Donuts to Dancing: Fundraiser for the United Way of Sevier County

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I was running late for a noon appointment in Knoxville, but had just enough time to run into Courthouse Donuts and check up on two contestants in their fundraiser for the United Way of Sevier County in advance of the Dancing With the Stars competition next month.

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The competition, as I understand it, has two parts. Fund raising and dancing. This a lot for someone to take on so I wanted to stop by and help these two hard working members of the community who have a long history supporting the United Way of Sevier County.

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Parking is so easy on Saturday mornings. I parked in front of the new yoga studio and walked around the corner to Courthouse Donuts for the fundraiser. Courthouse Donuts is the heart of downtown Sevierville, in my opinion, so that was a good place to be this morning.

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When I arrived around 11:00 a.m., the competitors were a whirlwind of energy. Pictured left to right: Marcie Shrandt with dance contestants Mike Comer, and Jaclyn Kile.

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I knew that $5 from each order of a dozen doughnuts went to the fundraiser so I looked at the menu to make a decision. An assortment was the easy option. I just looked at the last line on the menu and will order that next time!

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Jennifer Dyer was busy preparing the treats for all customers. She is a strong supporter of multiple organizations in Sevier County.

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Amy Barnett showing her support for the Comer/Kile team at the fundraiser.

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As I picked up my order, many people were starting to line up for their donuts too.

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Team Kile/Comer supporters from left to right: Amy Barnett, Amy Harper, Jodie Everhart, and Marcie Schrandt.

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It was time for me to run so I took one last look at the activity behind the counter. I asked the team if they have danced before. Mike Comer replied, “hell, no!” Asked if he would do it again? The same answer! For those reasons alone, I think that it would be great fun to attend the main event next month!

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Jaclyn Kile and Mike Comer have been practicing for their performance 2-3 times a week in addition to fund raising for the United Way. I can’t think of anyone better to win the mirror ball for dancing or the fundraising award for the United Way of Sevier County.

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The Best of 2018 in Photos: Out and About in Sevierville

Here is the best of 2018 while out and about in Sevierville. I’ll let the photos tell the stories, and there are many. What a year! (Because of the great amount of photos, I recommend using a desktop or tablet for quicker photo loading.)

Sevierville, it has been my pleasure…

January 2018

 

February 2018

 

March 2018

 

April 2018

 

May 2018 

 

June 2018 

 

July 2018 

 

August 2018 

 

September 2018

 

October 2018

 

 

November 2018 

 

December 2018 

 

Today Makes 200 Blog Stories!

I glanced at the analytics and noticed there are now 200 blog stories on this website—a milestone—so time out for a quick celebration!

This blog is mainly about a little town in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. I write about people, places, and events that are interesting to me, and maybe to locals and visitors too. My goal for the blog was to have a creative outlet while supporting the local art scene, charities, and small businesses. It has forced me to be more outgoing and less of an introvert. Consequently, I have met some remarkable people out and about in Sevierville and made some new friends. It has been quite a fun project.

Many of my stories have had a series: farmers markets, Sevierville Commons Arts Council Art Happenings, and KaTom cooking demonstrations. Other stories are special one-time things: Sims Barbershop, Frank Allen’s Market, the American Eagle Foundation.

Here are some statistics screenshots that are interesting.

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Can anyone guess which event prompted the all time best views on May 23, 2016? Who ever guesses correctly wins a free coffee! 

 

More people read stories in 2018 than the past two years so that is a growing readership, whether locals or tourists.

Look below for some of the top stories of the year. 

The story that I just published yesterday rocketed up to number 5 most read story this year! Crust and Crumb Opens Downtown!

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I am not sure why, but readers look up the story on Dumplin Creek Critter Care almost daily. If you go to her Facebook page then you get to see some delightful pet pictures each day. That story just keeps going! 

If I write about a business or event and they share the blog story then the story can go viral for about 48 hours. I watch the story analytics several times during the day so it is fun for me to watch the numbers increase. So share away! 

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Bloggers are busy with their own writings so I appreciate the support of 30 other WordPress writers. Also, 362 friends on Facebook from which I usually launch stories. Also, several readers opt to subscribe by email.

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This shows a break down of which search engines are used most for this blog. I have the blog linked to two Instagram accounts so I can tell that is working well to attract new readers.

 

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The screenshot above shows that people are clicking the links in the stories. It also shows that Reality Break Massage is quite a popular business since the links have been clicked over 68 times. That reminds me—I need to make my own appointment for next week!

 

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Over 55 countries have clicked on the Out and About in Sevierville blog. The screenshot above shows the top countries. I am not sure why someone from the Ivory Coast, Gibraltar, or American Samoa would be interested in reading it…but welcome to Sevierville!

Here’s to a good year in 2019. I may give it one more year and see how it goes. Cheers to our little town!

See you out and about in Sevierville. 

 

The Best Little 5K in Tennessee: The SCHS Foundation Turkey Chase 2018

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It was a chilly morning, but people came from 18 states and Canada to race in the SCHS Foundation Turkey Chase 5K race on Thanksgiving day. Although I couldn’t race due to hamstring issues, this was my third year to visit and it may have been my favorite. Follow along and see the ‘Best Little 5K in Tennessee.’

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Racers make the holiday run fun with festive headgear.

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Nancy Trundle Hewitt was busy checking in runners at the registration desk. Her team always pulls off a great experience with this event.

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The refreshment team was ready to work.

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A benefit of the race: all the doughnuts that you can eat from the Donut Friar in Gatlinburg.

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Fun photo ops with mascots.

 

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They are always such good sports with pictures. I hope that they weren’t freezing.

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Registrants receive a nice swag bag. I loved the T-shirts this year!

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These sisters attend the race every year. Nickelle was my ‘pace setter’ last year because I was behind her for the entire race.

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The Start/ Finish line was ready to go.

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Local runners were up bright and early.

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My colleagues, Heidi and Kathy, were ready to enjoy the morning.

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Great the t -shirts! Love purple and white!

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The sign-in desk gets really busy between 7:40-8:00 a.m.

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My fellow HIIT class friend, Anne, and her husband.

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I saw Judge Wade signing in and ready to run.

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This is a really fun race. I saw more festive headgear than ever before. I asked this gentleman if this hat was aerodynamic.

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These runners were from North Carolina.

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Race supporters come in several species. Cute pups were cheering on the leader just a few minutes later. This family came from South Carolina.

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Close to 200 racers were lined up on the starting line and ready to …GO!

This was the start of the 5K race. All runners will go around the track once then off to the front of the school property, then circle around to the track. Repeat 2 more times.

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And they were off! The course starts on the track then moves to the front parking lot of the school.

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All the encouragers used humorous signs to spur the runners on.

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This one prompted a few chuckles.

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One reason that I was glad to not be racing this year is the opportunity to take beautiful photos of fall racer scenes such as this one. The trees and morning sunshine were glorious.

This is my favorite spot on the 5K course.

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The front part of the course has beautiful trees that are just peaking the past couple of weeks. The flat course is also very popular.

IMG_0051 More race signs to encourage the runners.

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 Water break station in front of the Smoky Bears stadium.

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The final lap begins for my friend.

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My friend Heidi crossing the Finish line and we celebrate! She placed in her age group too!

I caught a hilarious race between the 3 mascots: a turkey, a chicken, and a Smoky Bear.

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If you look carefully, you may see a celebrity at this race. Drake was a participant!

Actually, that was Nicholas Fox from Charleston, South Carolina. This was his first 5K race ever! A powerlifter and Crossfitter, this runner said that he liked the race and hopes to come back every year. His family stays in a cabin and he found the race online. “The course is not too aggressive and there are some serious people here, but it is a relaxed race.”

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These racers came from Maryland and Florida. For one, it was his first race at SCHS. For the other, it was his first 5K ever. The racer on the left won 2nd place in his age group!

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Local athletes supported the SCHS Foundation 5K. From left to right: Emma Hamilton, Cindy Hamilton, Dean Hamilton, and Jennifer Whaley. I am going to visit their business, Sevierville Massage Therapy, soon to see if they can help me with my hamstring. Dean said that is one of the top three things that he addresses in his work.

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These racers have a good idea: do Thanksgiving on Wednesday and use Thursday to run 5Ks and do more activities. Heather (pictured left) comes from Ohio. Michelle and Chris are from Seymour.

IMG_0084 4 Bryan McCarter and his wife enjoying the program post-race. They are SCHS Foundation supporters and good 5K runners.

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If you run this race, you have a really good chance of winning a door prize. They are good too!

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Both the student and teacher volunteers did an extraordinary job hosting the event and post-race activities. I stayed for the whole thing! Well done.

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The overall winner of the 5K was Liv Paxton, a student from Rock Hill, South Carolina. It was her first time to race the SCHS Turkey Chase. Liv attends William and Mary College and runs on their track team. Her specialty? The 5K.  I saw her warming up in the parking lot as I arrived at the stadium and noted that she meant business. Her time will be hard to beat: 17.31.   Train hard for next year, people!

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Many, many thanks to Nancy Trundle Hewitt, Executive Director of the SCHS Foundation, and her team,  who orchestrate this event each year. She gets up at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving morning to run the best little 5K in Tennessee. Nancy and my friend Heidi pose with Heidi’s award.

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Look for the race on eventbrite next year.

For race results, click this link.

http://knoxvilleyouthathletics.org/results/2018-smoky-bear-turkey-chase-5k/?fbclid=IwAR0geAfyl5TSDvzLYQwWCvuv_fpzImeYeEReBKHnccyzd-aDlhK8TuRr1ao

 

For more pictures, go to my Facebook page for blog pictures. I’ll load them after 9:00 tonight.

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

Art Happening November 2018: Featured Artist, Marilyn Davenport

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It was growing dark on Bruce Street as I parked and headed toward the Sevierville Arts in Common Gallery. The occasion was the November Art Happening in downtown Sevierville, featuring artist Marilyn Davenport. I have admired her work so this Art Happening has been anticipated for a while. Although I had to hurry to another event after 6:00, the Art Happening was nice and I wanted to linger.

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Upon entering the gallery, I first ran into Marilyn, her husband, and her niece. Pictured left to right: Scott Williams, Yvonne Williams, Marilyn and Bill Davenport. Some of the artist’s creations are featured on the wall behind them.

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Here are the ways to contact the artist and see more of her work. Isn’t this the most beautiful business card?

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I enjoyed seeing examples of the materials that Marilyn uses to create her art.

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Mendy Hodges and Scott Davenport attend the November Art Happening. Scott is Marilyn’s son and we were talking briefly about his mother and her workshop. Scott said, ” She loves to do this art and she, in turn, puts a lot of love into it.”

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It is nice to run into other local artists at the Art Happenings. Bobbi Lovell, pictured left, has paintings in the gallery. She is from Sevierville and has a studio near Douglas Lake. Jo Levkoff, pictured right, is a storyteller from Del Rio, Tennessee.

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Davenport’s jewelry is exquisite.

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Davenport uses polymer clay. It is especially interesting because the clay contains particles of silver, gold, bronze, and copper with the material.

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There is a sparkle and shine that is delightful to the eye.

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I love a fall table! The Art Happenings always feature refreshments so you can go straight there from work, grab a bite, enjoy art, and mingle.

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A sign of the season.

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Music was provided by New Mountain Grass. They have at least two CDs. One was recorded at Stella Parton’s studio in Nashville.

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Some things caught my fancy on the way out the door. Love these macrame trees.

I enjoyed this event and only regret not having more time to spend there. Happily, you can visit the gallery during the week if you need more time to look around. Some beautiful things are in there.

There will be a December Art Happening that will also serve as a Holiday Open House. That one will end the Art Happenings for 2018 quite well. See you then!

 

 

 

Holiday Demos Begin at KaTom for 2018

Local cooking expert/celebrity, Barbara Tenney, gave a holiday treats demo at KaTom last Saturday. The demonstrations are kind of like ‘mini-classes.’ She will be conducting these informal demos on several Saturdays leading up to Christmas. Sophia and I slipped into the one last Saturday on how to make Peanut Brittle—and it was divine! Here is what you need to know.

  1. The demos typically last from 11:00-1:00 so you can drop in and enjoy it.
  2. The holiday treats demos are informal, so just walk in and sit at the counter to get a good view and ask questions.
  3. I try to arrive close to 11:00 so I can linger and not be in a hurry.
  4. Barbara Tenney will make the treats in front of you so there will lots of opportunities to talk and ask questions.
  5. You get a copy of the recipe.
  6. You get to sample the recipe.
  7. In some cases, you may get to take home a sample.
  8. There is a cool sale room in KaTom where you can find some kitchen treasures for super low prices.
  9. You can browse the store afterward. There are a lot of gift ideas for the holidays. I am going back to shop again for Christmas gifts.
  10. The coffee machine!

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We observed this recipe for peanut brittle and it was excellent.

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A secret: you have to use Spanish peanuts. No other kind will be as good.

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Candy thermometers are a must to get it perfect.

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You must butter a granite counter first, then pour the hot batter out to pull. It cools quickly so work fast.

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Use gloves to pull the batter as it will still be super hot. Barbara said that thinness is key to good brittle. Break it apart.

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Almost ready!

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Voila! The finished product.

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My sample bag of peanut brittle! I shared with colleagues at work yesterday.

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I want this coffee machine!

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KaTom is ready for the holidays.

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Here are the upcoming dates for holiday treats demonstrations:

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Save me a seat at the counter!

A Fashion Extravaganza: Fashion For a Cancer Cure 2018

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One of the hardest working groups in our area put on a fashion show last week and it was truly a ‘fashion extravaganza!’ Heavy hors d’oeuvres, a silent action, and fashions from local boutiques entertained us for a few hours while raising money for continued research to eradicate cancer. What a fine event it was!

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You could buy tickets in advance or at the door as well.

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The fashion show took place in the Sevierville Civic Center. I love the 3D mural on the wall.

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Silent auction items were lined up along the wall. The tree had gift certificates. I see one now that I wish that I had bought.

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I know that the lovely table settings were a pleasant greeting for attendees after a hard day back at work on a Monday.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness with a pink theme, apparent throughout the decorations. I like the pink pumpkins and realize that I have never seen one before.

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I appreciated the extra pink touches to decorate for the Fashion for a Cancer Cure event.

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I have a cabi ‘pop up boutique’ and was lucky that Gail Hinton was one of my models. She was a showstopper! A cancer survivor, Gail modelled beautifully. I found out that she was a majorette and a model in high school and college, thus the poise! Gail is a muralist and has worked all over the country creating wall murals, paintings, and book illustrations. She showed me some pictures on her phone and I was amazed. In the photo above, Gail is wearing the cabi Step-Up Pullover and the famous cabi M’leggings.

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Cindy Andrews practices her turns wearing the cabi Celebration jacket and the Performance dress. Stunning!

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Four cancer survivors were cabi models in the fashion show (from left to right) Cindy Andrews, Rhonda Hodge, Sophia Conerly, and Gail Hinton. I am pictured right and was honored to have met this courageous ladies.

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Beautiful models and fashions from Loralei’s Boutique in Sevierville. So cute!

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Cancer survivors also modeled from My Dream Boutique. Here is a link to the Seymour boutique  https://www.facebook.com/mydreamboutiquetn/ 

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I love the color pink and it was a dominant hue during the evening.

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BAAK Boutique had some lovely fashions for mothers and daughters. Adorable! Here is a link to this boutique    https://www.facebook.com/baakboutique/

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Event Chair and organizer, Carlene Maples, addresses the attendees and tells of her personal battles with this terrible disease. She truly has been a local leader in fighting cancer.

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The Wright Stuff Catering provided the light dinner. I like the interesting serving glassware for salad dressings and fixings.

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Loralei’s Boutique had fashions available to buy in the lobby. Or, you can go visit her boutique on Dolly Parton Parkway. Here is a link to the Facebook page to see new fashions posted every day.   https://www.facebook.com/Loraleis.on.main/

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Table with gift ideas from My Dream Boutique. I lingered over the earrings.

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BAAK boutique had a variety of items. I like these things in the foreground of the picture so much.

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The Chest and Chair provided the stage sets. Here is a link to the Facebook page to see more.      https://www.facebook.com/thechestandchair/

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At the end of the show, Carlene Maples called up the models who are cancer survivors. It was a solemn, yet inspiring moment to see these special ladies who have fought the disease and have won. But there is more to do. Support Relay For Life and Cancer support groups as much as possible.

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Courageous ladies.

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Models and merchandise from BAAK Boutique.

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Loralei’s Boutique models and fashions.

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My Dream Boutique models and fashions.

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Cabi models with Carlene Maples (in the center)

I was well impressed with this event and look forward attending it again. The emcee was quite experienced and professional and I enjoyed her delivery.  The decorations were lovely and the food was very nice. In fact, I wish there would a fashion show for spring as well. Let’s ask Carlene if it can be done. If so, we’ll be there and ready to watch the runway.

For now, here are more pictures from the fashion show. It was a most enjoyable way to get out and about in Sevierville. 

 

 

 

Sheriff’s Spooktacular, 2018 Part 2: Courthouse Area

IMG_9291It was a nice 73 degrees as the sun set on Court Avenue around 6:30 p.m., but the Sheriff’s Spooktacular was just getting started. Families were out early to get a jump on the evening.  I was glad to see all the costumes and fun. Here is what it was like at the Spooktacular during the early evening last night on Court Avenue around the courthouse.

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The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office was a central command post for candy.

IMG_9296       The Sevierville Police Department had a good location for giving out treats.

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Courthouse Donuts had a great view of everything from their location as they passed out treats.

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Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Theater had a great location in front of the courthouse.

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Seasons greetings on Court Avenue.

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Local author, Missy Barrett, giving out treats.

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Relay For Life helping inform and giving out treats at the Spooktacular.

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Beautiful Star Wars characters.

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So cute!

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The Fire Department was on the scene to deliver treats.

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Lines were long, but people were happy, patient, and enjoying the evening out and about.

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Nice table with the best Jack-0-lanterns.

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It is always a good time to take a photo with the Dolly statue.

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The kids’ slide was non-stop action! Conveniently located near the courtrooms.