Sevierville Commons Arts Council Launches ‘Blast Off’ Event

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There was a big crowd on Bruce Street this evening attending the Blast Off event for the Sevierville Commons Arts Council. People from all parts of the county came to support the arts in downtown Sevierville. There were refreshments, music, auction items, and demonstrations galore. Follow along as I take you on a tour of the event. It was the hottest ticket in town this evening!

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First of all, I know it will be a fun time when I see Bruce Street blocked off!

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It is fun to walk right down the middle of the street. But I wasn’t thinking and took the sidewalk instead. Oh well…

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We were greeted at the door by Pat. He showed us where to check in and it went quickly.

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There was a line out the door when I arrived so I sat on a bench outside and waited for Melinda. The line went through quite quickly as we entered the door. Above, Andrea Wilson and other volunteers process guest arrivals.

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There was rain approaching so I liked how the dinner part was to be conducted, rather than have it out near the gazebo with downpours on the way. We drew a voucher from a bowl to determine the location of our dinner. The draw was Mom’s Vintage Kitchen. We love all those places listed above and were happy to go to Mom’s later. What a great idea for a dinner lottery. Fun!

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Artist, David Freeman, was drawing profiles as we entered the door. I saw him do one on TV this week as a promotion for the event. A fun addition to the festivities.

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Attendees pictured left to right: Michael Johnson, Sevier Commons member Austin Williams, and Katie Williams.

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I expected a lot of art items for the silent auction and was not disappointed! Melinda told me that this artist is often featured at Arrowmont.

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Al Schmutzer and Jim McGill attending the Blast Off for the Sevier Commons Arts Council.

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Local artist, Charlotte Wear, pictured with friends Jayne Wise, Sonya Nave, and another local artist, Mary Phillips.

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A popular silent auction item. The cups were beautiful and the Old Mill coffee is probably great. I am having auction regrets for not bidding on this, but I had to set a limit of 2 items.

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Cheri Schmutzer and Leesa McGill enjoying the evening in the new Arts in Common Gallery on Bruce Street.

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The Johnson family introduces a future art lover to the event. Pictured left to right are Stefanie, Sheena, and Alex Johnson with a sweet little attendee.

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I was glad to see Chris Webb with his wife, Summer. I know Chris’ mom, Patt Webb, and send her greetings!

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Gail Monson, Ken Greene, and Jill Greene enjoying the Blast Off event to benefit the Sevierville Commons Art Council. Proceeds from this event will help to purchase things needed for the gallery. Furthermore, the event will help us learn more about the new art space downtown.

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Melinda Derrick and I were happy to see our friend, Joey Rose, pictured right. The space to his right in the picture above would be for his wife, Sheley, who was a little under the weather and couldn’t attend. I saved the space to his right for her. (Hi, Sheley!) Joey and Sheley are old friends of ours and support the local arts scene, as does Melinda.

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Attendees pictured left to right: Justin Duncan, Jennifer Duncan, and Andrew Temple.

This silent auction item was quite interesting. I don’t need many things so ‘experiences’ are very interesting.

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Crystal Sharp takes a moment to speak to the group and make announcements. There were over 159 attendees while I was there and over 62 items were donated for the silent auction. I bid on two. Will I get them? Stay tuned!

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The music was excellent! Musicians Greg Fitch and Pat Corn were wonderful and added to the ambiance during the evening.

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I remember when there was only 1 restaurant downtown. Now, we have so many more. Many thanks to these restaurants who added to a successful event.

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Love the creative way to thank sponsors. So nice!

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Jennifer Dyer, from Courthouse Donuts, looking at vintage pictures. We think that the upper right picture is the current location of  her business. By the way, Courthouse Donuts just won third place for the best donuts in the state, the only one on the survey located in East Tennessee.

I was intrigued by the ‘fairy doors’ on a table by the Sevierville Senior Center. Very interesting creations! Google it or go to Pinterest to see more ideas.

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As we left, there was more art and even demonstrations outside.

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I love the food voucher drawing idea. We proceeded to Mom’s Vintage Kitchen for tomato basil soup and chicken salad sandwiches. So good!

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Storms were headed our way so we hurried to our cars. The courthouse is pictured above under stormy skies.

The Sevierville Commons Arts Council is thinking of having this event every year to raise money for their Arts in Common Gallery and programming. I had a great time and will go every year. Consider going too if you couldn’t make it this year. The Blast Off event was a great way to get out and about in Sevierville. 

See you on Bruce Street!

Art Happening: July 13, 2017

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A friend and I attended the July 2017 Art Happening downtown, featuring artist Susan Edwards. This art was truly special and I wanted to collect it all!  Take a look at what we saw at the Sevierville Commons Art Council July Art Happening.

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The board of the Sevierville Commons Arts Council with featured artist, Susan Freeman. Pictured left to right: Laurel Kiewitt, Crystal Lynn Sharp, Susan Edwards, Jill Greene, and Andrea Wilson.

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I love this work. Susan said that she admired iconography and religious scenes.

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This reminds me of beautiful iconography that I have seen at the Greek Orthodox church in Knoxville.

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Friends of the artist from Pittman Center. Pictured are Sharon Mellor, Lee Mellor, Jack Mellor, Gary and Mary Miles.

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Friends of the artist from Gatlinburg.

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The treats are always good from Jennifer Dyer and Courthouse Donuts.

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Susan Edwards’ friends attending the Art Happening are Pat Butler from Dandridge, and Suzanne Wedekind from Knoxville.

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I loved all the music. The percussionist was pretty good too.

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This multi-media work was my favorite. Outstanding!

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More friends of the artist from Sevierville are Dick and Pat White.

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My favorite treat is either the mini quiche or the chicken salad on tiny croissants.

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This captured the imagination—-doughnuts and sopapilla type chips with a caramel sauce. Oh my!

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Susan Edwards creates collaged sculptures. They are delightful! Her grandson made the jaguar.

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Susan and her husband, Don Edwards. Don provided the music for the event. I loved the songs that he sang. Excellent choice of entertainment!

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These were beautiful and related to the Walk of St. James in Spain. Susan has done the Walk of St. James, also known as El Camino de Santiago. The walk is a pilgrimage kind of  walk to where the remains of the disciple, St. James,  are traditionally said to be at rest.

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As we left the event, the sun was still hot and shining on downtown Sevierville. The flowers have never looked better.

FYI! 

Get your tickets for the Sevierville Commons Arts Council Blast Off event coming in a couple of weeks. Food will be served around the gazebo with tables and chairs nearby for dining. Art demonstrations will be available outside as well. Inside the Arts In Common gallery, attendees will have a ‘make-it and take-it’ opportunity. Also, there will be an ongoing silent auction.  Think Christmas presents! This new art space will be located in the old Bess Medical building on Bruce Street. I have sent off for my ticket. Get yours soon!

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These are my favorite ways to get out and about in Sevierville. See you at the Blast Off!

 

14 Tips From the Patricia Nash ‘Blogger Party’ Last Week

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I am a fan of Patricia Nash purses so when I saw an announcement on Facebook regarding a ‘Blogger Party’ last week then it became a must- see event.  A blog is a website and a blogger writes on things that interest them. This party gathered some known fashion bloggers in the Knoxville area to draw people to the showroom. Here are 14 things that I observed that could benefit businesses, organizations, and individuals, especially regarding social media and marketing.

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1. First, invite bloggers that have a link to your product, service, or event. What is your niche? Fashion, health, fitness, food, lifestyle, etc?

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2. Bloggers at your event will interact with customers/clients/attendees and will be available for photos. In turn, bloggers will post photos of your product, service, or event on their blogs and other media platforms, multiplying audience exposure, thus engaging new followers.

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3. Invite other business that complement yours, but do not compete with your product. Patricia Nash sells handbags, so they invited several clothing boutiques, an artist, jewelry makers, and a hair salon to join the party.

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4. Have music. It creates a nice ambiance while promoting a local singer.

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5. Give out a free treat. This also gives a higher profile to a local food vendor and makes people cheerful.

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6. Give a free gift. The blogger party gift was a very nice leather key chain.

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7. Announce a free gift for the first 50 people. It creates urgency to get there early. Below, you can see my new keychain. So nice!

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8. Give out discount coupons. One was from the Patricia Nash store and the others were from the local boutiques. See them in the photo above. Very pretty discount cards were in each basket.

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9. Have designated spaces for the bloggers. This will drive customer traffic and promote contacts. Unfortunately, it rained heavily that day so the white tents were not used; rather, the bloggers stayed inside and mingled with the crowd. I parked under one though because the parking lot was full!

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10. Have an email sign-up sheet for contacts. 

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Now, for the most important things that I learned from the ‘Blogger Party.’

11. Use both Facebook and Instagram both to promote your business. The Patricia Nash showroom manager told me that they have noticed that people over 35 tend to use Facebook, but those under 35 tend to prefer Instagram. The manager further stated that  Instagram seems to be more suited to the younger, more fashion forward audience.

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12. Consider using two Instagram accounts: one for local, one for national marketing. For example, Patricia Nash uses two accounts.  Patricia Nash Showroom is local while Patricia Nash Designer is the national account. This is especially important as they begin selling merchandise on HSN.

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13. Follow basic Instagram rules to stay relevant. The Patricia Nash store manager recommended that one must stay active and post 1-3 times a day. Also, you should ‘like’ and comment on other pictures to stay engaged.

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The next thing was the most important ‘take away’ for me.

14. Create an Instagram ‘pod. The Patricia Nash manager described it as starting a group of other businesses, bloggers, artists, friends, (whatever you can manage) to create a supportive community on Instagram. Since the Instagram algorithms depend on ‘likes’ and ‘comments,’ then the people in the group are crucial to increasing success on that platform. Their goal is to support each other and commit to the community by ‘ liking’ and ‘commenting’ on each other’s posts to boost exposure on Instagram. The more interaction with ‘likes’ and comments gives your posts more views on Instagram.

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I really enjoyed the Patricia Nash ‘Blogger Party’ event and learned a lot. The showroom is beautiful and the people who work there are friendly and helpful. Here is their advice for creating such an event. Have variety and open it to everyone. Be able to ‘grow’ and evolve the event for the future. Use it as a means to meet local people while blending audiences at the same time.

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Actually, I see good use of social media in Sevierville. First, the local tourist groups are very active. Sevierville Commons uses both Facebook and Instagram to post pictures and info. If I pointed out local individuals who do a good job, then one would be Bev Guinn Jones who owns Two Coyotes Studio in downtown Sevierville. She is active on both Facebook and Instagram; further, we ‘like’ each others’ posts almost daily. I could say the same for  Lorie Lea Yount, who owns Loralei’s Boutique on Dolly Parton Parkway. She is extremely active on both social media platforms by posting her new merchandise. I like how she also posts pictures of customers and friends wearing the clothes that they have bought from her store. This is a type of marketing that works very well and gives lots of product exposure to customers.

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Blogger parties can be fun and not a very expensive way to promote products, services, and events. Keep your eyes open for people that help promote your products, etc. Ultimately, these events would also be a good way to get customers out and about in Sevierville. 

 

 

 

An Art Happening Featuring David Freeman: June 22, 2017

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It was a ‘full house’ by the time that I arrived to the Sevierville Commons Art Council Art Happening on Thursday evening. It was the largest crowd yet and quite an event. Here is what I saw at the Art Happening downtown.

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David Freeman is a freelance artist and commissioned in portraiture. This talent is quite evident in the portrait of Lee Murray, pictured above. Freeman estimated that it took over 120 hours to finish this portrait. I admit that portraits are my favorite. I have spent time in the Prado Museum looking at works by Goya, Velazquez, and El Greco so I was fascinated by this local example.

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I stood close it the portrait and marveled at the rings on the hand that sparkled and the skin tone looked so real. You can see the ring shining from where you are now online reading this post. Amazing!

Freeman told me that it is difficult painting hands because of the angles and softness. The skin tone in the painting was translucent, with an almost 3D effect. I held my hand against the painting and it had almost the same tones. The artist also enjoys painting nature, water, and horses in particular. Here is a link to his website. http://www.davidfreemanartist.com

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This was one of Freeman’s first paintings. It was done for a little boy. This painting is on masonite with a leather background,on a wooden frame. It is exquisite.

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Charlie Johnson and his daughter, Stefani Johnson, enjoying the Art Happening.

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Works by Freeman displayed on the walls of Courthouse Donuts/Dyers Downtown.

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Deborah Sams and Sophia Conerly supporting the Sevierville Commons Art Council event.

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Marchella Yanguzazova, Daria Jamison, and Camille Spires attending the Art Happening.

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Melinda Derrick and a long-time friend, artist Mary Phillips.

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An interesting lesson—Freeman took his drawing of Elvis and demonstrated how to enlarge it using a grid. You can use this technique to enlarge any drawing.

Here is the process, and the final result. It was very interesting!

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Freeman’s daughter, Julie Mullins, and featured artist for July, David Freeman.

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Do you remember this actor? Great drawing!

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Mary Ruden, and friend, talking with Sevier Commons Arts Council President and Events Chair, Laurel Kiewitt.

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Featured singer for the July 2017 Art Happening was Lynn Rose.

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I was able to capture a picture of five artists featured in past Art Happenings by the Sevierville Commons Arts Council (from left to right): Andrea Wilson, Crystal Lynn Sharp, David Freeman, Jill Greene, and Mary Ruden. What a wealth of talent we have in our county.

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I loved the table centerpieces featuring paint brushes and flowers. So appropriate!

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The refreshments were perfect for a July evening and gracefully served.

Courthouse Donuts outdid themselves for catering the event. The Caprese bites in the first picture above were most popular. The dip in the middle picture had a nice jalapeño heat—but not too much. The chicken salad on cucumber slices were wonderful. I am going to try to make these some time for my friends.

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It was a busy evening downtown for the Thursday Art Happening. I took a last look through with window on my way out. Nice reflection of the courthouse through the window. Elvis, in the background, approves!

See you out and about in Sevierville…

 

 

A Trip to Blackberry Farm

It is not in Sevierville, but Blackberry Farm is such a special place that it deserves a blog story. My friends and I have wanted to go there for a long time; consequently, it is on many a ‘bucket list.’ I finally got my chance to visit last month. Let me take you for a visit to Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee.

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Blackberry Farm is a  Relais & Chateaux resort near Townsend, Tennessee, in the Walland community. Essentially, it is a luxury retreat with gourmet food and a deep wine list. This survey ranks it 15 in the United States. I would suggest that it is even higher.

http://travel.usnews.com/Hotels/b-Relais_Chateaux_Hotels/

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How did I get so lucky to go to Blackberry Farm?

I attended a Southern Food Writer’s Conference last May, which included a dinner at Blackberry Farm. Cynthia Moxley wrote about it in her blog, The Blue Streak, last year and I knew that I had to go.  There were about 95 food writers in attendance for this special dinner, but believe me—Blackberry Farm was up to the task. I have never seen anything like it.

The goal was excellence. 

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It was a good idea to charter two buses because we were able to relax and arrive at dinner at one time. Ladies wear dress pants, skirts, or dresses. Men wear jackets. Notice the waiters walking toward us with a tray of champagne. Delightful!

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I took my friend Janice Sorrell. I knew that we would have a great time.

I got a chance to talk to this author, Adrian Miller. His book is pictured above and details stories about African Americans who have cooked in the White House kitchen for U.S. Presidents. I have ordered it on Amazon. His lecture was one of the best that we heard during the conference.

Southern Food Writers waiting to enter Bramble Hall.

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First, the staff encouraged us to take a tour of the wine cellar.  We proceeded underground to what seemed to be half a football field long storage area for wine and spirits. It boggled the mind!

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Even the coolers were elegant.

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A long hallway with wine aging gracefully.

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According to a sommelier at the Old City Wine Bar, Blackberry Farm spares no expense for their collection. The goal is to have one of the best cellars in the country. It is magnificent.

Pesto stuffed baby carrots.

 

Clams served on dill and dry ice. Can you see the mist?

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A Kentucky professor, originally from Madrid, recognized some Spanish wines in this room and assured me that they were of the highest quality. Too bad that this room was locked!

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This appetizer was served on a small terrarium.

Our dining room inside Bramble Hall and a view through the tall windows.

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I slipped out and saw the preparation for service. The unison of the wait staff was mesmerizing. They enterred and left the dining area with military precision. They were in step, all arms were moving together.

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The menu was perfection.

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Mary Celeste Beall, owner of Blackberry Farm, addresses the Southern Food Writers.

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Blackberry Farm field greens, ramps, shoots, and hickory syrup. It was wonderful.

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Beef ribeye cap with smoked beet puree, greens, and horseradish bernaise sauce.

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Andy Chabot, Blackberry Farm Sommelier, addresses the group. His selections were perfection.

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Strawberries and cream with vanilla olive oil. Unbelievably good.

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Beautiful wood burl decor.

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The bathroom had cloth towels to dry your hands. Cloth towels. I loved the concert posters over the sinks.

After dinner, we fairly floated to the bus and relaxed all the way back to Knoxville. It was almost like a dream…but it really happened. Janice and I agreed that it was the best meal that we had ever had. It was, indeed, perfection.

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A  toast to excellence at Blackberry Farm.

 

 

Charlotte’s Creative: A New Arts Center in Downtown Sevierville

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If you are interested in opening a business in downtown Sevierville then I recommend that you make haste because spaces are filling up quickly—which is great news! Several art galleries and a restaurant are taking shape. I visited an art space last Friday after the farmer’s market and can’t wait to go back. Let me take you to Charlotte’s Creative on Bruce Street.

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I saw mention of Charlotte’s Creative grand opening on Facebook so I knew that I could nt miss it. It is almost across from Sims Barber Shop on Bruce Street. It is very near the Sevier County Heritage Museum. Here is a link to her Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/Charlottes-Bruce-Street-Creative-318553705267269/

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Charlotte’s Creative is beautiful inside! The front section is like a combination shop/gallery. Love the rugs! Everything is arranged beautifully!

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Artist, Charlotte Wear, and a friend, are ready for the grand opening event on Bruce Street.

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Books for sale by a local author.

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The violins are beckoning!

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Charlotte Wear has taken classes from the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, as well as the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The artist has finally created her dream space in downtown Sevierville. In this space, there will be a shop, a teaching area, a working area, and maybe a performance area. She will teach classes with diverse kinds of media. Her goal is to teach at least classes 3 days a week using metal, glass, textiles, or clay, and more. My friend and I are trying to decide which class to take first.

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Paige McClure attending the grand opening of Charlotte’s Creative.

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A gallery wall.

Entertainer, Sam Lewis, played music for the evening event. Charlotte told me that she had heard him play at Barley’s in Knoxville and enjoyed his music very much.  Sam Lewis has opened for Leon Russell and played with Chris Stapleton. That sounds like a good pedigree to me!

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You can hear Lewis’ music on these CDs. Here is a link to his Facebook page. You can see that he has a busy schedule!

https://www.facebook.com/samlewistunes/

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Artists and family attend the grand opening evening event.

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These earrings are beautiful. Must shop here soon when I have more time. You can always use another set of earrings!

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Charlotte Wear introduces singer, Sam Lewis to a full house.

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Remember that name—Sam Lewis. He is a rising star.

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As I went to my car to go to a cookout, I noticed that there were many cars parked downtown. Some were at Charlotte’s Creative. IMG_3867

Others were arriving to get a good seat for the movie, “9 to 5” with Dolly Parton.

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Things are busy on Fridays now in downtown Sevierville—and that is a very good thing. Get out and enjoy!

See you at Charlotte’s Creative for a class some time when we are out and about in Sevierville. 

A Celebrity Visit of the Canine Variety: Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund!

I was en route to the downtown Sevierville farmers market this morning when I ran across a celebrity. Make that two. When I happened upon them, I quickly grabbed my camera and joined the crowd. Look who visited Sevierville today!

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I was lucky to cross paths with Kelly DeBord on the way to the market. We were chatting when she asked if I was going to the special event. I didn’t know of any special event, but 10 steps later we happened upon it. A celebrity was visiting the Sevier County courthouse, particularly the Dolly statue. It was a celebrity of the canine variety. Immediately, we recognized Crusoe, the Celebrity Dachshund!

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Crusoe and his half brother, Oakley, will be in Knoxville tomorrow for a book signing at Barnes and Noble on Kingston Pike. They have spent several days in our area as well on a tour of the Smokies. I was very excited because I have noticed their videos on Facebook for quite a while and have shared them with my friends.

Here is the link to their Facebook page. Go there to see several videos of their trip to the Smokies!

 https://www.facebook.com/crusoedachshund/

 

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After a few minutes, I saw Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters walk up and welcome the dogs and their owners to the city. Several city and tourism officials were also in attendance.

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Did you know that Mayor Waters owns dachshunds himself? He has them too!

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The owners, from Canada, asked the mayor if he would like to hold Crusoe. Fortunately, Mayor Waters has experience in this area. You have to be careful because dachshund’s backs are fragile.  See the Mountain Press covering the story as it happens!

 

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Oakley is a patient pooch.

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This is a great picture of Mayor Waters and Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund with the Dolly Parton statue.

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But they weren’t finished. After the picture with the mayor, I noticed a costume change. Do you see what is happening here?

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Voila— a star is born!

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Go to the official website to browse and shop for merchandise. http://www.celebritydachshund.com/store/

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I found the dogs to be very calm and patient. The owner said that they know the routine and liver treats are expected. Also, they travel well. This is Oakley’s first trip. Welcome to the Great Smoky Mountains!

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Talk about good timing! On my walk to the farmers market, I was able to meet two celebrities of the canine variety. You NEVER know who you may run into when you are out and about in Sevierville…

Click below to go to Crusoe’s website. (Copied from the link.)

“Hey look, I’m Dolly Parton – er, Dolly Pawton?”

~ Crusoe

Image may contain: dog and outdoor

A Heart For Wildfire Victims: Cabi Clothing Event , April 30, 2017

Last Sunday, the Cabi clothing company distributed almost 1,600 pieces of clothing to help women who had lost everything in the Gatlinburg wildfires last year. The company designs and sells women’s clothing so their foundation strives to assist and empower women. As a Cabi collector/fanatic myself,  I knew this, but was still impressed that they would come to our area to help.  Taking a chance tthat they would let me cover the story for this blog, I went to the Holiday Inn in Pigeon Forge on Sunday morning to check it out. Not only did they allow me to cover the story, I was able to stay and lend a hand. What an amazing day! Here is what happened. 


I asked the desk clerk if the event was in the conference area, then headed over there. 


I saw the Cabi logo and knew it was the right place. Cabi stands for Carol Anderson by invitation,’ after the company founder. She worked at Nordstrom at one time, then decided to start her own company. I have been a fan for over a year so I knew that this clothing event was a big deal. 

After signing in, ladies would come into this waiting room until a stylist could help them shop. Each was greeted warmly and they exchanged names, resulting in a wonderful, personal touch. 


The shopping was divided into areas according to size. 



The volunteers wore Heart of Cabi T-shirts sent by the company to help identify the helpers and stylists. Stylists pictured here from left to right are Lisa Bitzas, from Seymour, and Diane Beshears, from Knoxville. Does Lisa’s name sound familiar? She is a music teacher in Seymour who is married to George Bitzas, the incredible tenor who has sung the National Anthem for the Vols football games. A Vol fan, I was thrilled to learn this fact! 


The hotel was able to help set up dressing rooms for the ladies. This was invaluable. 


I took this photo of two sisters and their mother, Angela Farmer, Margie Atherton, and Amy Keck. 


The clothing is beautiful and a high quality. I knew the ladies coming to the event would be happy with their new things. However, it turned out to be even more than that…


Check-in was easy and smooth. With each arrival, I could sense that the shoppers had been through a terrible ordeal, yet had great resilience. I heard bits of their stories of that frightening night. Pregnant mothers almost trapped on the mountain as their husbands were stuck in town. A lady told of looking out her window that evening to see fire quickly approaching the home and recounted their escape. Several Latina ladies told of leaving their homes with only the clothes on their backs, with no change of clothing. Not even a change of underwear. 


This was an invitation and announcement for the clothing event. Many participants had it in hand as they walked through the door.  I ended up staying for the entire event in order to interpret for Spanish speaking victims of the wildfires. Several of the older Latina ladies were so happy with their new clothes and told me that they were going to wear them to church. 

Stylists are ready to assist shoppers. Event organizer, Dana Headden, is pictured on the left. 


A retired teacher from Pi Phi was delighted with her Oatmeal sweater. As she left, the teacher said, “Something new gives you a lift. It made my day.”  Her friend departed, saying “thank you so much. We appreciate it.” A shopping helper told me that the shoppers came out of dressing rooms either crying or saying how thankful they were. 

Two volunteer helpers were from our community.  I saw Amy Harper and Cheri Schmutzer assisting many ladies at the event. There was not a lot of time to talk, but I quickly determined that Amy and Cheri are Cabi fans too. 


On a humorous note, one husband looked at his wife’s bags, looked at us, and asked, “so who do I thank for losing my side of the closet?’ We laughed. 


By the end of the event, Cabi had given away almost 1,600 pieces of clothing. What little remained was donated to A Hand Up For Women, a charity in Knoxville. Only about 200 pieces remained, the rest went home with those who lost everything in the December wildfires. 

I was so glad that I was allowed to attend, and even assist, the Cabi clothing event. The relief and gratitude of the ladies who received clothing was blessing to all who were there. This event certainly made a difference in their lives and replaced some clothing that was lost to the fires. It clearly demonstrates the Heart of Cabi foundation is the ‘real deal.’


The Cabi stylists ready to help before the event. 

We appreciate you. 

With many thanks,  from Sevier County. 

A Grand Event: Night at the Derby 2017

There was a grand fete in town last Friday evening to benefit the United Way of Sevier County.  After attending it last year, this has become one of my favorite events of the year. Come along as I show you why Night At the Derby has become a favorite with my friends and I.


First, the red carpet sets the tone for a special evening.

Upon arrival, you must first find a table on the patio. Then, start making plans for your wagers and races. I was too busy working on this report so I was only able to participate in the last race, putting all my funny money on three horses. I got a third place!


Next, you will see fun Derby hats and ensembles. Jennifer Dyer’s hat was a favorite!


Our first snack was the Tennessee Brown from Courthouse Donuts. So good!


Marcie Schrandt and Mike Comer, a board member of the United Way of Sevier County.


This cheesecake from the Diner is probably worth the ticket price itself!


Alison Ragsdale, a board member, and Amy Harper, Executive Director of the United Way of Sevier County.


Emily Whaley, event Chair; Jaclyn Kile, and Brenda McCroskey enjoying the festivities inDerby finery.

So many good things to eat!


The Shanton’s preparing to take a Derby photo at the photo booth. That was really fun because you could choose the background, preview it, and it was printed on the spot. The photo was included in the ticket price. So much fun!


I was so happy to meet Linda Ogle and her adorable friend! Both support the United Way.


One our favorites was there—-Healthy Balance. Sheeley Rose will be disappointed that she missed that.


The best chocolates that I have ever had in my life. You need to seek these out. However, you probably will not be able to share them at work.


Several Sevier County distilleries were present at the event and adding to the fun.


Jessy Hardy’s  magnolia hat was one of my favorites!


The Wilderness gourmet crew was ready to impress—and they certainly did! Pictured from left to right: Michael Russo- Executive Chef, Ricardo Rojas- Director of Culinary Operations, Lishia Lira- Mountain Market Deli Manager, Penny Dixson- F&B Manager.

Sophia and Keith Connerly with Pinkie Mistry.

Ashley Burnette, Jennifer Dyer, and Angie Taylor wearing beautiful Derby hats while supporting the United Way.


Jane Howes, Senior Center Director, wins for pure creativity!


Cheri and Al Schmutzer enjoying the races while supporting the United Way of Sevier County.


Bryan and Anna McCarter in Derby attire!


Larry Sorrell and Todd Thompson. Thompson was the auctioneer and gave us some tips before the bidding began.


This whole look was just stunning. Jackie Thurman, dressed in Derby best,  while supporting the United Way.


This trip looked amazing!


I have never seen Dale Carr in an auction—and it was fun to watch. I didn’t bid this year, but was tempted by several trips.




I loved my hat from Sassafras at the Old Mill!


The guy on the left is a Distiller at the Old Forge Distillery at the Old Mill. Isaac Lindsey also used to be in my class. I didn’t recognize him at first. You can run into lots of people at this event!


Pinkie Mistry, Sophia Connerly, and Michael Maddron.


My favorite restaurant presentation was this one by Bistro 109. The decorations by DGarden were exquisite. The food was divine! Chicken salad croissants, fruit salad, fruit kabobs, and pecan chicken. It was absolutely incredible! That is what I enjoyed for dinner at the Derby.  Dustin Manning outdid himself for this event. Visit Bistro 109 downtown Sevierville soon.

In summary, it may have been my favorite Night at the Derby yet. There was a generous selection of food, treats, and beverages from which to choose so you may be overwhelmed, but will recover quickly. The races are exciting to watch. The auctions are tempting. Ultimately, ticket prices are affordable and you MORE than get your money’s worth, while helping one of the hardest working charities in town. Plan to attend next year! It is a fabulous way to get out and about in Sevierville.

See you at the races!

Keeping Sevierville Beautiful: Extreme Home Cleanup, Spring 2017

Thank goodness for volunteers from Keep Sevier Beautiful or else I would have a garage full of computer equipment just taking up space. I dropped off some things yesterday morning and it only took minutes. This is one of the hardest working groups in our county so take a look at what they did yesterday. 

You pull into the parking lot where I saw my friend, Heidi, taking information. Then, they instruct you where to go next. 

Heidi let me take her picture. I just missed her son, Kollin, a senior at SCHS, and a student volunteer for the group. 

Everything is very organized and orderly. You don’t even have to get out of your car! It does not get any easier than that!
The first drop spot is for Live-It Ministries, a Christian group. Paul Danis, pictured above, says their warehouse is located at 11935 Chapman Highway. They accept donations Monday’s-Saturdays from 10-5:00. They accept almost anything. Donations can include clothes, household items, rugs, sporting goods—anything. 

I waited my turn for the computer drop-off stop. 


Mark Mundo helped me with my computer recyclables. He is a recycling, clean earth advocate so I was not surprised to him him working this event. 


Thanks, Mark!


This spot was for hazardous things that will not pollute our land now. A serious job here. 


Next, it was time to drop off some expired meds with the Sevierville Police Department. Officer Garner was ready to help. 


Actually, I did not drop off all these meds. 


You can see how meds are moved from the plastic containers for recycling. Then, the expired pills are taken to an incinerator for the final phase. Thus, ground water is not polluted later on. 



This is a invaluable service to our community and I try to take advantage of their help every year. Many thanks to Keep Sevier Beautiful for their service for it truly has an impact on our community. They clearly fight to make this a better world. A million thanks!

Here are a couple of their upcoming events. 




Look for this announcement next year. Also, you can keep up with their activities on their Facebook page.