Sevierville Bloomin’ Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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These looked amazing. We had to just walk away.

 

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

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Roasted sweet corn was highly recommended by festival goers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you out and about in Sevierville.

 

Shine and Dine: Cinco in the City 2018

The Sevierville Commons Association knocked it out of the park with a fun event yesterday, a fundraiser that incorporated local food and spirits with the Cinco de Mayo date. It was a relaxed, comfortable and (at times) joyous event as patrons enjoyed food, refreshments, and music that made the day quite a pleasure. Follow along as we take you through the Shine and Dine Cinco in the City event.

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This new event will take the place of the fall Art Walk. Although many of us loved that event, the Shine and Dine has a lot to offer and I think that it will continue to grow. So glad that I got to attend the first one!

IMG_2272I met Karen at the Sheriff’s Dept. parking lot and we walked up Bruce Street to find the party. The festive spirit began at the entrance. We checked in and selected a bead necklace. Sombreros were a popular item while they lasted.

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The first vendor that we passed was the Old Forge Distillery. Old Forge offered two refreshments: a Margarita cocktail and a Sangria concoction that were both crowd pleasers. Their product is always excellent.

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Our favorite barbecue place had good things to give away. We love Buddy’s bar-b-que!

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Keeping true to the Cinco de Mayo theme, the Old Mill offered some outstanding, authentic guacamole, pico de gallo,  and steak tacos. This was the real thing and we really enjoyed it.

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Bistro 109 prepared meatball appetizers and hummus with cucumbers. They always have a beautiful table display so it is easy to find them. Loved the food!

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XXX Moonshine is always good to see at these events. Peaches and Cream and Coffee are the favorites.

IMG_2351Andrew Temple  and Keener Shanton observe the nice crowd attending the Sevierville Commons Shine and Dine event.

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Healthy Balance served pico de gallo for a good food selection. This reminds me… I think that I need to go by there and pick up some good things for lunch at work next week.

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Candace and Kevin Moon were enjoying the nice weather during Cinco in the City.

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I have heard good things about this restaurant on Newport Highway and hope to visit in the coming weeks. The baked pasta and a sample of their cheesecake were fabulous.

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Old Smoky never disappoints. From the creativity to the sample size of the refreshments, they really are a crowd pleaser at any event.

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Sevierville Commons members enjoying the success of Shine and Dine Cinco in the City.

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These were the cutest outfits!

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I did a blog story a few months ago called “Lift Your Spirits” about a visit to Sevier Distilling Company. We are going for a return visit on a Thursday soon because they were out of Tenekeela in January.

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I was quite impressed with this big stage! I wasn’t expecting it. In addition, I was impressed that the first act played a two hour set with little break. Here, Rossdafareye is in full sombrero mode and playing music that had a comfortable festival groove.

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Love this title! A new genre of music that I need to learn more about.

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Dogs seemed to be welcome to the event if they were on a leash.

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My friend, Karen, and her neighbors.

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This chef works out in my HIIT class. He will do two classes in a row, as you can tell. Good to see him there.

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These guys came from Morristown and Memphis to the event. The guy from Memphis had come with his girlfriend, who must be local.

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Chad and Cindy supporting the Sevierville Commons fundraiser. IMG_2330 2

Having so much fun!

Now, the main act from Atlanta was ready to take the stage. We were ready to hear the Breakfast Club!

The guy in front of the stage must be a ‘super fan!’

A few moments later, I realized my friend Karen likes Van Halen. Who knew?

The band played all the 80s favorites and even came back for an encore.

The encore was “Don’t Stop Believing,” by Journey. We didn’t want to stop singing.

There were many vendors so I hope that I got a photo from each. These businesses  play a vital role in the success of these events. Here are some more that we enjoyed.

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Union Steak and Lube ladies were so nice and having a good time as well.

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Additional thanks to the  event sponsors pictured above. Thank you!

As the clock approached 8:00, it was time to go. We left with good memories of a new, enjoyable event in downtown Sevierville. Many of the people that I met were not from here. Some were from Knoxville, Morristown, and even Memphis. They all were having a great time and several said that they want to come back next year. Consequently, the Sevierville Commons Association hit a home run with this event.

It is one of our favorite new events this year. Well done!

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Sevierville Commons Arts Council ‘Make It and Take It’ Workshops Begin For Spring 2018

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There is something fun going on downtown Sevierville on Saturdays— and it is free! The workshops are welcome to everyone, young and old. You don’t even have to be good with your hands because an artist will guide you through the process. It is time for the Spring 2018 Sevierville Commons Arts Council ‘Make It and Take It’ workshops. I visited last Saturday and here is what I saw.

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It was a sunny day on Bruce Street and nice to be out and about. I arrived after 12:00 to find the room busy.

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There are a lot of things to see. Just walk in and say “hello.” You will be invited to come back and make something special to take home.

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The workshop on Saturday instructed participants how to make beaded necklaces.

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I didn’t make this one, but admired it. I liked the moon and starfish charms.

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The Sevierville Commons Arts Council won a grant that provides materials to create things in the workshops. Donations are accepted too.

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Children accompanied by an adult can actively participate and create in the workshops. They love it!

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A second workshop was taking place called Jelly painting. The designs were so interesting and pretty.

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These young artists created some beautiful designs. I admired them all!

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Check this schedule for more workshops throughout the spring.

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Here is information on a June fundraiser for the organization. These aren’t your typical rockers!

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Here is something the organization will be doing on the Saturday before Easter. Drop by!

This is one of the best things to do downtown in the spring. It is free and family friendly. Furthermore, this organization is significantly contributing to the vitality and revitalization of downtown Sevierville. Come check it out when you are out and about in Sevierville. 

I’ll share some the pretty jelly painting designs by the young artists on Saturday. They wanted me to take pictures of their work, so here they are!

 

The Top 10 Stories of 2017

A lot has happened in Sevierville this year so I tried to capture some moments with this blog/website. I used Google Analytics to create the list for the most popular posts of 2017 for the blog Out and About in Sevierville. The analytics track each story by readers and then maintain a running total. Here is the list of the most read stories on the blog this year from number 10 to 1. Will your favorite make the list?

#10

SCHS Foundation 5K : Turkey Chase 2017

It was cold and it was fun! We will do it every year. Thanks to the SCHS Foundation and Nancy Trundle Hewitt.

#9

United Way Progressive Dinner, November 2017

This was a new event and one of the best of 2017. Can’t wait until next year.

#8

Sevierville Commons Arts Council Launches Blast Off Event

This July event helped to launch the Sevierville Commons Arts Council in the new space downtown. We can’t wait to see what they do there in the future.

#7 

An Early Visit to a Sevierville Tradition: Sims Barbershop

It was so early, but I knew that I was going to a special place. Jayson Nave served as my navigator. Sims Barbershop is so full of history! Walk in just to say hello to this friendly Sevierville barber.

#6 

Downtown Sevierville Spooktacular Event: The Bruce Street Area

I had never been to this event before and didn’t realize what a wonderful family outing it would be. For that, I am not surprised to see it show up at number six on the list by Google Analytics. This blog story was part 1, near the Bruce Street area and the gazebo.

#5 

First Downtown Sevierville Farmer’s Market of the Season, May 26th, 2017

The opening of the Sevierville Commons Farmer’s Market signals that summer is near. Music, food, produce, soaps, jewelry, treasures—you can find it all here.

#4

Shopping at Bloomingtales Boutique in Downtown Sevierville

I love this little thrift boutique just across the street from downtown Sevierville. Proceeds benefit Pets Without Parents. Go visit the resident cat, Maddie, and find something special.

#3

I Am Dreaming of a Mural in Downtown Sevierville

Murals can be economic boosters for downtowns and promote the arts at the same time. We found the perfect spot for one here in Sevierville. Go to this blog story to see more.

#2

Sevier County Sherriff’s Office Spooktacular Event: Courthouse Area

This outing caught me by surprise. It was the most epic event of the year. This story was the second part of my evening visit, near the courthouse area. Good fun!

 

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A Grand Event: Night at the Derby 2017 

 

Night at the Derby must be the best fund raiser of the year; in addition, it is a favorite party of the year for many. You can’t have more fun than this while helping 16 local agencies. The United Way has served our county since 1983. Don’t miss it next year!

These are the top 10 stories of 2017 for Out and About in Sevierville.

What will 2018 bring?

What would you like to see as a story on the blog?

Stay tuned as the 2018 New Year arrives and we go 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!

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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

11:00-12:00

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! 

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!

Sevier County Sheriff’s Office ‘Spooktacular’ Event: Court House Area

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Last night was the biggest event that I have ever attended in downtown Sevierville—and the best. I really didn’t really know what to expect from the Sevier County Sheriff’s ‘Spooktacular’ event at the Courthouse, but I quickly saw that it was a great gathering for families. The first thing that I noticed was a line that wrapped around the courthouse. The photo above shows the first line that I noticed as it wrapped around the building.

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Our friends at Courthouse Donuts had a free cinnamon doughnut for all children attending the Spooktacular event. They smelled divine!

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Foodie shot.

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I wasn’t kidding about the line wrapping around the block. Amazing!

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This T-Rex graciously posed for a picture.

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These firemen were serving popcorn in plastic firemen hats—a double bonus for kids! They gave me some and it was, without a doubt, the best kettle corn that I have ever had anywhere. 

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I ran into my friend Ashley and her superhero at the kettle corn table. They were having such fun!

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I liked the little policeman in this picture talking to the real ones. However, after looking at this photo a minute, there is something in the background that is amusing in this shot.

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Our friends from Pets Without Parents attend the event with Rocko. Drop by PWP on Chapman Highway and say hello to Rocko and other pets some time.

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Friendly ladies from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office having a great time and greeting young trick or treaters.

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I was impressed with the attendance of public servants of all kinds at the event, like Connie Holt in this photo. In the following photos, the sun is setting quickly and my flash was trying to keep up. I apologize for the strange colors.

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Fun to meet firemen and Sparky.

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A funny story here… I asked ‘Sparky’ if I could take a picture and then went on my way. A young man came up to me and told me that Sparky was actually a former student of mine so I ran back and said hello. Good to see Jason after all these years!

 

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Great costumes and tower of treats!

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The Pigeon Forge Police Department showed me great hospitality and a hot doughnut. Great decorations too!

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Sevier Air and a Ninja manning a trick or treat stop at the Spooktacular.

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It was good to see our SRO from last year, Officer Conrad. He really needs to clean up his squad car though!

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Another former student who works for the Sheriff’s Office. I don’t think that is a Batman uniform though. That is the real deal.

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Local dignitaries supporting the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office Spooktacular event.

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Finally, Stacy Cutshaw’s son wins my vote for the best Halloween costume of the year. This electric chair was so real looking and amazing that I couldn’t stop looking at it. The child was just walking around with it, but it looked like he was sitting in real electric chair. Stacy said that they just used materials around the house and made it themselves. You win! The best costume of 2017!

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The moon was rising over the courthouse as I headed home, but today I heard someone say that there was still a big crowd about 10:00 in the evening. Amazing attendance. There must have been thousands there.

I saw families relaxing and enjoying the evening because they knew that they were in a safe place, with safe treats, and safe activities. It had a great vibe and I enjoyed being there. The great efforts of Sevier County first responders and others made it a night to remember. What a great way to get out and about in Sevierville on October 31st.

See you there next Halloween!