First Friday celebration will feature historic home movies, ‘ordinarily weird’ art show, in downtown Elizabethton

Published 2:36 pm Friday, April 30, 2021

By Lynn J. Richardson
Historic “home movies” and “weirdly wonderful” art adaptations of old local photographs will highlight Downtown Elizabethton’s first First Friday celebration.
The monthly series, which will continue throughout the summer months, will kick off its season on Friday, May 7, with food, live music and many unique events. The day-long event, 9 a.m. – 11 p.m., will feature activities for all ages.
Presented by Main Street Elizabethton, the Elizabethton Arts & Cultural Alliance, and the City of Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department, several special events are planned.
One of the most unique offerings will be at the Coffee Company called “Archives & Art” where Kent Edens will be sharing his family’s extensive collection of historic “home movies” and some “weirdly wonderful” art will be on display.
“We will be screening several historical home movies from downtown Elizabethton,” Edens said. “Some will include various parades such as the Rhododendron Festival Parade, Christmas, Labor Day and even the Bicentennial Parade and more,” Edens said. “We will bring out more movies as the summer progresses including the 1928 Hoover Day Parade that we will show sometime later in the summer.”
In addition to the movie screenings, artist Roger Bailey will also have a collection of his unique “historic meets fantasy” art on display.
Bailey and his wife, Abigail Bailey, are the owners of Birdhouse Studio at 429-1/2 East Elk Avenue. Abigail is a photographer; Roger is the artist.
“I like to take old things and give them new life,” Bailey said. “I have taken a number of old Elizabethton historical photos and given them a new twist. Something a little different.”
Examples of his art includes an old photo of a downtown Elizabethton parade enhanced with fanciful aliens marching along with the band. Another depicts King Kong climbing the downtown monument.
The possibilities are endless, Bailey says.
“I scour local antique shops to find art and photos for inspiration,” he added. “I find old pictures at antique stores or at yard sales, and I repaint and add some weird new little things to them.
“I guess my art is best described as ‘ordinarily weird,’” he added.
In addition to the historic movie screenings and the art show, the celebration opener will also feature alternative country and soulful electric band, 49 Winchester, who will perform at the Covered Bridge Stage from 7-9 p.m. hosted by the City of Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department.
Other entertainment and events include: 
• The Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce will host the Music and Miles Half Marathon packet pick-up from 5-7 p.m., followed by a Demo Run at 7:30 p.m. 
• The Coffee Company will be open for dinner from 5-7 p.m., Exodus Collaborative, a local farm, will also host a mini-market in front of the Coffee Company to sell local produce and showcase the benefits of supporting local farmers. 
• The Elizabethton Arts and Cultural Alliance will host a Gratitude Art Project at Sweetsie Treatz from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The ElizAlliance will also partner with Carter County Drug Prevention, PEAK Mentorship, Red Legacy Recovery, and Future Innovators to provide interactive art projects in each downtown breezeway. The Breezeway next to Sweetsie Treatz will be designated as a Teen Art Hub, featuring chalk art and “Make a Colonial Whirligig” activity. The Breezeway next to Jiggy Ray’s will be designated as a Children’s Art Hub, featuring Liberty! Artwork and coloring book activities. Liberty! actors will also be walking around downtown throughout the event for live history performances and information. 
• Watts Dance Studio performance on the Fire Station lawn at 5 p.m.
• East TN Ballet Academy performance at The Bonnie Kate Theater at 6:30 p.m.
• Appalachian Irish Dance Company at The Bonnie Kate Theater at 7:30 p.m.
More than 20 downtown businesses will be open for extended shopping and dine-in experiences, as well as local food trucks and live dance performances by local studios! Visit mainstreetelizabethton.com/firstfriday for a full schedule of May 7 First Friday activities.  
Main Street Elizabethton’s mission is to look towards the future with the goal to preserve our culture and heritage while striving to revitalize the hub and heart of our downtown.
For more information, contact Main Street Director Courtney Bean at (423) 213-0090 or cbean@cityofelizabethton.org. 

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