Patriotic pride fills Covered Bridge Park for 4th of July

Published 4:46 pm Thursday, July 5, 2018

Under sweltering temperatures, community members could be deterred from showcasing their patriotic pride in Elizabethton.

To beat the heat, the public made their way to Covered Bridge Park Wednesday afternoon for the fourth annual Independence Day Celebration, an event sponsored by the City of Elizabethton and Elizabethton Parks and Recreation.

Over the course of the day, attendees had the chance to step back in time to learn about the city’s history when it comes to the nation’s creation.

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Also, free watermelon never hurts.

“We want to thank everyone that made this possible,” said Mike Mains, Parks & Rec director. “From City Council to all our partners, we wouldn’t be able to offer these types of events without them. It’s great to see all the families stopping by to celebrate the Fourth here in Elizabethton.”

Paul Gabinet, executive director with Shepherd’s Inn, ushered in the opening ceremonies for the event by taking the public down memory lane, reminding individuals it was a day to remember the heritage of the country, and Elizabethton — alluding to the fact that the country’s founders met underneath a sycamore tree, just like the foliage on hand at Covered Bridge Park, in the area during the 1700s.

Keeping up with the annual tradition, members of the Elizabethton Fire Department provided a helping hand for the event once again by donning a large American flag atop a ladder of a fire engine on Elk Avenue Bridge. Loretta Bowers helped add an extra allure to the moment of the flag rustling in the wind with a patriotic ballad.

Kelly Kitchens, Parks & Rec programs and event coordinator, was one of the key cogs in helping organize the event and gave thanks to all the sponsors that made Wednesday a reality.

One of the more interesting pieces of the event came thanks in part to the Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition Youth Board, Kitchens said. The children set up during the event and performed various activities for other children in attendance, including the “blow bubbles, not smoke” campaign that let children play in the part with their own bottle of bubbles.

Kitchens also noted that Food City of Elizabethton provided free watermelon for the day.

Other events were on tap for the day, including a children’s bike parade, pet parade, the Miss Firecracker Pageant and performances from the Dancer’s Dream Performing Arts Academy.

The Jerry Pierce Band and Retroville also rocked the stage at the park as attendees were treated to more activities in the evening.

At the conclusion of the afternoon activities, Joe O’Brien Field was filled to the brim with fans as the Elizabethton Twins squared off against the Kingsport Mets. Snap-On Tools was able to close out the night with the annual fireworks display.