grindstaff — featuring Tim Raybon and Daniel Grindstaff — will take the stage.

Grammy Award-winning country music artist Billy Dean will close out the festival with his performance beginning at 8 p.m.

Shortly after the conclusion of Dean’s performance, a fireworks display by Dynamic Effects and sponsored by SnapOn Tools will bring the festival to an end.

According to Stevens, bringing the annual Covered Bridge Celebration to life each year requires a lot of work from volunteers and generosity from community sponsors. “We couldn’t do it without them,” she said.

Among the sponsors for this year’s festival are Dr. Enuf, Carter County Tourism Council, Farm Bureau Insurance Agent Daniel Grindstaff, WXBQ, Food City, Ballad Health, Carter County Drug Prevention, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Carnegie Hotel & Spa, and J’s Corner.