Art Happening: August 9, 2018

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A thunderstorm was rolling into town, but that didn’t deter attendees from the August 2018 Art Happening in downtown Sevierville. The Arts in Common Gallery was bright and cheerful inside. Follow along to the first Art Happening in this new gallery.

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There are so many beautiful things to see in the gallery. I am always captivated by Mary Rudin’s sundial, pictured in the foreground.

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First, I ran into local artist Marilyn Davenport with her husband, Bill.

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Attendees talking to the featured artist, Tim Norris (pictured right). Tim Norris lives in Kodak and is actually an accomplished musician. He told me that he just started painting a year and a half ago. He started with watercolors then moved to acrylics. A friend of his also told me that Tim creates kaleidoscopes. So much talent in the fine arts! It was a pleasure to meet and talk to this artist.

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Music provided by T.J. Artis.

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These artists are twin sisters! Kaye and Faye moved here several months ago from Nashville and North Carolina, respectively. They are excited to be living here now and getting to know other artists in the area.

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Artists and supporters gather in the gallery. Pictured left to right: Ken, Jeff, Gail, and Charlotte.

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Featured artist, Tim Norris, and Davy Crockett.

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Local artists, Jenny Dennis and Rita Eakin, enjoyed the Art Happening. Jenny creates abstract art and works with textiles, which you can see on her website                             www. jennydennisart.com . Rita works with acrylics. She created the beautiful scarf that she is wearing during a class with Charlotte Wear at Charlotte’s Creative, just a few doors up the street. I must take this class!

IMG_7066Liza Bach and Jill Greene overseeing the August Art Happening. A good crowd enjoyed the evening!

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More fans of  Tim Norris had a good time. Pictured left to right: Julianna Norris, daughter of the featured artist; Kelsey, Brennon, and Taylor.

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Tim, Julianna, and Debbie Norris stand by some of his acrylic paintings. My favorite painting is in the center.

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The clouds are reflecting light and look almost real to me. Fabulous!

I really enjoyed meeting this artist, his family, their friends, and fellow art fans. It is such a nice way to spend time downtown in the evening. Now that the gallery is ready, Jill Greene told me that the Sevierville Commons Art Council plans to host Art Happenings on the second Thursday of each month. With Art Happenings, they will spotlight an artist who has work in the gallery. Look on the wall to the left of the front door because that will be the display space.

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I am excited that the Art Happenings are starting again downtown. The people are great and it is a feast for the eyes and the soul. You won’t find a better way to spend a little time downtown in the evening while out and about in Sevierville. See you there next month!

 

 

A Visit to the Downtown Farmers Market Before the Storms Arrived on Friday night.

I was running late to meet friends for lunch so there was no time to waste on Friday at the downtown Sevierville farmers market. With only 40 minutes to see as much as possible, I made my way from the parking lot on Main Street to the gazebo area. Follow along and see what was there last Friday, July 20.

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I had never seen so many cars and traffic in downtown Sevierville this summer so it was good to see people out and about.

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If you park near the courthouse then you can pass through the arcade at the Victoria Mall and then exit near the Henderson’s produce tent. This is one of my favorite stops.

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The downtown Sevierville farmers market on Fridays offers a great place for family outings. This sweet family captures that idea in one photo.

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Kyle Grainger, reporter and weather anchor for WVLT-TV, shops at another vendor. Knowing that storms were on the way that evening, the vendor and I asked about the weather timeline. Kyle replied that it would be stormy and that the television station had recommended that he pack an overnight bag in order to cover the weather throughout the early morning hours. It did turn out to be quite a stormy night!

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I always enjoy visiting the UT Ag Extension tent because they are so friendly, offer samples, give you a free recipe, and sometimes a freebie! I felt good when one of the ladies knew of this blog and said that a relative in Ohio reads it sometimes. So cool!

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 Apple salsa with a little jalapeño kick. I will make this!

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This is the nicest lady! She also makes quilts from t-shirts. I got some specifics from her for a future project because I am ready to finally get rid of T-shirts, but don’t want to throw them away. Some are from Spain, London, Australia, and New Zealand so they are sentimental favorites. This will allow me to keep the memories, but also allow more closet space. Take a look at the craftwork under her arms in the photo above. Those are remnants from T-shirt projects in the past. Looks like we know what kind of shirts they come from!

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I bought the medium glazed cashews to take as a hostess gift on Saturday at a cabi Fall ’18 collection launch. The friends at the party found them to be a favorite treat at that gathering. I talked to the vendor and he is headed for California this week.

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Other customers agree that the glazed pecans are great.

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I need to avoid sugar, but still admired the cinnamon buns from this vendor.

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Foodie pastry heaven!

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Wildflour Bakehouse offers cakes made to order and cookies as well. Check out her book for ideas and prices. I liked the chocolate cakes pictured above.

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 I was so happy to see Snowbird Mountain Farm again and made another purchase. Great  gourmet coffee!

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You can buy lunch from Doug Shanks and keep shopping!

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There is always a crowd and beautiful things to see at Sevier Blumen.

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I had to leave for lunch before I had a chance to wander over to the gazebo to see a wood turning demonstration. Luckily, I caught a Facebook Live feed by the Sevierville Commons Arts Council while I was in the restaurant. From that, I caught a couple of screenshots of these Unicoi County crafters. Here is one screenshot of Bill Collison at work.

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Here is a screenshot of Tina Collison. Check the front page of the Sevierville Mountain Press Sunday edition to see a story on these two crafters.

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Taking a last look before heading to lunch with friends. The Sevier County Courthouse clock tower in the background is a nice photo reference.

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Healthy Balance is a great lunch stop after visiting the market. I met Janice, Anita, and Elaine for a leisurely lunch. The turkey avocado sandwich grilled is perfection. We highly recommend this lunch spot!

There is another farmers market downtown in just a few days. It is a great way for you, and your family, to get out and about in Sevierville. See you there!

 

New Things at the Farmers Market: July 6, 2018

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There is a special energy on Fridays in downtown Sevierville. Go to the gazebo on Bruce Street and you will find our local farmers market buzzing with activity and commerce. I went this week and found two new vendors that offer something a little special. Follow along and see for yourself…

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I noticed a lot of progress on a new business downtown called Graze Burgers. (I think that I got that name right.) One of the foreman said that they would make some good progress in another month. It is coming along nicely.

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Although in a bit of a disarray now, this alley will soon become a seating area with tables and chairs for Graze Burgers. There will be a window to the bar that will assist with food service. I am looking forward to see this new business.

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There was a lot of ‘hustle and bustle’ at the farmers market when I arrived around 11:00 a.m.  I was glad to see so many customers there for the day.

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It was good to see Doug Shanks ready to serve lunch to hungry shoppers. He retired from the Sevierville Police Force and has taken over this business.

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If you elect Doug Shanks as Constable, then you know where you can find him on Fridays between 9:00-1:00.

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I always enjoy seeing the U.T. Extension Office at the farmers market because they will have a nice sample and recipe to give away to anyone who wants to try it. They also have many tips for recipes, gardening, cooking, and more.

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I tried this broccoli salad and it was fabulous! It was kept cold and refreshing. I liked the raisins and red onion in this particular recipe. Must make it soon!

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Here is one of the new vendors from Snowbird Mountain Farm. I think that it is worthy of note because I bought something here within 5 minutes. Guess what it was?

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This business is based in Hartford, Tennessee. Snowbird Mountain Farm (love the title!) offers several products, not the least of which is coffee. The vendor was very pleasant and friendly, happy to explain the roasting process and differences in blends.

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I am a coffee ‘afficionado’ and a big fan of the Three Bears Coffee company that sells at the Knoxville Market Square farmers market. To see a coffee vendor at our Sevierville farmers market was quite a welcome sight. This is a niche that needs to be filled.

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After smelling the aromas from each bag, I promptly bought this one and look forward to trying it in the morning.

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I love this vendor as I have bought many dog sculptures from her to give as gifts. There are some new things here. Look…

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Pomeranians!

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I think that I am going to buy this for Larry Sorrell!

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This was the other new vendor that was worthy of note. He makes and sells candied, glazed pecans, walnuts, and cashews. Walk up and you can try a sample.

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I tried this one. He uses bourbon to make this delightful treat. It was really good! I only tried one.

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I think that this could be a good hostess gift if you are going to see someone. I would prefer the one on the right, of course.

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It was time for me to go so I went my usual route through this arcade, the hallway through Victoria Mall.

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Pass through the light to Court Avenue and the parking lot on Main Street. It was nice to see some new vendors along with the good ones that we already have on Fridays at the farmers market. It makes it nice to get out and about in Sevierville on a summer morning.

See you there!

 

 

 

My First Trek Up Mount LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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If you live in this area then climbing Mount LeConte is probably on your ‘bucket list.’ In addition, an overnight stay at LeConte Lodge is ‘the dream’ because it is so difficult to get a reservation—not to mention getting there. I am not a hiker, nor outdoorsy; however, the possibility of going up the famous mountain with friends was something that I couldn’t pass up. It was finally time. Here is our story from last month: my first trek up Mount LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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We ascended the mountain via the Alum Cave Bluff trail. Many will be glad to see bathrooms at the beginning of the trail. I know that I was!

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A quick glance showed mountain visitors from several states.

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The Alum Cave Bluff trail starts out gently.

IMG_1127The trail becomes steeper as you approach the cave. Melinda said, “the hike is tough, but what a payoff! The views from Alum Cave take my breath away.”

IMG_3587Mountain ridge lines become visible above Alum Cave.

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You gain amazing views as you proceed up the mountain.

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The path is rough, but you can do it with a good fitness level. I had been working toward this goal at National Fitness Center in Sevierville since the spring. In fact, I highly recommend their high intensity fitness classes and the stair climber to prepare for this vigorous hike.

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Take frequent rest breaks if you need them. We did.

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My good friends, Millie Derrick McFalls and Melinda Derrick, were some of the best companions for this first trek up Mount LeConte. Millie worked at the lodge for several summers and Melinda has made the ascent before so they knew what to pack and what to do.

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The trail presents some exciting moments—and photos!

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Nice drop off! Hang on to the ropes. You have plenty of room, but the ropes increase the safety and feeling of security.

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My climbing companions were (pictured left to right) Lisa Stone, Melinda Derrick, and Millie Derrick McFalls. Lisa Stone has served in the Teacher in the Parks program and the Teacher Ranger (TRP) program. Her knowledge of the mountains, plants, animals, and hiking made it so much more interesting and fun. She also carried an alarm in case we came into contact with wild animals.

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Melinda said that there are about 28 places on the trail with these security ropes.

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When you feel like your legs will not go much farther then you may reach what is called the ‘Hallelujah’ trail. This flat section is the last quarter mile to LeConte Lodge, your final destination.

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Our first contact with the lodge was this privy that any hiker can use. There are more bathrooms for lodge guests as well.

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We had just enough time to check into our cabin before dinner was served in the lodge dining room.

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There is no electricity in the dining hall, but the skylights and windows allow natural light. The dining room is cozy in the cool air at the top of the mountain. Temperatures that June night dropped into the 40’s up on LeConte.

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This will be the best corn bread that you have ever had in your life. In fact, the whole meal will taste amazing!

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Dinner at 6,593 feet will be the best one of the year. Delicious!

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You will need to carb load for all the hiking you will do, even while  on the top of the mountain. These Toll House cookies were as good as they look! Feel free to take another!

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After dinner, Lisa and I trekked to the ‘Clifftops.’ This is the best spot to watch the sunset. It was kind of tricky for me with all the rocks and slick spots, but I was glad that I went there. Does it look like you can reach up and touch the clouds?

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Upon arrival back at our cabin, we could look over the tree line and see the lights from Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. Lisa said that she said the big wheel at the Island. The lights extending to the right are from Dolly Parton Parkway. The lights north of that show Highway 66 to the Interstate.

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Some cabins have double sized bunk beds. They may be queen sized! Two people can share each bed of this type.

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Lisa and I got up at 5:30 a.m. in order to see this sunrise from Myrtle Point. It was the most amazing sight of the entire trip! Make sure that you do this. Take flashlights and a walking stick because the path is a little tricky in the rocky areas.

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Even with the clouds, the sunrise will impress you.

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Lisa walking back to the cabin from the sunrise at Myrtle Point. You can see how the paths look like creek beds.

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The ‘office’ has morning coffee so bring the cup from your room for caffeine. See the sign- in book to the right of the coffee? Make sure that you register your name, hometown, and how many times you have made the climb to the lodge. Look at old pictures on the wall and some of the ‘hall of fame’ climbers who have made a name with frequent treks to the top of the mountain.

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This was a good way to wake up and prepare for the descent back down the mountain.

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I love this photo of my friends enjoying a chat and coffee on Mount LeConte.

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Breakfast at the lodge is perfect. This is just half of it. There were biscuits and gravy and more.

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For some new views, Lisa and I chose to descend the mountain via the Boulevard Trail. It is longer than Alum Cave trail, but I wanted to see the wonderful views—and they were stunning.

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We began the descent and took our time.

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The Boulevard trail contained one of my favorite spots (and pictures) on the whole trail.

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We were walking among the clouds during the first part of the hike down LeConte.

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We got caught in a thunderstorm about halfway down the mountain. Make sure that you have a poncho. And now, I can say that I have done part of the AT, the Appalachian Trail.

Truly, I am a novice so check with seasoned hikers before you begin any hike in the Smokies. Thanks to my friends, I was prepared and had a great time. After my legs recovered for a couple of days, I can say that I would consider going back up the mountain next year. After all, I didn’t get to see the llama pack train that goes up the mountain with supplies three times a week. Next year!

There are so many good pictures from this trip. So many good times. The Derrick sisters summarize it well. “Experiencing the walk, the lodge, and time with my sister and friends is priceless. We made memories.” Millie agrees, ” I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

 

 

Sevierville Commons Farmers Market and Movie Night Downtown: June 15th, 2018

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I rushed up Court Avenue and then to the gazebo area in order to connect with the farmers market last Friday.  On my way home from a HIIT class, there were only a few minutes to spend there, but fresh produce was calling my name. As it turned out, I would return downtown at dusk to see what was going on with the Sevierville Commons sponsored movie. It was a busy day in downtown Sevierville so follow along to see what was bringing people downtown from morning to evening.

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Tomatoes are in! Love the summertime for this reason. Hendersons always has good ones.

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Danish and bagels for the sweet tooth. She often sells out by noon so get there early.

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This cute little game on sale by one vendor was a bargain! I will get some next week —if there are any left.

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We were able to sample one of the small Cherokee Purple tomatoes from this vendor; consequently, I took several home. Lots of flavor in a small package.

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This is on my dining room table right now. Hard to pass up a bouquet from Sevier Blumen.

Around 8:30 p.m. it was almost dusk so I decided to go by and see the crowd for the outdoor movie. The selection for the evening was the “Lion King.”

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We have no drive-in movie theaters in the county, but this was  almost the next best thing. What a nice evening to sit outside to watch a movie with family and friends almost within the shadow of the courthouse.

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Snacks were available for sale from the Relay For Life of Sevier County group. They said that they had sold out of certain things by the time that I got there so get there early next time!

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There was a very good turnout for this movie. Thanks to Sevierville Commons for the opportunity to enjoy something free downtown with families.

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I found some precious, hand-made items for sale at this table sponsored the Orbit Village Project. The figures of zebras, giraffes, and other African animals fit perfectly into the “Lion King” theme. I bought a giraffe figure that will sit on my desk to collect mail.

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I have heard of the Orbit Village Project before and enjoyed looking at the information boards. What a wonderful work it is for everyone involved.

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Finally, darkness settled and it was time for the show. Everyone seemed to settle in.

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And then the magic began…

First Visit to Downtown Sevierville Farmers Market 2018 (and a sneak peek at Rocking the Commons)

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It was my first visit to the Farmers Market in downtown Sevierville this year.  I was running late so it was a quick tour around for me this time. Many of your favorite vendors were there. Follow me to take a quick tour here.

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The first reason I go to the market is for fresh produce so Henderson’s is hard to beat.

IMG_3378 2The lady who sells bread and fresh bagels is back. These are amazing!

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One of my favorite vendors is back with the handmade figurines. Remember last year when she designed some cat and dog figurines for me to give as gifts? She has a few new things for the holidays, so check them out next week.

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I am avoiding sugar right now, but imagine these products are wonderful on a morning biscuit. She also does the T-shirt quilts so ask her about them if you are interested.

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This lady is one of the friendliest vendors on Friday so go say “hello.” She had some ‘special helpers’ too. Everyone needs soaps and scrubs and hers are so reasonably priced.

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I asked about the charcoal ingredient and she replied that it was good for problem skin and complexions. It helps remove toxins too.

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These little cakes were so light. The sweet potato butter adds the moisture. Sounds so good!

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I got close to the end of the market time so I didn’t really run into a lot of people. Will try to be earlier next week. Next, I crossed the street to see a sneak peek of the Rocking the Commons event, sponsored by the Sevierville Arts Commons.

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These rockers are gorgeous! They will be auctioned off today at 4:00.

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Go Vols !

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Each rocker is one of a kind. Collector’s item!

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Some lucky people will have a one of a kind rocking chair to enjoy on the porch this summer. See you downtown and out and about in Sevierville. 

 

Some Warriors Don’t Carry Weapons: Relay For Life of Sevier County Celebrates 20 Years of Hope

There are many groups here, but I am sure none work harder than Relay for Life of Sevier County. Relay For Life is an organization with the mission to raise money for cancer research and programming. The Sevier County Relay For Life group has raised over $3.8 million dollars for the American Cancer Society. Last Saturday was a 20 Year Celebration for the local organization—and it was a big one. Follow me downtown Sevierville to see activities during the 12 hour event.

First, I am going to share some of my favorite things for the general public. Then, I will share some things that I saw that will hit close to home for cancer survivors and caregivers. There is something for everyone at a Relay For Life event.

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I was happy to see plenty of parking and chairs, many in the shade. There was a schedule of events posted on Facebook and in the Mountain Press featuring free music and non-stop entertainment. Anyone can come down and enjoy the outdoors with the courthouse and Dolly statue in the backdrop.

 

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Citizens National Bank offered treats and the thrill of a dunking booth. This lady said that the water was a little chilly at the beginning of the day. What a good sport and supporter of Relay For Life.

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There were games and prizes. Surely, this team had the best smiles!

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Sophia and I had lunch from the Norma Dan Monkees team menu. Grilled right there! They chose ‘monkees’ as a name mascot because it is upbeat …and they are just fun!

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Serving burgers to benefit Relay For Life of Sevier County. They were great!

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More games from Tennessee State Bank. The candy pull game looked fun. Popcorn too.

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The crowds were huge at Dollywood so this family stopped by downtown and took advantage of some of the activities. Face painting was very popular.

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More games!

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Inflatables were a big draw for families.

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Low carb snacks. A huge plate for $2 !

There was a large selection of silent auction items. I am bringing more $ next year to do some birthday and Christmas shopping.

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There are only a few Smoky Mountain-Opoly games left. Sheriff Seals supported the Relay For Life event in person, and as a sponsor.

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Author, Missy Barrett, speaking with Tennessee Representative Dale Carr.

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I heard really good music all day. The band pictured above was quite popular. “Priscilla and Little Rickee” came from Chattanooga to play for the Relay For Life event.

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Late in the afternoon, past event Chairs and members of the first steering committee were recognized. These leaders have championed the fight against cancer to help others in Sevier County live better lives.

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With the courthouse in the background, Relay For Life of Sevier County teams receive a check $15,000  from the Smoky Mountain Wine Trail from the Pink Wines and Stomp Out Breast Cancer Walk. An amazing donation!

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I enjoyed the live auction under the direction of Dale Carr. He skillfully guided the bidding until the highest dollar was found.

To see a live auction is truly an amazing thing.

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As the sun set, I was waiting for the Luminaria ceremony to begin. One could donate a luminaria in memory of a loved one or to honor one who had battled cancer. I bought one for a sweet lady who had passed last year.

IMG_3226 Luminarias lined the street and served as a visual reminder of the terrible reach of cancer.

During the luminaria ceremony, each person was given a small candle.  The candle would be lit as they called out categories of loved ones affected by cancer. Then, there was a quiet memory walk around the courthouse to reflect on these loved ones.

The moment that the Boyd’s Creek Church of God choir began to sing “Amazing Grace” was somber and touching. I almost did not video this moment because it was so solemn, but I felt that it was important for people to see the beauty and dignity of the remembrance walk. As the choir sang, people took their candles and walked along the luminarias that lined the courthouse.

The Relay For Life of Sevier County teams worked hard for 12 hours to celebrate 20 years of important work that impacts our citizens. This group truly brings hope to those in our county who face the fear of cancer. Many thanks to Emily Kile who stepped out to create the group here 20 years ago when it was relatively unheard of. Thanks to other leaders and committee members who have worked on Relay events over the years. Thanks to the teams who worked so hard last Saturday. Finally, thanks to my friend Sophia Conerly, who has taught me more about this hard working group of people. I have seen them…and they are warriors.

I’ll end this article with some of the sponsors of this event—it would be difficult without their partnership and support.

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An Epic Reunion: SCHS Choir Celebration Concert, May 2018

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Reunions are common this time of year, but the one that took place on May 20th was an epic event. The Sevier County High School Choir performed a Celebration Concert with alumni that harkened back 25 years. Two choral directors, teachers, students, and family joined together for an amazing musical moment. I wouldn’t have missed this for the world!

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The SCHS Celebration Concert was led by three teachers. Mistress of Ceremonies was Ms. Jean Burkhart, director of the Seymour High School Choir (pictured left). The concert was directed by Nathan Rhea (center) and Peg Brasfield Welch (pictured right). Nathan is an SCHS graduate from the Class of 2000 and current director of the SCHS Choir. Peg Brasfield Welch served as SCHS Choral Director from 1991-2009 and was Nathan’s teacher at SCHS.

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I walked in just in time to get a good seat in the performance hall of the Parkway Church of God. Since there were a few minutes before showtime, I got up to say hello to some very special people.

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It is always so nice to see retired SCHS Principal, Gary Roach. He and his wife had arrived from Florida in time to see this event. Pictured left to right: Nathan Rhea, Gary Roach, and Peg Brasfield Welch.

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Ryah Parkhurst and Deborah Webb waiting for the performance to begin. Deborah is a Fine Arts teacher and has known the two choir directors for many years.

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The ‘Welcome’ and Opening Prayer were delivered by Mr. Roach. He is always interesting to listen to and we know that there will be a good story in the mix. Not only did he serve as our principal at SCHS, but Mr. Roach and Peg have known each other since she was in high school.

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The concert began with an Appalachian folk song called “Shady Grove,” performed by the Men’s Concert Choir.

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Next, the Alumni Men joined to sing “My Wild Irish Rose.”

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The Women’s Concert Choir sang ” High Flight.”

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Peg Brasfield Welch directed the Women and Alumni Concert Choir in “Music Down in My Soul.”

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There were more songs to come. The audience truly enjoyed all the groups performing together. I had never heard “Nella Fantasia” before and thought it may the loveliest song that I have ever heard. Soaring vocals!

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There was a special presentation at the mid-point of the show for Peg Brasfield Welch, a teacher who has impacted so many people. To begin, Nathan Rhea stated that she changed his life 18 years ago. Peg told him that “singing is a gift from God.” Nathan recalled how Peg encouraged students to keep singing and to keep choral music ‘alive.’  The goal is not to compete with each other, but “to shine together.”

My IPhone did not capture good photos indoors so I contacted a professional photographer that I noticed attending the performance. The featured image for this article was by Kraehmer Photography.   Visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kraehmerphotography/ . The following photos were also used with permission by Kraehmer Photography. Many thanks!

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 (Photo courtesy of Kraehmer Photography.)

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It is rare when a former student gets the opportunity to honor a teacher in a special collaboration such as the Celebration Concert. Nathan Rhea said, “I am so honored to have had the chance to direct this concert and plan it with my former high school choir teacher. How often does that happen? A student co-direct with their former teacher…how cool is that?”  (Photo courtesy of Kraehmer Photography.)

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There was more music to come—and it was lovely. (Photo courtesy of Kraehmer Photography.)

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Anita Ownby Lipton sings a solo from “Order My Steps.” Anita always remembers Peg’s quote, “Music is all around us. All you have to do is listen!”

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Drew Hatcher’s voice almost brought Melinda and I to tears during “Nella Fantasia.”  What a beautiful sound!  (Photo courtesy of Kraehmer Photography.)

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Some of the best singers to come from the SCHS Concert Choir were present during this Celebration Concert. (Photo courtesy of Kraehmer Photography.)

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After the performance, Mr. Roach chatted with two of Peg’s sons.

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Alumni Choir members Marley Blevins and Julia Chastain Christ after the show.

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Nathan Rhea, choir director at SCHS had a final thought about the Celebration Concert.  He said, “Peg inspired me so much and that is what I want to do for my students: to inspire them to be better than they ever thought they could be. The SCHS Choral Department is what it is today because of Peg and it was nice to have a chance to give something back to her. Her former students showed up, sang and then everyone praised what she had achieved. This is everything to her.”

After the show, Peg reflected, “The students bonded as a group, made up of separate classes and all ages. Nathan Rhea outdid himself collecting the data and the history of this organization. This celebration was on my bucket list. It was everything, and more, than I hoped for.”

At the end, we left the Celebration Concert with this thought…

Singing is something we can do our whole life long.” Peg Brasfield Welch.

 

 

Sevierville Bloomin’ Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival 2018

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It was a jam packed weekend downtown Sevierville with history walks, ‘chalk walk art,’ cooking competitions, bluegrass music, and lots of food. Sevierville has never been busier. Here are a few scenes from the 2018 Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival in downtown Sevierville.

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We saw that Bloomie,’ the festival mascot, made a lot of new friends on Friday evening.

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The Brad Hudson Band played on the Main Stage at 6:00 p.m.  Pictured from left to right: Josh Cantrell, Logan Hembree, Brad Hudson,  Dylan Abney, and Andy Stinnett. Brad Hudson and Andy Stinnett live in Sevier County.

 The Brad Hudson band took the Main Stage on Friday evening at 6:00 p.m. Interestingly, they had a show the next day in Maryland! (Picture and video are courtesy of Ursula Stinnett.) This song is called “Pike County Breakdown.”

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After a passing shower, we were out and about on Court Avenue checking out the vendors.

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We loved this T-shirt on sale at the Ole Smoky table.

 

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We loved this honey truck with the live bees on display behind glass.

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These looked amazing. We had to just walk away.

 

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We took a walking tour at 6:00 on Friday evening. The clouds look dark over Bruce Street, but we were able to complete the tour before more rain arrived.

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Roasted sweet corn was highly recommended by festival goers.

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I looked up from my camera and saw Coach Wilhoit and the words ‘Rib King’ at the same moment. That made perfect sense!  Ellen and Shane Wilhoit enjoyed walking around and seeing the festival with family.

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Rain washed away the art from Friday afternoon, but the streets were dry by Saturday so I was able to see some examples from the Chalk Walk on Bruce, sponsored by the Sevierville Commons Arts Council. I will cover that and an upcoming event for them in a new blog, coming soon.

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There was a barbeque tasting contest at 2:30 on Saturday afternoon. It was VERY, Very popular with attendees. People could buy a ticket for $10 and get 15 samples from the cooking teams. Tasters voted by putting the cup with an entry number on it in a box. Don’t eat lunch before you try this.

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Barbeque tasting cups are placed on pizza boxes to allow tasters to transport them to a place to sit and try them. Excellent idea. Dress for hot weather and wear something dark so sauce won’t accidentally stain a shirt or pants. This is my advice for first timers to this event.

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You can buy a yellow or blue ticket. The teams are anonymous so you can judge the samples without bias. $10 for 15 samples. That equaled about a cup of barbeque—that is a lot! You may want to consider sharing with someone.

It takes a big grill to cook competitively. This wasn’t the largest one by far at the festival.

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A long line formed by 2:15. Don’t worry—it will move very quickly at start time.

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I went into the Arts in Common Gallery to say hello and to escape the heat. You can see through the window barbeque aficonados lining up for the tasting event . These rocking chairs will be auctioned off on June 9th at the gazebo. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog story in advance of this event.

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The assembly line serving the samples was efficient and speedy. These volunteers hardly looked up because they were so quick. Thank you!

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It takes a while to try 15 samples of barbeque so you have to find a cool place to sit. The free water was much appreciated at this point. All the samples were outstanding, in my opinion. I tend to like sweet/spicy sauce so several really appealed to me. Fun!

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Advertising, food, and competition collide in this sign. Will look forward to it next year too.

See you out and about in Sevierville.

 

Grilling at KaTom with Randall Jolley and Barbara Tenney

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I get excited when I see the announcement pictured above because it means there is going to be a lesson and dinner at KaTom. This one involved one of my favorite cooks in East Tennessee, Barbara Tenney. Supported by master griller, Randall Jolley, this dinner was especially enjoyable. Here is the menu for the class on May 9th:

Menu

Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad with Teriyaki Dressing

Firecracker Chicken

Gordon’s Marinated Asparagus with Pecans

Banana Pudding with Meringue

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Randall Jolley and Barbara Tenney are ready to begin. Take your seats, please!

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Randall begins with a lesson on the Firecracker sauce. I found it exactly as I like it, but with a little bit of ‘heat.’ You can see the overhead mirror and video screen. Consequently, every seat is a good one for these cooking classes.

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We went outside to see the grill and the sauce. The grill was on sale for a great price too.

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We were all ‘foodies’ at this demo and were happy to go outside to see the tools for master grilling.

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A view from the overhead screen of Barbara in action.

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After eating this wonderful dish, I had to go to the store and buy more asparagus for home. It was fabulous! The sauce complimented the food without overpowering it. In addition, I had not thought of adding pecans to asparagus, but it added a nice crunch and nutty flavor to the dish. Classes like this are good in that they expand my thinking as a cook.

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It was the ideal plate for a spring or summer dinner. Salad, veggie, and protein. Perfect!

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I love to watch people make meringue and bake it. We could not wait to try the banana pudding.

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This was fabulosity!

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Yes, we agreed that it was probably the best banana pudding that we had ever tasted. Divine!

I was lucky to be seated at a table with some Morristown fans of Barbara Tenney. What fun they were! It is always a pleasure to sit near Faye Andrews at a KaTom class as well. I have been lucky to sit with her several times now. I saw other friends from Morristown, the Lynches, who happen to live across the street from my sister. I was hoping to run into them again. Other attendees were from Knoxville and Alcoa.

KaTom cooking demos are truly a fun time and one of my favorite ways to get out and out in Sevierville. Follow them on Facebook to see events or call them to receive email updates for classes.      https://www.facebook.com/KaTomRestaurantSupply/

Here are the next events on the KaTom calendar:

June 5th Warren Weiss from Knox Mason

June 20th  Neil Green from All Occasions Catering

 

Save me a seat at the table!