Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass 2019

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This is the premier event for downtown Sevierville—and 2019 didn’t disappoint. There were crowds, great food, music, and a few storms. However, it looked bigger and better than last year. I am ‘limited’ when it comes to heat and crowds so I didn’t linger, but I did manage two quick visits and a few photos.

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I parked near Sevier County Bank and walked in the back way. In doing so, I passed several trailers that housed the cooking competitors. The signs and slogans were fun to view. Here are a few examples in collages.

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This is a local competitor based in Gatlinburg. It is family owned and operated. Must visit this summer!

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Another well known local competitor.

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My other interest was the chalk art that would be happening on Bruce Street.

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I saw competitors carrying covered dishes to a secret location on Bruce Street.

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There was tight security for the competition. Would love to be a judge for that!

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There were all kinds of gift ideas.

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I really appreciated the Bush Beans company for the freebies. There were working hard both days handing out free individual servings of baked beans—perfect for barbecue.

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The company even let you take a photo with their mascot, Duke. What a good dog!

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Local businesses, like Courthouse Donuts, were open for extended hours during the event.

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There were several vendors, but this one has the largest sign and draws the longest lines.

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I got a brisket combo to go. It will last all weekend. So good! I will go back to them next year.

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That looks like enough sauce.

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Tents lined Court Avenue. I thought that all the vendors had good things to offer.

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Non-stop entertainment on the Bush stage.

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The Sevier County Courthouse had a crowd and non-stop entertainment as well.

IMG_5737 2A tip for next year: there was nice shade on the sidewalk across from the courthouse on Court Avenue. This would be a nice break or meet-up area out of the sun. If the dining tent were crowded then I spied a few shady steps here on which to sit.

Sorry that I didn’t get any people pictures—I am just not good in heat and crowds! However, these photos will give visitors a glimpse of what to enjoy next year. It is one of the best ways to be out and about in Sevierville. 

 

Gas Station Coffee Truck

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It was like a birthday…like Christmas…like a dream come true. We had a coffee truck at work this morning! It was absolutely amazing too!

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After a week of wonderful things, our PTO arranged for a coffee truck to come for a couple of hours this morning. This was a week never to be forgotten. I looked forward to the coffee truck for days!

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This special coffee truck company is called Gas Station Coffee. It had fantastic hot and iced coffees. Unbelievably good!

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Joy in a cup!

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My friends waiting for their orders. We were all so happy for this treat and it showed on our faces.

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Absolutely true!

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This was Wendy’s Frozen White Chocolate Mocha. Oh my!

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Starting the day in an amazing way! Wendy and Ursula ordered wonderful coffee concoctions!

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I will order a White Chocolate Mocha next time!

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Kayla’s frozen concoction was the Frozen Chocolate Horse. I heard it was a favorite!

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Cory recommends the Iced White Chocolate Mocha. Divine!

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Teresa was ready to take on the day with her order. They all were excellent!

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I am going to post this picture again for another incredible fact—the owners designed and built this truck themselves. I could not help but touch and admire the beautiful touches on the vehicle. Not only do they create amazing coffees, but they built this food truck. Unbelievable!

Gas Station Food Truck mainly attends fairs and festivals so keep up with their whereabouts on their Facebook page. Here is a link:

https://www.facebook.com/alittlecoffeetn/

They can also be found on Instagram at A Little Coffee TN .

I like to discover and promote small businesses. This one really rocked our day!

 

 

Hoops For Heroes 2019

 

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It was for the pride. It was for the honor. It was for Relay For Life.

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It was the second year that Sevier County First Responders came together to help the SCHS club support Relay For Life of Sevier County.

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I found a safe parking space.

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Fire trucks at the ready.

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The admission price was a great deal for there was a lot of action to see this year.

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We arrived before the games began. Teams were warming up in preparation for their 8 minute battle for basketball dominance.

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Team captains were called to the front to get instructions. Beth Ownby was orchestrating the event and sharing information.

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Michael Maddron, Ben Brabson, and Bryan McCarter were preparing to put the 2nd Annual Hoops For Heroes event into motion.

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There were 5 teams last year and 13 teams this year. It was a crowded floor—which was great for the competition—and for the onlookers. Nonstop action.

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Next, it was time for the players to pose for a quick team photo. The Sevier County Fire Dept, Sevier County Sheriff’s Department, Sevierville Police, and Gatlinburg Police Departments were in good spirits and ready to play.

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More teams are ready to play.

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Sevier County’s finest were ready for the epic battle and the 2019 trophy.

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More teams meant a larger crowd this year—and a very successful event! Honestly, it kinds of looked like a Smoky Bears basketball game.

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Other Relay For Life Teams were present to support the event.

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Teams were introduced in the link above. It is a small moment that I captured on video.

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Play commenced and each team worked hard to advance to the finals.

 

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In the link above, Jamie Roberts scores for the Sevierville Police Department.

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I thought that the concessions were very reasonable and and there was a nice variety. Where can you buy a water for $1?

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This team was fierce!

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This photo composite rests on the wall across from the ladies room. For some reason, I always like looking at it when I pass it by in the hallway.

The 2019 Hoops for Heroes event was a success in many ways. More than double the teams participated this year; consequently, the crowd was larger and the donation was even greater.

I could see that this event is due to the efforts of many people. Thanks to the SCHS Relay For Life members and the sponsors, Ben Brabson and Leslie Mattern. Thanks to Michael Maddron and all the heroes who came to do battle on the basketball court. Thanks go to Bryan McCarter for announcing the games and adding his entertaining commentary. Thanks to Rebecca Cowan, the 2019 Chairperson for Relay For Life in Sevier County and the organization itself for their efforts to fight cancer and give patients resources that they  need for a better life.

I saw several photographers working the event so I sat back and enjoyed the games. As a result, this story is not very long, but I am sharing the link below so you can see all the photos that were uploaded to the Relay For Life Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1103354659867411/1120643591471851/?notif_t=admin_plan_mall_activity&notif_id=1555604285565775

This is a wonderful way for families to get out and about in Sevierville, enjoy sports, and support a noble cause. Save me a seat in the bleachers next year!

Art Happening Featuring David Freeman , April, 2019

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There was a nice warm breeze as I wandered across Bruce Street to see the April 2019 Art Happening at the Arts In Common Gallery. The Sevierville Commons Arts Council had announced a presentation featuring local artist, David Freeman. I had seen his work before and had read a recent news article about him that was interesting so I knew that this would be a particularly interesting event.

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Featured artist, David Freeman, and Lee Murray. Interestingly, Lee is the subject of the portrait which is displayed behind them in the photo. You have to see it closer to appreciate the colors and light in the painting.

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Freeman is clearly a talented portraitist. The portrait to the left is the artist’s mother.

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These events are sure to have other artists in attendance. Aiden, Chuck, and Levi Ottolini enjoyed the April Art Happening. Chuck is a well known local artist in Sevierville. He is known for stained glass that has beautified many a church window in East Tennessee. Ottolini has also created some amazing things for local businesses. Go to Sevier Distilling Company and see the beautiful things in the tasting room.

IMG_4770Katie and Austin Williams came by to visit with a couple of very special guests!

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The music was quite relaxing and lent a nice ambiance to the event. Local musician, Tony Negrðn, plays many genres of music and makes the event feel so comfortable. His specialty is Smoky Mountain Delta Blues.

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David Freeman uses pastels, acrylic oils, and water colors in his art. A Cocke County native, Freeman is naturally inspired by the scenery and beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.

IMG_4775Freeman grew up in Cocke County and attended Cocke County High School. He took classes in college and ended up majoring in art at ETSU.

 

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Freeman worked as a graphic artist for a while, then started doing pastels, pet portraits, and portraits in general.

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The table held beautiful displays.

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Refreshment was perfectly tailored for the event and for those who enjoy a treat after work. The cheesecake bites were perfect!

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Lee Murray created a beautiful table and delightful hors d’oeuvres. It was lovely.

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It is not near Christmast time, but I was really wanting this figurine!

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During the program, Freeman addressed the attendees and told about his path to being the artist that he is today. Most interesting, he told about creating a portrait of Christ during a church or revival service. It took him only 15 minutes and the final painting stood over 6 feet tall.

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Freeman has been painting large scale murals. This is a plan for one that will soon begin in Jefferson County, off of exit 417. He unrolled a template so that we could see what he was describing. Freeman has already painted a mural in Gatlinburg at the Blue Green Mountain Loft Resort. That mural is 12 feet tall and over 90 feet long. A must see!

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I was especially happy to run into an old friend at the event, Jack Maples, pictured right. David Freeman was the winner of a $1,000 prize in a widely publicized mural contest last year for Maples Motor Inn. The other local finalists were award winning artists Shannon Kelly and Mark Smothers. Jack Maples has commissioned a mural to be painted on the back of his motel, which faces LeConte Center. They are waiting for the city of Pigeon Forge to approve a new ordinance to allow it. I can’t wait to see this mural some day!
My friends know that I love murals and finding them in our travels. I have not known exactly how to explain this love of murals until I heard Freeman talk about it at the Art Happening last week. He said that he likes murals “because you feel like you stepped right into a painting.” Bingo! That explains why I love them so much.

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During the event, I chatted with several other artists. One artist creates figurative sculptures. This one is called What’s Up, Cupcake? These are amazing art dolls for collectiions.

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Here is her contact info. You can see three more of her figurative sculptures at the Arts in Common Gallery on Bruce Street.

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I admired these delicate creations by Emily Kelly Ede. Each was light as a feather and lovely. The prices are very good as well.

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She has more jewelry on display at the Arts in Common Gallery. These earrings are available in the gallery.

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It was soon time for me to go so I bid farewell to the artist and the attendees. Here are two of the Art Happening attendees and fans of David Freeman’s work. I love all the colors in this photo!

David Freeman is an outstanding local artist and I am excited to see the new murals that he will be creating, both in Pigeon Forge and in Jefferson County. This Art Happening allowed me to learn more about the artist and his work, especially in my favorite genre: murals.

Sadly, the Arts in Common Gallery may be closing in July because grants will soon be finished and they are not sure about the future. That means that you will have at least two more opportunities to visit an Art Happening in the Bruce Street gallery before anything changes. I encourage you to come spend a little time in their gallery. It is such a lovely place for visiting, relaxing, or their many ‘Make IT and Take It’ sessions. Even more, it enriches our community.

Art Happenings are one of the best ways to enjoy getting out and about in Sevierville. 

United Way of Sevier County Presents Night at the Derby 2019

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It was a perfect April evening as people walked the red carpet to enter the United Way’s fifth annual Night at the Derby event held at Walters State Community College. Excitement was in the air as we anticipated food, beverages, races, prizes, seeing friends, and fun. Even more, supporters showed up in their finery to support one of the hardest working organizations in Sevier County due to the fact that it supports 17 agencies in our area. Come along and see these supporters, fabulous derby fashions, food, and entertainment. Welcome to Night at the Derby 2019!

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I arrived a few minutes before 6:00 so I could take pictures before it got busy.

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You couldn’t ask for a better greeting!

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After checking in, the first stop was the Kapture booth with a custom photo made to commemorate the event. This is included in the ticket price and a really nice memento of the evening.

A regular photo booth is old news—this is new technology and the perfect event souvenir. Veronica Watson Walter utilizes a ‘green screen’ and you choose custom backdrop Veronica creates for the event. Just a lot of fun!

 

 

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Executive Director of the United Way of Sevier County, Amy Harper, greets attendees with Maggie Atchley, a Derby event committee member and, according to Amy Harper,  “an asset to the team.”

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I slipped into the main room to see the beautiful tables. The centerpieces were created by Dustin Manning, owner of D. Garden in downtown Sevierville. Fabulous tulip arrangements!

IMG_4815 Bryan McCarter, Vice Mayor of Sevierville, served as Master of Ceremonies for the event. He is pictured with his wife, Anna White McCarter. I have attended ballgames and other events in which Bryan has led the commentary. It is fast paced and humorous. He has generated many, many a chuckle from me and my friends so I knew that the night was in good hands.

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Ladies were dressed in their Derby finery! From left to right: Sonya Brackins, Paula King, Jodi Ramsey, Pam Ithli, and Amy Harper.

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Of course, Mint Juleps are always the the signature cocktail of the Kentucky Derby.

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Old Forge Distillery was set up and ready to serve attendees with refreshments. Do you notice what is on the far left side of the table? Those wonderful specialty chocolates!

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This decor is lovely! Run for the roses!

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Janet Barnes and Harriet Berrier were present and ready to support the United Way. Hats were from Sassafras, in the Old Mill complex in Pigeon Forge.

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Ready for service. Shaken, not stirred!

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United Way of Sevier County Derby volunteers, Delinda Summers and Jessica Popek, are with Senior Citizens Home Assistance.

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Brandy and Ashley Burnette were ready at the funny money payout table. They are veterans for the event and ready to go.

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Bob and Becky York, from the Sevierville Civic Center, were ready for a busy evening.

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Jane Howes, from the Civic Center, also volunteered for the event.

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Donna Huffaker and Bobby Vann support the United Way of Sevier County. Donna just competed in “Dancing With the Stars” to support the organization.

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It was wonderful seeing Melanie Webb and Kelly DeBord. I believe that Kelly is the ♥♥ of Sevierville.

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People in Derby attire continued to enter the event from the red carpet.

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Surely, Hunter and Jessica McIntosh must have been contenders for the best dressed couple.

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It was easy to find Derby fashions everywhere. United Way supporters pictured left to right were Hayley, Ashley, Reed, Dustin, Thomas, and Amber.

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Margit and Earl Worsham were enjoying the evening. They are always strong supporters of the United Way and it is truly a pleasure to talk with them.

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Allison Rosenberg, Grant Rosenberg, Kelly and Dana Headden attending the Night at the Derby. I love Dana’s cabi Primrose dress from the cabi Spring ’19 collection.

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Larry Waters, Mayor of Sevier County, enjoys a conversation with Dr. Bozeman.

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A table of Derby fashionistas enjoying the evening.

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There were so many beautiful hats and dresses at Night at the Derby!

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Emily Whaley is pictured left, with Amy Harper, Executive Director of the United Way of Sevier County. Emily Whaley is clearly a driving force that makes Night at the Derby so successful. Amy Harper said, “Emily has co-chaired this great event for five years with Allen Newton, both board members of the organization. They have given their time, talents, and leadership  in making Night at the Derby a huge success for the United Way! ( I admired Emily’s cabi Untamed Dress from the spring ’19 collection. )

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It was soon ‘off to the races!’ Things started to get busy at the tables.

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Mike Comer and Marcie Shrandt were ready for the ‘run for the roses.’ In addition, Mike was a contestant in the recent Dancing With the Stars fundraiser for the United Way.

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Jeremy LaDuke and Pinkie Mistry were dressed for Derby fun.

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Mark Ross, Chief Professional Officer of Boys and Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains, chats with Michael Maddron, County Commisioner for the 5th District of Sevierville.

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John Matthews and Derby fashionistas supporting the United Way.

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Josh Chambers and Keener Shanton had a chat and enjoyed the evening.

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The special moonshine filled chocolates by Old Forge Distillery were shaped like jockey caps  this year. Loved them! They were probably my favorite thing.

When things slowed down, I went back to the Kapture photo area to talk to Veronica. I have known her for a while and was excited to hear more about this amazing, modern ‘photo booth’ that she has created to use at events.

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Veronica showed me how it works and I was amazed. What you see in the photo above works kind of like a giant IPad. She is a graphic artist so you have an unbelieveable choice of backgrounds for your special photo. And, yes, she used to be a model!

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It was so nice to run into Joel Brannon and Heather Freshko. I last saw Joel at a SCHS Turkey Chase 5K race. Heather owns the new Mountain Zen Yoga Studio on Bruce Street downtown. Soon, I will try to attend one of her classes on Tuesday or Thursday evening at 6:30. The ‘Rest and Restore’ class is just what I will need this spring.

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Carol and John Linsenbigler enjoyed the Derby event. She is a teacher and he is chief of the Seymour Volunteer Fire Department.

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United Way supporters from Seymour also included Elaina Delozier, Mark Dixon, Shannon Dixon, and Austin Dixon.

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I checked on the festivities and saw that Bryan McCarter was quite busy and doing a great job. I think that he should be the ‘Voice of the Vols’ some day. Don’t you?

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These United Way supporters from the Helen Ross McNabb Center are tres chic!

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You can eat healthily at these events. We are always glad to see Healthy Balance—it is always good!

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I was impressed with the offerings by Wilderness at the Smokies. Wonderful offerings!

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The Gatlinburg Convention Center was not to be outdone with desserts and roses for the ladies. Smoky Mountain Foodie chose the  Margarita Mousse was her favorite dessert. This booth was very special, from decorations, roses, desserts, to the award winning chili. They won the 2018 Gatlinburg Chili Cookoff.

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You would have liked the Hot Pimento Cheese and Crab Dip by Muligans at the Sevierville Golf Course. I wish that I had some right now.

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I was excited to see Brick and Spoon at the Derby event because I follow them on Facebook and love looking at their foodie pictures. They had macaroni mixed with shrimp,  three cheeses and a truffle sauce. The jar shows a drink that they have on hand for breakfast and brunches: infused vodka.

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Courthouse Donuts is always a local foodie favorite. Little did people know, but the table was manned by a member of the award winning wrestling team from Pigeon Forge that competed at the state level this year. A star athlete was in our midst.

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Without a doubt, there was a nice variety of food and beverages—more than I could try.

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It was time for me to go so I took one last look at the races and action—all in fun to benefit the United Way of Sevier County. This will help them support over 17 agencies in our area. They deserve all the support that we can provide them.

I really enjoyed the Night at the Derby event. It was a pleasure to see the fashions and friends. Food and beverages were outstanding. All in all, those things plus the entertainment and prizes were well worth the admission price. In my opinion, it is the best event of the year in Sevierville.

Hope to see you next year at the Derby finish line while out and about in Sevierville. 

Pick Your Own Flowers at Rivers and Roots in Sevierville

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A new page popped up on Facebook this week and I was intrigued. There is a new ‘pick your own flowers’ place on the river, just off Robert Henderson Road. I talked three friends into going with me today and we discovered the most charming little place on the  river.  Put on your garden shoes and come along with us to Rivers and Roots in Sevierville.

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I went onto the Rivers and Roots Facebook page to find a map and hours. The navegation starts at National Fitness Center because that is where I was when I thought to look it up online.  I had never noticed this road along the river before. Turn right before the bridge.  https://www.facebook.com/riversandroots/  

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It was fun to explore to little River Road!

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Keep driving down River Road until you see this sign. Park in a dry area and walk on the wood chips avenue to the flowers. Or you could drive on the woods chips up to the main area.

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We were met by the owners, Sydney and Titus. They welcomed us and explained how things work. It has only been open 2 days!

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Prices are really good and you can cut a lot to fit a small bucket. My friends got to work while I took pictures. We all love flowers so excitement was in the air!

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We started outside the greenhouse because the flowers were beckoning us.

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Janice looks beautiful amidst the daffodils.

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Anita stands by the greenhouse area for the flowers. I need to find out what that is called!

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It was just too beautiful for words!

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It was a feast for the eyes under the canopy.

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Music was playing from the small building. As I was standing there, a song resonated with me and that exact moment. Good one! Click the link for a live shot—and to hear the song. My new favorite song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7rO6MDicvM&list=UUZ6cmtdU5I9jm7TPRaqgpbA

http://tinyurl.com/y528rufq

An attraction to Rivers and Roots is not just found in the lovely flowers; it is also the highly photographable things on the property. I found them to be irresistible and was drawn to several areas.

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But in the end, the flowers are the main attraction to Rivers and Roots. Amazing!

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Pick your own flowers and pay at the little stand.

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Elaine created the perfect nosegay. Bet you haven’t heard that word in a while! But it came to mind for this picture.

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So beautiful!

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Sydney and Titus bid us farewell. We will see them again soon!

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We headed back to the car.  Good friends, a good place, and a good day.

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Anita had to head out ahead of us. Follow the River Road back to Robert Henderson Road and you are back in town. It is only a hop, skip, and a jump away when you are out and about in Sevierville. 

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This is truly a special place. Wear old shoes or garden shoes and plan to stay a while. Come by and see the beauty at Rivers and Roots in Sevierville. So far, it is my favorite place of the year. You will like it too!

 

Delight at the Derby Hat Social 2019

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One of our favorite events during the year is the Derby Hat Social, sponsored by the United Way of Sevier County. The Hat Social is a prelude to the Derby party next month and can help you get your style game ready for the races. Go and you are guaranteed to have fun! Here is what it was like this year…

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Buy a ticket in advance or at the door. I loved the hats all lined up as I entered Courthouse Donuts!

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This is the fifth year of the Derby Hat Social. I hope that there are many more. Here, United Way members and Executive Board members were already in the spirit of the event. Pictured from left to right: Paula King; Kathy Voncannon, Administrative Assistance; Emily Whaley; Amy Harper, Executive Director;  and Janice Bettis.

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The Derby hats come from the Sassafras store at the Old Mill complex in Pigeon Forge.

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I love the front windows facing the courthouse. The doughnuts are so good too.

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Jodi Ramsey, Assistant Vice President and Marketing Director for Citizens National Bank, enjoyed the event with her mother, Sandy Sandiford.

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There were more hats to choose from this year than ever before.

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Some hats are beautifully whimsical.

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Some hats are artful and sculptured. I think that Jackie Thurman looks good in every hat that she wears!

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Jodie Eberhart looks Derby ready!

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The big windows afford natural light for the buffet table. Nice!

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Citizens National Bank supported the Derby Hat Social with style. Pictured here are Jodi Ramsey, Carrie Strickland, and Melissa Moon.

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Come right after work and there will be ample refreshments to keep you going.

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Couples can also enjoy the event and have fun! Corinne and Steve Hartford look dashing as they support the United Way of Sevier County.

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My most important advice: arrive promptly at 5:00p.m. to have the best choice of hats! Set your purse on a table and go!

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I love a ‘fascinator’ type of hat, but cannot usually wear it well. This one is adorable!

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Another cute ‘fascinator’ style Derby hat. The advantage to this style is no messing up your hair. No flat hair.

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The refreshments are always good at the Derby Hat Social. Enjoy!

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It gets busy around the mirrors, but there is always someone to give you a second opinion on your hat or to take your picture. What fun!

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There are hats for all kinds of tastes and generations!

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This hat is lovely! It makes you wonder why hats have gone out of style.

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Donna Huffaker and Lindsay Shanton enjoyed the event. They regularly support the United Way of Sevier County; in fact, Donna recently performed at Dancing With the Stars for the organization.

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This was probably my favorite picture of the day! From left to right: Lindsay Shanton, Amber Atchely, Maggie Atchley, Mattox, Haley Davis, Jessie Blalock, and Jessica Will.

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You don’t necessarily have to buy a hat at this event. Just come and have fun with your friends! However, if you don’t already own a Derby hat then you will find the best selection in East Tennessee. The Derby Hat Social certainly makes it convenient for those who would like to buy a hat. I already own two Derby hats, but this one really tempted me.

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Part of the fun of a Derby Hat Social is taking pictures, sharing with friends or social media, or keeping a photo as a memory. I liked the drama of this entire outfit so I asked a young lady to help me take the picture. I applied an artistic filter with the Prisma app to give it an old world painting look.

Soon after, it was time for me to go.  I hated to leave so early and must stay longer next year!

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The Derby Hat Social is a prelude to the Night at the Derby party on April 12 at 6:00 p.m. at the Walters State Rel Maples Culinary Arts Building. There will be food, beverages, fun, and more! Emily Whaley told me that winners for each race will get to draw for prizes: a recliner, tickets to REO Speedwagon, a patio set, $$$, season tickets to Broadway shows at the Tennessee Theater, and more. There will be 15 food vendors there as well.

You can follow the event on Facebook at this link. https://www.facebook.com/events/2186103104977117/

‘Funny money’ auction items include bidding on a TV, overnight cabin rental with a catered dinner, zipline adventures, and more. It is sure to be one of the best events in April— so get ready. See you at the races!

 

 

 

March 2019 Art Happening Featuring Audrie Prince

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Warmer weather made it nice to get out and about on Thursday so I was excited to arrive downtown for the Art Happening. Featured artist was Audrie Prince.

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The street was busy for 5:25 in the afternoon due to the Art Happening and a bustling dinner crowd at Graze Burgers.

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The weather was so nice that the doors remained open to enjoy a breeze.

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Audrie Prince also goes by the name Autumn Leaf in her work. She and her husband relocated here from Maine to enjoy the mountains and do what they love: art and aviation.

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Her work is beautifully displayed on the wall of the Arts in Common Gallery downtown. Prince is a multimedia artist who draws, paints, uses textiles and metals in her work.

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I, of course, chose the bear carving as a favorite.

Audrie has Penobscot roots; therefore, much of her art reflects nature and animals. The natural world. Prince is the only artist in the world who uses birch tree bark via paper cutting . She carves it using exacto knives and other implements.

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My colleague, Lee Anne Litton, would love this pig painted on feathers. So sweet! I have never seen anyone paint on feathers so that is unique.

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Fans and friends of the artist gathered around the collection.

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These are friends who have also acted in local theater productions with the artist. From left to right: Isabella Otter, Rendi Johnson, Judy Caldwell, and Cindy Johnson. After talking with them, I realized that I need to see some local productions soon!

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Audrie Prince also creates jewelry. These necklaces, modeled by her friends, were stunning!

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Also attending the Art Happening downtown were Rita Eakin, Jenny Dennis, and Catherine Fain Talbot. If I am not mistaken, Jenny’s paintings are featured on the walls  in the background of this picture. She already has two works commissioned in Knoxville.

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George and Jara Gillett enjoyed the Art Happening at the Arts in Common Gallery.

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Music sets the mood and it was nice. Tony Negron played some Smoky Mountain Delta Blues for the event. Find him on Facebook at   https://www.facebook.com/tcnegron/

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Refreshments at each Art Happening are unique and delightful, especially after a long day at work. These were wonderful!

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My favorite treats were the home made Petit Fours. Amazing! My compliments to the chef.

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IMG_3700Sevier Commons Arts Council board member, Crystal Lynn, and Audrie Prince take a moment to address attendees on the importance of the arts in our community.

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Audrie Prince also goes by the name ‘Autumn Leaf.’ Here is a beautiful necklace and some ways to contact her.

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https://www.facebook.com/ArtistAutumnLeaf/

IMG_3688There are more things being offered at the Arts in Common Gallery downtown. The Make It and Take It Workshop above will take place this Saturday, March 23 from      10:00 a.m. -12 p.m. Find more on the organization Facebook page.   https://www.facebook.com/CommonsArtsCouncil/

The Sevierville Commons Arts Council offers many opportunities to enjoy the arts in downtown Sevierville. Take advantage of these wonderful events. See you there!

A Visit to the Art Happening in Downtown Sevierville, February 2019

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The light from the Arts in Common Gallery was a beacon to all on a cool, rainy February evening. I parked across the street and hurried inside. Fighting off a cold or something going around, I still wanted to pop in to meet featured artist, Joan Swanson, and to see some of her work. It was a nice event and I was glad that I could make it.

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Street parking was still available, but you had to walk a little due to the Art Happening and the newly opened restaurant, Graze Burgers. It is always good to see busy streets in downtown Sevierville!

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My car was parked just steps away from the Arts in Common Gallery.

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I quickly ran into Andrea Wilson, board member of the Sevierville Commons Art Council, and featured artist, Joan Swanson. I like this area reserved for featured artist work because it invites you to look and linger a while. Natural light from the windows, wood flooring, and neutral wall color makes a perfect stage for local art. Swanson’s landscapes were well presented and I enjoyed taking my time to peruse them. Beach and mountain scenes are my favorites.

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Joan Swanson specializes in landscapes and pet portraits. You can find her pet portraits on the website Pawsofloveart.com .

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Look at these amazing pet portraits! They are extraordinary!

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I could not tell the difference between oil and pastel paintings. Joan told me that pastels go behind glass in a frame and oils do not. A simple fact, but something cool that I learned last Thursday at the Art Happening. Ask artist questions for you will learn a lot.

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I always enjoy going into the Arts in Common gallery to see the displays. There is always something new to see.

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Music was provided by Tony Negron, an instrumental, finger style guitarist. It was delightful.

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There are always refreshments so come to the Art Happening right after work.

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Everything is beautifully displayed.

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You are sure to find a gift at the Arts in Common Gallery. Shop while you visit.

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Arts Council board member, Laurel Kiewitt talks with Cheri Auman during the Art Happening.

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Local artist, Jenny Dennis, was enjoying the event. Look carefully at the four paintings on the wall because she created those pieces. You will be seeing more of her work in the future!

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Arts Council board member, Andrea Wilson, took a moment to address the crowd, encourage involvement with the group, and to detail upcoming spring events.

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I met Art Happening attendees Cheri Auman and David Freeman. Freeman has been a featured artist before and will soon be again.

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I always admire the beautiful, distressed brick walls in the gallery. The inset bookshelf is a lovely way to display art for the public. You can also purchase things if something catches your fancy.

Alas, an hour soon passed and I was ready to head home from a long day. Find the Sevierville Commons Arts Council on Facebook at this link. https://www.facebook.com/CommonsArtsCouncil/

See you at the next Art Happening on March 14th. The featured artist will be Audrie Prince. It is one of the best ways to be out and about in Sevierville. 

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Graze Burgers Opening in Downtown Sevierville

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I was excited to attend the pre-opening event for Graze Burgers downtown last night. After watching the construction going on all summer and fall, the moment had finally arrived to see the final product—and it didn’t disappoint! Come along as we got to experience one of the best new places in downtown Sevierville.

First, I am going to get straight to the point and list my top 10 reasons that Graze Burgers is going to be special. Maybe even my favorite burger place in Tennessee.

  1. The owners’ families have created restaurant legacies in East Tennessee: Angelos in Morristown, Angelos on the Point in Dandridge, and Stock and Barrel on Market Square in Knoxville. They have decades of experience in the restaurant industry and deliver a high quality experience.
  2. With a burger, you can order 1/2 fries and 1/2 onion rings! I have never seen that before because you usually have to choose one or the other. We can call them ‘frings.’
  3. The cocktail and beverage selections are excellent. (Check out the ‘Off the Rails cocktail.’)
  4. Spiked Shakes! I have never seen this before either. They make great desserts!
  5. Brioche bun!  There were many burger variations and each looked delish. There will be something for every taste. Even more, I love a brioche bun.
  6. There are windows behind the bar that will open to the outside alley and patio area. “Hello spring and summer dining al fresco!”
  7. The atmosphere inside is relaxed and fun. There are three large screen TVs on the wall and music playing in the background to keep the mood festive.
  8. The parking is plentiful nearby, both in the gazebo area and on the street.
  9. I can tell that the owners and the business will be great new neighbors downtown.
  10. I liked the water glasses. They were Duraclear or some other light material so there was no problem with breakage and they fit my hand quite well. I don’t like glasses that are too big to handle.

Let’s continue to our visit to Graze Burgers last Saturday evening in downtown Sevierville.

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Upon arrival, Melinda and I found the parking lot by the gazebo almost full of cars. We thought we were early, but there were others already there to experience Sevierville’s newest restaurant.

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Lights and signs were on. Street parking was filling up, which is rare for 5:30 on a Saturday evening downtown unless there is a special event.

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Friendly hosts and hostesses were ready to show us to a table. We got the last one available. The place was packed!

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This screenshot from the Graze Burgers Facebook page shows a sleek design, yet maintaining the original brick wall. I am not sure what to call it, but the combination of natural brick, wood, and metal makes me want to call it a ‘mountain industrial’ look. Notice the large windows behind the bar that can be rolled up in warm weather to serve customers in the alley/patio area later this year. Here is the link to the restaurant Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/grazeburgers1/

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We were lucky to arrive no later because tables were all taken.

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There is an interesting beverage list. Who doesn’t love a tall glass?

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I had researched the menu a few days before so not much time would be wasted on my selections.

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We always order fried pickles at the beach so we were not going to pass them up last night.

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Vince and Glenda Snider were ready for dinner at Graze.

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 Leesa and Jim McGill, Sevierville City Alderman.

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Ed and Bethany McCarter enjoying dinner at Graze.

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I love food served on a cookie sheet pan. Look—half fries and half onion rings. You can order one or the other, or both!

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Here is a screenshot of the main menu.

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One of the owners chats with Jim McGill after dinner. He has owned both Angelos locations in Morristown and Dandridge. Being from Morristown, that was all I needed to hear! When I grew up, Angelos in Morristown was the very best place to dine.

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Doyle Jones, local architect, and local artist/businesswoman, Bev Gwinn Jones.

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The Sevierville Commons board of directors are certainly excited to see new businesses downtown. SCA board members from left to right: Gigi Simonis, Austin Williams, and Jason Holliman.

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My favorite thing of the evening may have been the spiked shake called the Boozy S’mores because of the two roasted marshmallows on top and the ice cream delight in the glass. Oh my!

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Here is a screen shot of the beverage list.

IMG_3282What a great dinner! Afterward, Melinda and I worked our way through the crowd, said lots of ‘hellos’  and headed out the front door. It was great to finally see patrons sitting in the front windows after I watched the building progress all last summer. It came together beautifully.

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Keep an eye on the space next door because there is something going in there in the coming months. The manager told me that it is ‘top secret’ for now.

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For a Saturday evening in downtown Sevierville, cars lining both sides of the street will become more common with Graze and Bistro 109 open in the evenings.

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This screenshot from the Graze Burgers Facebook page shows some new neighbors that are most welcome in downtown Sevierville. We wish them much luck and can’t wait to visit them again while we are out and about in Sevierville. 

Save a seat for us!