You Gotta Hustle! Santa Hustle Smokies 5K and Half Marathon 2017

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If you drove down highway 66 this morning, you were likely to see a couple of thousand Santas running and walking down the road. You weren’t seeing things! It was the Santa Hustle Smokies 5K and Half Marathon races.

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A colleague talked me into running again. I have participated in the 5K with my sister, niece and nephews on two occasions, but have not done it in a few years. When the forecast predicted 19 degrees at race time, I had decided to stay home. However, the Lord showed us great favor this morning when I saw that it was actually 28 degrees. I knew that when the sun came up it would get warmer so I suited up and took off for the Sevierville Convention Center parking garage.

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This screenshot shows new things that participants got this year. Socks and medals are new. The Dri Fit Santa shirt is comfortable and fun to wear to work or the gym. Love these goodies! In the 5K, you run from the Wilderness Resort to Starbucks and Ruby Tuesdays on highway 66, turn around, and come back. The half marathon goes to Pigeon Forge, near Starbucks, then returns.

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Participants are encouraged to dress up in a holiday style. I saw her running with this outfit. There was plenty of room inside for her arms and it may have blocked the cold breeze. So fun!

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There is a competition for costumes and it is fun to see what runners can race in. This couple looked great!

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These tiny ‘reindeer’ were popular with children and adults alike.

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So cute!

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There is a DJ playing Christmas music and announcing the line up times to race. Very festive!

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This photo captures the first seconds of the race. I have tried to embed a video link below for the opening seconds of the half marathon runners.

https://youtu.be/UuK1-pIxj8Q

If you are going to run in freezing temps, it is good to have a few extra things to wear. I went to a local sporting goods store and bought a fleece neck warmer and special gloves.

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The neck warmer made a huge difference!

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This race provides a lot of good treats post-race to recover energy. My favorite thing was the  two toasters warming Thomas English muffins for peanut butter and/or jelly. Nice!

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Little Vols are fans of the race too!

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Fun to see colleagues at the race. Jennifer and Brittany had a great time today with their families.

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Ed and Barbara OBrien have hiked every trail in the Smokies AND do 5K races. They are unstoppable!

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Milk and cookies for a post-race Christmas treat.

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There are lots of photo opportunities and bragging rights here. Heidi and I broke our personal records!

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Every race usually has at least one, cool, ‘chill bump’ moment. The picture above was ‘it’ for me. Heidi and I were waiting to cross the street to go to the parking garage when we stopped to watch some half marathoners coming up the street. They were some of the first to return. The guy above in the yellow-green shirt ran by us so fast and he must have been in his 80s. He was so fast! You can see the young man behind him running who must have been 60 years younger. Respect!

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I think that these ladies said that they came from Knoxville and Sevierville for the Santa Hustle.

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They make the race fun in every way. Heidi is going to send this pic to her son. He is a college student in Texas right now and will be happy to see his mom having fun and active.

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Fun photo with Rudolph.

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All finishers got some good souvenirs this year.

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See you in 2018 when Santas are running out and about in Sevierville. 

Christmas on Bruce Street 2017

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Last Saturday morning, I parked behind Sevier County Bank and made my way through the arcade to meet Sheley at Courthouse Donuts for a special event. It was time to get ready for Christmas on Bruce Street, presented by the Sevierville Commons Arts Council. The third annual Christmas on Bruce Street event took place from 10:00 – 4:00 p.m. We ran right on time. Come along with us here…

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I spied this lady taking a picture of her son with the Dolly statue. She said that they were from Greensboro, North Carolina and wanted to catch the parade before they went to Gatlinburg. Love their matching hats!

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Love the festive tree with two Sevierville icons.

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Andrea Wilson, local artist and Sevierville Commons Arts Council board member, is sharing information before the parade begins the journey down Court Avenue.

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I had to stop and admire the greenery here. Nice!

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Kyle Grainger from WVLT Channel 8 was preparing for the parade at his spot at Courthouse Donuts.

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Is this the most beautiful Golden Doodle you have ever seen? So sweet too!


IMG_3802I met Sheley at Courthouse Donuts for coffee. It was very busy before the parade.

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Next, we had a little time so we went a few doors down to Two Coyotes Studio to shop and to talk to artist, Bev Gwinn Jones. There were so many pretty things to consider. I must go back soon!

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We went downstairs to see the parade proceed down Court Avenue. My previous blog covered the parade; however, I include a picture of a tractor here because that turned out to be a favorite thing of Sheley during the event. Who knew?

We stopped by the Arts in Common Gallery on Bruce Street to make a Christmas ornament during their ‘make it and take it’ time. I love mine, pictured above. I could have sat there for hours making more things. Alas, time was moving quickly.

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Next, we visited Charlotte’s Creative and our friend, Charlotte Wear. I bought an ornament for a party on Thursday and I may end up keeping it because it is so pretty.

Charlotte had some delightful holiday treats. I love the green Spritz cookies.

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Local artist, Charlotte Wear, and my friend, Sheley, enjoying the Christmas feeling on Bruce Street.

Artist, Mary Phillips, does pastel silhouettes. Love these! She just adopted that dog from an animal shelter so we got to meet him too.

IMG_3940Next, we headed toward the gazebo and the Holiday Market. On the way, we ran into an old friend. I heard what Sheley asked for Christmas, but cannot tell.

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We enjoyed the music of the Reunited, featuring Steve Laciak and Kate Phillips. Sheley and I admired her blue velvet coat and wanted to know where she got it. It was fabulous! See more of them on their Facebook page. Here is a link: https://www.facebook.com/thereunitedduo/

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I enjoy the things that Ursula Stinnett creates with paper, old hymnals, and more. Incredible keepsakes! In fact, three friends will be receiving a gift tomorrow at brunch that I bought from this Sevierville maker.

So many pretty things!

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It is fun seeing friends at the market. Catherine and Allison were doing some shopping with their Aunt Pat. A mysterious man dressed in red was walking in the background.

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l love shopping with this vendor. Soaps and bath ‘bombs’ with seasonal fragrances are a great gift!

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Beautiful music by the handbell choir from First Baptist Church of Sevierville.

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I loved so many things by this artist. So much beautiful jewelry by Chris and Summer Webb. Check out their Facebook page.   https://www.facebook.com/organicanvil/   

 

Relay For Life of Sevier County was selling an interesting game called Smoky Mountain-opoly. I think this would be a great gift for Lisa Stone and Cathy Sexton because they love to hike the Smokies. The price is right too!

Volunteers from the Sevierville Senior Center were manning a Make It and Take It tent for natural bird feeders. They gave us a pinecone smothered with peanut butter, then we got to roll it in the big box of bird seed, pictured above. It was fun and I ended up taking two home. I put one on a lower planter last night and ‘something’ carried it away in the night. Wonder what that could have been? Hope it was just a raccoon.

I loved this pallet Christmas tree and considered buying it.

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We didn’t wander far when it was time for lunch. This is Sheley’s absolute favorite lunch spot. They also deliver.

The turkey corn chowder is excellent. Sheley likes the cheeseburger grilled as a panini. It looked fabulous!

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The weather was good and the crowds were fine. Sheley and I enjoyed the morning and vowed to come back next year to Christmas on Bruce Street. It is the most festive way to get out and about in Sevierville…

 

Sevierville Christmas Parade 2017

There was great weather and a good crowd for the 55th annual Sevierville Christmas parade on Saturday. I met Sheley and we were able to catch it from the beginning at our spot across from the courthouse. Follow along to see the highlights!

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We were shopping upstairs at Two Coyotes Studio when I heard a quick emergency vehicle sound so we ran downstairs just in time to see the honor guard open the parade.

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City officials walking the route.

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The parade Grand Marshall this year was Albert Atchley.  The Grand Marshall’s car was followed by some First Responders from the Sevier County wildfires a year ago.

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A four-legged First Responder participates in the Sevierville parade.

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Vintage fire truck with festive trim.

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A highlight for many was the Sevier County High School band. They set the mood for Christmas!

IMG_3848On the left side of this picture, the Dolly statue seems to look on with approval on her former high school band.

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See more pictures of the SCHS band on the blog Facebook page for pictures. Here is the link.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1254469567899261/

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Every parade needs majorettes!

Donna brings them and they shine!

IMG_3874Ober Gatlinburg Snow Creature.

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Catlettsburg school float.

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It looks like fun to ride this float.

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My next favorite thing in a parade: horses.

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There were church floats.

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There were girl scouts.

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There were antique cars.

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There were festive tractors.

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Sophia Conerly drove the car for Relay for Life of Sevier County. Their mission is ‘Save Lives, Celebrate Lives.’

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There were beauty queens.

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And finally, the most anticipated member of the parade—Santa!

If you want to see a fun ‘behind the scenes’ look at the start of the parade from this float’s perspective then follow this link to their Facebook page for a Facebook Live recording. It was fun to watch because I always stay downtown, but didn’t realize how many people are also on the Parkway to view the parade.

The link was long so I created a smaller one below.

        https://tinyurl.com/y8e6be2g

In all, the parade was over in about 47 minutes from our viewing area downtown. You didn’t have to wait a long time and parking was easy downtown.  Great job to everyone who was involved with the production. It was a great morning to be downtown and one of our favorite Saturday morning things to do while out and about in Sevierville. 

See more pictures on the blog Facebook page for pictures. Here is the link.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1254469567899261/

 

This Saturday Welcomes Christmas on Bruce Street 2017!

 

This is going to be the biggest Saturday of the year for downtown Sevierville. Here are some of my recommendations. I’ll use some screenshots to share the info.

‘Make It and Take It’ at the Arts in Common Gallery on Bruce Street

IMG_0010After a coffee at Courthouse Donuts, this would be one of my first stops because it starts at 10:00 a.m. The Make and Take It sessions are fun for all ages. Sit down at a table, relax, and let an artist guide you in a craft that you can take home that day. An hour later, everything starts happening downtown!

Holiday Open House at Two Coyotes Studio on Court Avenue

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You are guaranteed to find a special gift at Two Coyotes Studio. I always find several for myself as well! There will be holiday treats and cheer in the studio with with a ‘crafting table set up for kids of all ages.’

Christmas at KaTom 

Sweets demos by Barbara Tenney

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I don’t know if I can make it to KaTom after the downtown Sevierville parade by 1:00; however, I can always make it next Saturday. The Christmas holiday sweets demos at KaTom are free drop-in events. Come by, try a sample, talk to local cooking celebrity, Barbara Tenney, get the recipe and relax a while. You may find the perfect culinary gift for someone at KaTom. Here is the KaTom info in a screen shot.

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Sevierville Christmas Parade

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The pictures above are from the Christmas parade last year. The parade will leave the First Baptist Church parking lot, then turn onto the northbound lanes of the Forks of the River Parkway, turning right on Main Street, then right on Court Avenue. The best viewing is in front of the courthouse, but everywhere is a good spot. I did not have any trouble finding a parking place either. After the parade, you must go here next!

Christmas on Bruce Street

10:00 – 4:00

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Afterwards, stop and grab lunch at Bistro 109, Mom’s Vintage Kitchen, Healthy Balance, or Courthouse Donuts. So many good things at each place!

After your visit to Christmas on Bruce Street, take a quick trip to a couple of the best kept secrets in town for good deals. These establishments also benefit two deserving organizations: Pets Without Parents and SMARM.  Bloomingtails Boutique is across the parkway from Bruce Street. There is a lot of parking behind the building. You will also get to shop with Maddie the store cat.

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Don’t forget Treasures From the Heart thrift and consignment boutique at 230 Court Avenue. You can truly find some treasures there. Here are some photos from our story /fashion shoot last February. Photos are by DB Photography.

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After going home to rest a while, you may be interested in a wonderful event that evening.  The ‘Singing Christmas Tree’ at First Baptist Church has some of the best singers in the city. I have heard that it is outstanding.

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This promises to be the biggest Saturday of the year downtown and the weather will be splendid. Get there in time to take advantage of everything there. See you out and about in Sevierville on Saturday!

I am dreaming of …a mural in downtown Sevierville.

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I am dreaming of a… mural in downtown Sevierville!

Murals and public art are a great asset to any town or city. DB Photography, some friends and I did a photo shoot a few months ago called “The 10 Most Instagrammable Spots in Downtown Sevierville” and we talked about the popularity of murals in pictures for social media. Here is a link to that story if you missed it:

https://outandaboutinsevierville.com/2017/10/08/the-most-instagram-worthy-spots-in-downtown-sevierville/

Why would a mural be good for our town? Here are some reasons. 

  1. Large scale art like murals give a special vitality to a downtown area. 

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This is the “What Lifts You” mural by Kelsey Montague in the Gulch neighborhood of Nashville. It incorporates drawings in the wings that are uniquely Nashville and country music. (Can you find the guitars and cowboy hats in the picture.)

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This is the line of people waiting to take a picture with the mural. A phenomenon about this piece of art? Every single person looks good in their picture. Check Instagram and do a search with “What Lifts You” to see what I mean. It is special. There are lot of restaurants in this area so it draws a crowd and helps boost their economy.

2. Large scale public art is accessible to anyone. You do not have to go into a museum or building to access it. You can just walk up to it on the street. DB Photography owner, Danyelle Bledsoe, states that we can enjoy the art as just a simple passer by.

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3.  The appeal is multi-generational

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4. Certain kinds of murals and large scale art add a ‘cool’ aspect to photos to post on social media. If you want to draw young people to your area then this will do it. The photo below has been a profile picture on Instagram.

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5. Foot traffic = a boost to the economy in that area. We had dinner at a local restaurant and then walked to this area after dinner to take pictures. It was our secondary destination.

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6.  Murals turn big walls into amazing canvases.

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7. Murals and large scale art make wonderful backgrounds for family memories.  (Photo by DB Photography).

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8.  Murals and large scale art bring attention to a building or structure. An ordinary parking garage suddenly becomes enchanting.

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9.  Murals and public art give photographers and models great backdrops for photos—which, in turn, gives more publicity to that spot in a city. This is a fabulous Senior picture for a local student taken in Knoxville because there are no places like this yet in Sevierville. (Photo by DB Photography).

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(Photo credit from Instagram.)

10. Murals and large scale art give important work to artists. Furthermore, they can  leave a positive, lasting impact on that area.

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(Photos by DB Photography).

11.  Murals add a special interest visually to an area. Danyelle Bledsoe of DB Photography says that large scale art and murals “lend to motion and movement. They offer a variety of focal points in an image.”

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(Photo by DB Photography).

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The image above yields different results every time. It is an outstanding piece of public art.

12.  DB Photography owner, Danyelle Bledsoe, says that murals allow us to combine art forms of both paint and photography—all in one place. 

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(Photo by DB Photography.)

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13.  There is both beauty and power in public art. It gives special character to an ordinary wall. It makes you want to go there and spend time around there.

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14. Murals and public art can add atmosphere to celebrations. Happy graduation, Class of 2017. We had a party of 12 for this event so the restaurant benefitted greatly by having these murals easily accessible to our group and by us choosing to celebrate there.

 

 

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(Photo from Instagram.)

15. Murals can be decorative, make a statement, or mark an important event. The mural above pays homage to the musical history of Knoxville. It can be found on South Gay Street. IMG_1086 2

I like the statement made by this artist and mural found in Greenwich Village, New York.

Where would be a good place for a mural in downtown Sevierville? 

 

While wandering downtown for the photo shoot, we came across the perfect place for a mural. It is the wall pictured in the first photo in this story. It is across the street from the drive- thru of the old Sevier County Bank location, just off of Court Avenue. We looked at this wall and thought it would be a perfect place for a mural or public art.

Advantages?  This wall is visible from the street, but not completely. There is a parking lot across the street and it is only yards away from the Dolly Parton Statue—the most popular place downtown. It is neutral color and a canvas just waiting for a large scale painting. There are three restaurants, two art studios, and two barbershops within a block of this location. They would all benefit from more foot traffic and visitors downtown.

Here is the picture again.

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What would a mural look like there?

With a little imagination, DB Photography gives us some fun ideas to begin with. IMG_3713

Would it look like this?

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Or this?

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Or this?

Or maybe something completely different. Mountains, native plants, wildlife, or something that captures the great spirit in this area. Whatever the focus, it would surely be decided by the city of Sevierville, with input by the Sevierville Commons Association and the Sevierville Commons Arts Council. But whatever the mural turned out to be, it would surely be special to this area.

With that being said…we are dreaming of a mural in downtown Sevierville! 

SCHS Foundation 5K : Smoky Bear Turkey Chase 2017

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It was my second year to run the Sevier County High School ‘Smoky Bear Turkey Chase’ on Thanksgiving morning. This is a great way to get moving or get a workout in before the main event—a fabulous holiday lunch. It also funds a STEM scholarship for a student at the high school. Here is how it went this year…

The picture above shows Smoky and student volunteers staying warm in the 37 degree morning temps. Brrrrrrrrr….!

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A wild turkey helped me to find the designated parking area.

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More student volunteers held signs of humorous encouragement.

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I registered online through Eventbrite so I breezed through the pre-registration line. Nancy Trundle Hewitt, Executive Director of the SCHS Foundation, greeted me at the table. Student and alumni helped us with bibs and runners swag. Many, many thanks to all that they did to carry out this race.

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I was happy to meet this visitor from Alabama. It was her first time to do this 5K. She does half-marathons so the Turkey Chase was good training during the holiday. She found the race through this blog so I was thrilled to hear that news!

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Veteran runners, Kristi Sims Atchley and Julie Nave support the SCHS Foundation 5K race. Kristi definitely had the holiday spirit and best headwear.

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Terra Blalock Bice and sons prepare to run!

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My friends, Kathy Helton and Heidi Ludwig. This was Heidi’s first 5K race. She rocked it!

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SCHS alumni, Nathan and Valerie Mills run a good race, then spend the day with family in Sevier County.

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People are (mostly) bundled up before the race. Temps were in the upper 30s at start time.

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Student volunteers stand on the course and help runners during the race. The signs always make you smile!

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This is a wonderful activity for families. This father and son are ready to run.

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I like the roll call of participant ‘states’ to see where people were from. The guy from Florida walked by and yelled, “it is too cold!”

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A SCHS Choir member sang the National Anthem. Bravo!

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Racing runs in the family.

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A family from Seymour with relatives from Ohio and Oklahoma.

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SCHS alumni racers: Andrew Newton and Kacee Dixson. They graduated in the Class of 2011.

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City of Sevierville officials race too!

IMG_3637This lady races in half and full marathons and loves the Disney races. Today was good conditioning and training for her upcoming race through the Magic Kingdom.

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It was good to see sponsor signs along the course. Many thanks to them for their sponsorship.

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Jaclyn Kile prepares to cross the finish line.

You really, really, really enjoy a doughnut after the race.

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Victory!

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Having fun before the winners are announced.

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Student volunteers are integral to the success of this event. Good job!

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These students helped with water, concessions, standing on the course, and more. Thank you for your help today!

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This was the sweetest brown dog. He/she didn’t run today, but did root us on!

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There was a delay with scores so I had to leave before the winners were announced. The cold was a factor for the race in other ways too. My fully charged IPod lost power before I even finished my race. I had to run the last lap in quiet instead of listening to my finishing tune. A friend’s phone stopped working too so we suspect the cold played a part in that. Nevertheless, weather makes races interesting so we will see what it holds next year.

This is a great way to exercise while getting out and about in Sevierville. Save me a place in the back of the starting line and see you in 2018!

 

 

 

Candy Canes and Cocktails 2017 : A Benefit for the Boys and Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains

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We enjoyed this event so much last year that it was unthinkable to miss it. Candy Canes and Cocktails is a preview party before the opening of Gatlinburg’s Festival of Trees. Proceeds support a great cause, the Boys and Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains. Attendees can buy a ticket online and attend between 6:00-9:00 p.m. You may enjoy holiday hors d’oeuvres and signature cocktails. In addition, there are silent auction items and holiday adornments for purchase: wreaths, decorated trees, swags, etc.

I had not intended to take many pictures— just to enjoy the evening with my friends; however, I will share a few photos from last night. Put on your jingle bells and follow along…

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We parked across the street on a surface lot that was very convenient to the event. The Gatlinburg Space Needle never disappoints for a dramatic night time picture.

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Everyone started getting into the spirit of things after seeing beautiful things on display.

Randolph made a festive nog with a caramel surprise

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Do you recognize this from your childhood? Love this tree.

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The highest approval rating possible for Christmas cookies.

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The Rel Maples Institute at Walters State made some nice cookies that you can’t find just anywhere. Love the candy canes cookies!

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This would be a good one for Pastor Charlie, Kathryn, Suzanne and Andy…and more.

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Selfie stations are always a lot of fun and this one had a lot of good props. Also, there was a nice volunteer taking pictures so you didn’t have grab anyone to do that.

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There are a variety of spots that you can do your own holiday photo shoot. This life size Santa is quite striking.

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Someone made the highest bid for a very comfortable auction item!

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It is fun to see Sevierville friends at the event while supporting the Boys and Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains. Pictured here are Lessie Koopman, owner of 3D Dance and Fitness, with Les Center.

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Les Center and Chuck Ottolini chatting about fitness and the holidays.

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These people have worked all year on the Candy Canes and Cocktails event. Thank you for such an enjoyable evening!

 

 

Art Happening: November, 2017

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There was another great Art Happening in downtown Sevierville last Thursday evening. This event presented the work of  Dasha Jamison. Lights shining from within Courthouse Donuts served as a beacon as I arrived after dark for the event. Come along and see the work of this special artist.

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Art Happenings take place from 5:30-8:00 p.m. and are free to attendees. These events are sponsored by the Sevierville Commons Arts Council and the Sevierville Commons Association. I missed the first half of the event because of an 11 hour day at work; however, I was able to catch the last part of the evening and to hear Dasha address the gathering.

The Sevier County Courthouse is reflected in the windows in Courthouse Donuts. Several pieces of  Dasha’s art are featured in the front window.

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Irina Vibly, Dasha Jamison, and Trista Bentley attending the November Art Happening.

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I love this work. The brush strokes make me feel the ocean breeze rolling off the ocean.

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Title of the previous work references a trip to Hawaii. I would like to be there!

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Jeff Earle serves guests with wine from a boutique winery in Napa. The owners are friends of Earle and Dasha. It was divine!

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This a small, boutique winery in Napa. If you like reds then it will please you.

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Olga Loveday and Camille Barton Spires attending the Art Happening for Dasha Jamison.

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I was lucky to arrive in time to hear Dasha address the gathering for the Art Happening. Dasha is originally from Russia and has taken art classes since childhood. Her mother encouraged her to explore this talent and passion. I admired the paintings and drawings that covered the walls.

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High five for the November Art Happening!

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Dasha Jamison, featured artist for the Art Happening, has attended classes with instructor, Camille Barton Spires, pictured left. Camille owns Art Studio of the Smokies in Gatlinburg.  Camille said that Dasha attended the first Art Happening in June 2016. At that time, a couple of her ‘exploratory’ pieces of art were displayed in the windows of Courthouse Donuts. Camille said,” Tonight, her artwork covered the interior walls with her very own show! Dasha is not only talented, but driven with inspiration to succeed.”

I love the vivid, bold colors in Dasha’s work.

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These two may be my favorites. However, I love the beach scenes too.

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Sevierville Commons Arts Council board members with featured artist, Dasha Jamison. Pictured left to right are: Jill Greene, Dasha Jamison, Crystal Lynn Sharp, and Laurel Kiewitt.

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Love this picture and the beautiful chalk pieces.

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Who wouldn’t want to be here? I can almost hear the waves.

I enjoyed the music of Andy Springfield, a musician with the Kingdom Heirs. My sisters and best friend will tell you that I love this tune! He played it without being asked. Loved it!

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It was time to go home so I exited Courthouse Donuts and took a last look at this nice sign. Make sure you come to an Art Happening some time! It is one of my favorite ways to get out and about in Sevierville.

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View of the courthouse on the way to my car.

United Way Presents Sevierville Progressive Dinner, November 2017

I have always wanted to attend a ‘progressive dinner’ and finally got a chance  last Thursday evening at a event presented by the United Way. The United Way of Sevier County continues to consistently provide innovative and enjoyable events while serving the community. Here is a recap of that enjoyable evening.

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Bruce Street was closed to traffic so we just walked up through the center of town. There, we found several booths set up with items to sample.

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Merchants of Beer in Knoxville had a selection of cigars to peruse. Notice the nice silver plated ash tray on on the right side of the table.

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The Sevierville Casual Pint brought a sample of the New Belgium Accumulation White IPA.

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I like this picture of the Old Forge barrel lid on display with the barbershop in the background. It was the last customer of the day in the barbershop.

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I loved the fire pit in the middle of Bruce Street. Not only was it beautiful, but the warmth was a nice amenity a couple of hours later. Notice the white tent with tables set up for the main course of the progressive dinner to be served later in the evening.

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United Way Board member, Elise Collier-Massey, preparing for the event with her husband Beau Massey.

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Dustin Manning, owner of Bistro 109, chatting with Leesa and Jim McGill.

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Sierra Williams and Elise Collier-Massey ready to greet guests.

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The check in table was located by the gazebo. It was quick and efficient so we breezed right into the starting point for the progressive dinner.

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United Way Board member, Vonda Cash, with Sophia Conerly, a Sevierville Commons board member.

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Cheri and Al Schmutzer ready for the evening. They were also celebrating an anniversary. Congratulations to them!

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This handout explains the procedures for the evening. People just voluntarily divided into two groups and it went quite smoothly.

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Appetizers from Bistro 109 were perfect! These kabobs were healthy and easy to handle during the cocktail hour.

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You become proud when one of your former students goes to the Tennessee House of Representatives. This is Tennessee State Representative Andy Farmer.

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Mike Comer, United Way Vice Chair, thanks attendees and explains the procedures for the evening. Board member, Austin Williams, is pictured behind him.

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Sophia and I made our first stop at the Arts in Common Gallery for a salad by Healthy Balance. The strawberry and spinach salad was so fresh and was a great first course in the progressive dinner. Please notice the beautiful, old brick wall. I love the seasonal decor as well.

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Local artist, Andrea Wilson, (pictured in tan sweater, center) was giving a tour of the Arts in Common Gallery to United Way supporters. The back wall contains the original brick and windows. It will be fun to see how the Sevier Commons Arts Council uses this new creative space in the years to come.

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If I didn’t have a chihuahua then I would definitely have a Pomeranian. There could not be a sweeter little dog than this one. Sweet Annie!

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Next stop was Mom’s Vintage Kitchen down the street. This was the best pumpkin soup that I have ever had in my life. I actually walked into the restaurant today to see if they had more. It had little’ heat’ to it so it was really a foodie delight. As you can see, I was talking a lot and didn’t finish my first course so I just carried it with me to Mom’s. I love this restaurant!

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Emily Whaley also enjoys the soup at our second stop on the progressive dinner.

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We finished the soup course then proceeded outside to the tent. It was an elegant presentation on Bruce Street for the evening.

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With the Sevier County courthouse in the background, Kirk Fleta prepares to perform. Mike Comer makes announcements with Amy Harper, Executive Director of the United Way.

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I have heard of Kirk Fleta and finally to got to hear him in person. Find him on Facebook and Youtube. Here is a link       https://www.facebook.com/kirk.fleta

http://www.KirkFleta.com        www.FletaFest.com

Here is a video clip of Kirk Fleta singing the first song of the evening, by James Taylor.

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Montay Calloway, branch manager at U.S. Bank, chats by the fire pit with a fellow supporter of the United Way of Sevier County.

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Mixologists from Old Forge Distillery are always friendly and ready to serve.

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We were ready for dinner under the big, white tent. Buffet style was quick and efficient. Please notice the pumpernickel bread from Mom’s Vintage Kitchen in the basket in front of Sophia. It is gluten free and the best in the world. I promise!

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Restaurateurs Dustin Manning and Christie Champ standing by with their wonderful creations. Pass me another slice of pumpernickel bread, please!

The meal went too quickly! We could have stayed under the white tent for another hour, but it was time to move on to the dessert course at Courthouse Donuts.

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Sara greeted us with dessert course. Sara was our model last month in the “Most Instagram Worthy Spots in Downtown Sevierville.” Here is a link to that blog story

https://outandaboutinsevierville.com/?s=Most+Instagram+Worthy

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A sweet tooth will love the Cherry Crumble cake from Courthouse Donuts.

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Lauren Chesney from King University and another supporter of the United Way of Sevier County.

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The final course and great conversation in Courthouse Donuts for the final course of the progressive dinner presented by the United Way of Sevier County. Pictured are Joe Cagley, Clancy Optical; Chris Massie, Titanic; Beau Massey, and a supporter of the United Way of Sevier County.

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Also enjoying the United Way Progressive Dinner are Danielle King, Mariah Farmer, and Rachelle Shults.

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I heard several people remark that an additional benefit of the United Way Progressive Dinner was the chance to talk, connect, and network with people that you rarely get a chance to see and spend time with. Conversation and networking is what is happening in this picture during the dessert course at Courthouse Donuts. We enjoyed it so much!

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Alas, all good fun must come to an end for I had an early call at work the next morning.  I slipped out of Courthouse Donuts and took one last look at the United Way Progressive Dinner through the windows. It was one of the most innovative events that I have attended anywhere. Easy, relaxed, and completely enjoyable. Everything was close and convenient. Bruce street and the businesses there lend themselves easily to a variety of events. This one utilized everything beautifully. I wouldn’t change a thing and can’t wait until next year.

The United Way Progressive Dinner is one of my favorite ways to spend time out and about in Sevierville. 

See you at the gazebo!

Top 10 Reasons to Run the Smoky Bear Turkey Chase 5K

It is November so it is time to consider running in the SCHS Smoky Bear Turkey Chase 5K. I ran it last year and can’t wait to do it again. Here are my top 10 reasons why you should consider this 5K race in our own backyard. I’ll use some pictures from last year to illustrate some points.

  1. It is fun! It is laid back and relaxed as you will ever find a 5K. Show up and run by yourself. You will still have a blast.

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2.   Proceeds support the SCHS STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Scholarship.

3.   You will meet nice people. There will be families that are both local and visitors for the holiday weekend.

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4.   Race conditions are very comfortable. If it is like last year, the race is mostly on a flat surface. You will not be far from shelter or a bathroom. That is important to some of us!

5. You can walk or run the 5K. Do it at your own pace.

6. You may find yourself running alongside local dignitaries and celebrities too. At the starting line, I found myself standing by Judge Gary Wade and Coppley Vickers. You will probably see Coach B and Kristi Atchley at the race.

7.   You have a decent chance of winning an award. If you are over 40 then you have a very good chance of winning an award. If you are over 50 then you have an outstanding chance of winning an award! Last year, there were 3 awards in every age division. I actually won in my age group!

8.   You will probably laugh several times. Student encouragers will use humor to keep you moving.

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9.  You may get to meet someone famous. Last year, we met a famous Spartan racer.

Jamie McCart ran the race and won in his age group. Train hard, guys! He had an interesting story last year. Click this link to see his story on my blog last year.

https://outandaboutinsevierville.com/2016/11/28/part-2-the-best-thanksgiving-5-k-in-tennessee-the-smoky-bear-turkey-chase-2016/

10.   You can be in and out in an hour and a half. Go home and eat Thanksgiving dinner with little guilt.

Bonus: You will have the best afternoon nap ever.

Want to sign up? You can find them on Facebook. Here is a link. https://www.facebook.com/SCHS-Foundation-5k-1467641556852735/

This is the best little 5K race in Tennessee on Thanksgiving Day. Come run with us!

It is a fun, healthy way to get out and about in Sevierville.