Relay For Life +SCHS Host ‘Hoops For Heroes’


March Madness hit the SCHS gym last Saturday afternoon when local heroes battled it out on the hardwood for bragging rights—and to support one of the hardest working volunteer organizations in Sevier County. It was Hoops for Heroes to benefit Relay For Life.


I walked in, paid the $5 admission, and said hello to the student volunteers. Many, many concessions were available. Have lunch there when you go next year.


I was late so games were in full swing by the time I arrived. Six teams competed:  Pigeon Forge Police, Sevierville Police, Sevierville Fire, Pigeon Forge Fire, and two teams from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department.


Above is a collage of four of the teams.I missed two of the shirts due to the speed of the players.  😉

Play was divided into 15 minute segments. There was a 5 minute break between games. Competition was fierce. Good recovery here!


Sevier County High has a Relay For Life student chapter. Some of the organizers for this event were Leslie Mattern, Michael Maddron, and Ben Brabson. Scorekeepers were Beth Ownby and Ben Brabson.


Officiating was strict! Officials were Scott Ward and Jason Ownby.


Event co-chairs for the Hoops for Heroes event were Judy Bales (left) and Danette Rolen (right).


Sevier County Mayor, Larry Waters; Judy Bales, event co-chair; and Brian McCarter support the Hoops for Heroes basketball competition.

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department team scores a basket.


My friends, Wendy and Becky, cheering on the Sevierville Fire and Police Department teams.


Our favorite, Officer Leia Loveday, getting ready to play for the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department.

A battle for the basket by the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department.

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This was just part of the cheering section for the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Seals and his wife Wanda were enjoying the game, especially since they had two teams in the event.


All eyes are on the ball!


Becky Roberts and the parents of star player, Jaime Roberts. I saw him hit some three pointers.


Players in the championship game.


Relay For Life board members, Carlene Maples and Sophia Conerly enjoyed the event.


This political message is paid for by Tad Wynn.


I expected some of the players on the teams to be former high school players due to the skills. As I watched the Pigeon Forge Police Department, a couple of players stood out. I talked to this player at the end and then recognized him. This is Logan McCarter, an SCHS athlete and member of the class of 2013. Fun to watch him play again!

Some former high school hoops players shine on the hardwood.


Brian McCarter brings his commentator skills to the Relay for Life Hoops for Heroes event. The team nicknames were priceless! (The Budgetbusters?) I am still laughing about that one.


The scorekeeping was in good hands.

There was strong play in the championship game between the Sevierville and Pigeon Forge Police Departments.


It was a battle, but the Pigeon Forge Police Department won the championship game; thus, they are the winners of the Hoops for Heroes event. Fierce play!

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department won the consolation game. Well played!


Clearly, all participants and volunteers last Saturday were heroes, especially in helping the fight against cancer. If you wanted to find a hero, the SCHS gym was full of them in the picture above. Many thanks to them all.

This was a wonderful, family friendly event and I am so glad that I was able to see some of the games. I will arrive early next time. Be ready for next year because I think that this event will return with teams ready to ‘even the score.’ There may be even more teams. Lawyers? Moonshiners? Stay tuned! Relay for Life’s Hoops for Heroes was one of my favorite things to do this month. It was a good Saturday to get out and about in Sevierville. 




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


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.


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.


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.


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


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



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


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


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



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


Check this schedule for more workshops throughout the spring.


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


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!


Sevier County Hospitality Trade Show 2018

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a Facebook announcement about the Sevier County Hospitality Trade Show and decided to check it out. It was free so I went after work and caught the last 45 minutes. While there, I saw some old friends and some of our favorite businesses in this area. If you ever go, this is what you may see. Follow along!


This was the announcement that I saw on Facebook. Looked good!


I had never visited the Sevierville Convention Center so it was fun to explore it for the first time.


Beth Madison works the table for Relay For Life.


If you need music then contact Stephen Goff. We enjoy seeing him perform in this area.


I always enjoy talking with Linda Sink Hyder with the UT Extension office. Look for her at the Sevierville Farmer’s Market this summer too.


These seminars looked good for all kinds of businesses and organizations.


Our favorite bar-b-q place!


My nieces and nephews really enjoy visiting Wilderness at the Smokies. It may be time for another visit.


If you have not visited Anakeesta yet then you really need to go. Ride the open air chairlift to the top.


This booklet is a great resource for visitors.


I asked them to look ‘burly’ for the photo.


Businesses that support the hospitality industry can be found at this event as well.


Getting hungry yet?


I have not visited this attraction yet, but it may be on my ‘summer list.’


A great local insurance company. Consider them if you need it.


A popular new business in town. Visit their location behind Staples and Dick’s Sporting Goods.


A ‘one-stop-spot’ for visitor information.


Sean Pearson and Joe Luneke from First Tennessee Bank.


After this terrible flu season, it is good to know the location of another Urgent Care facility.



I liked this display. Can’t wait for summer and these kind of activities!


I am sure that you are hungry now! Our favorite Pigeon Forge Restaurant.

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Next year, I want to try my luck at this wheel.


Smoothies created by the convention center to replenish energy for the event.


A nice amenity at the convention center.


On the way out to my car, I spied our favorite Sevier County native and some of the best places to visit here.

I had little time at this event and had to hurry, but it was nice to get an overview of some of our best hospitality groups in Sevier County. Keep up the good work!

See you there while out and about in Sevierville. 



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?


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.


United Way Progressive Dinner, November 2017

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!



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. 


Glassware Makes a Huge Difference: Tasting Experience at KaTom


A few weeks ago, Sophia and I decided to go to the Glass Expose event at KaTom because we wanted to learn more about the topic—plus, I love glassware. What we learned at that event completely shifted my thinking on the topic. I never realized what a difference better glassware can make in regard to taste and temperature of beverages.

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It was dark when we arrived at KaTom so Christmas lights beckoned us inside. What we didn’t know was that within 20 minutes, we would discover that a top grade serving glass is essential to food service. Here is what we learned.


KaTom is on Inc. Magazine‘s list of the fastest growing companies in the country so any event there is going to be an exciting learning experience. Sophia and I just thought that it would be an interesting event, but it proved to be much more informative that we would have ever guessed.

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The tasting event was hosted by Libbey Glass presenter, Matthew Rutowski, Sr. V.P. and Brand Director of Spiegelau, USA.


I had never seen such a large set-up in on the KaTom showroom floor. Each place had  glassware set up and ready for attendees. At this point, Sophia and I knew that the presentation was going to be rather special.

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Multi-media presentation was in place to begin the event.

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The gist of the presentation asserts that it is not just the design of the glass that improves the tasting experience, but the materials that make the glass as well.

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The Spiegelau Company is located in Germany. The factory has a long tradition of manufacturing glass products since the 16th century.


The presentation showed how they mine the special glass material, which makes it lighter and better suited to specific brews. It also showed how the company has collaborated with some of America’s master brewers to design the best glass for their brews.


I would have never really believed there was difference—until they led us through an experiment and we decided for ourselves. It was amazing how a regular pint glass could not compare to the Spiegelau glass in keeping the beverage cold and maintaining the taste. After only a few minutes, we tried it again and the IPA in the pint glass was warm and tasteless. The Spiegelau glass was still very cool and flavorful. It was a completely different experience.

There are specific glasses for specific brews.

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At the end of the presentation, Mr. Rutowski always asks attendees to raise a glass if they agreed that the Spiegelau glasses gave a better experience and enjoyment to the tastings. Everyone overwhelmingly agreed.


Amanda and Adam just opened Barley Waters in downtown Johnson City, Tennessee. They came to the presentation to learn more and to buy glasses for their new business. If you visit Johnson City, their place is next to Freiberg’s restaurant. (Oddly enough, I ate lunch there with family last May.) Barley Waters has been open over a month. It has 32 taps and over 206 beers in all. Their customers will certainly benefit from Spiegelau glasses they bought that evening. Adam attended the Brewing Science program at South College and worked for a few years at Blackberry Farm before starting Barley Waters.

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These attendees were from Knoxville. The gentleman on the left has a Food and Beer blog. The gentleman on the right manages Suttrees, an establishment on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville. They overwhelmingly agreed that the presentation changed their minds on the difference that glassware can make in tasting, plus the advantage over a regular pint glass. IMG_4104

The Glass Expose and Tasting event at KaTom seemed like a fun event; however, it ended up shifting my thinking about how important glassware is to dining and how it can enhance one’s experience in a significant way. I will never ask for a regular pint glass again.

Now, we are hoping Spiegelau will return some day for a presentation on whiskey or wine glasses. There is more to know…

You can learn all kinds of things when you are out and about in Sevierville.


Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas with Barbara Tenney on Saturday at KaTom



My favorite cook in East Tennessee is Barbara Tenney. I am a ‘groupie’ and have followed her for years. The Saturday Christmas treat demos at KaTom Chef Supplies are not to be missed. This Saturday will be her last presentation for the holidays so drop by sometime between 11:00-1:00 p.m. to see, taste, and to learn about the last Christmas treat of 2017—almond cookies made with a press.


I visited the day of the fruitcake cookies and can tell you that they were fabulous.


These cookies are even more special because of the wonderful dried fruit that goes into the recipe. The cookie was not overly sweet either so that it allowed balance with the sweetness of the fruit.


Here is a recipe card for the Fruitcake Cookies.


Festive tables.


I tried the Hot Toddy cookies last week and they were excellent. The shortbread cookie that served as a base for the recipe was wonderfully sweet with a subtle orange flavor that came from the zest of the fruit. There are not just for Ole Miss fans.   😉




I asked about the pan to shape the cookies and Barbara showed me that you could use just a simple one like this one.


This is a ‘cook’s point of view’ from behind the KaTom demonstration counter. You can see what a beautiful store it is! You don’t have to be a chef to shop here. All kinds of shoppers drop by to browse.


Barbara took me into the back showroom and we got a latte. This is my dream machine!


I had never noticed this sale corner and was amazed. I ended up finding several gifts here and some things for my own kitchen. There were a lot of things under $5 in this area. Barbara said that there are new things in this sale area every time that she visits so make sure you check it out.


I always try to get a picture with the chef before I leave KaTom and this one is my favorite: Barbara Tenney. If you get a chance, drop by and see her for a few minutes this Saturday. It is one of my favorite December things to do while out and about in Sevierville. 

Save me a seat at the counter!






A Sevierville Treasure and S.C.H.S Legend Celebrates 95 years!

She is a Sevierville treasure. She is a Sevier County High School legend. Norma Blair celebrates 95 years this week!


After church, I was preparing to leave when I walked right into an important moment—and a blog story. I heard that our friend, Norma Blair, was celebrating 95 years so I had to give her best wishes. She is certainly a Sevierville treasure.

IMG_4547I loved this poster that family had created for the guest of honor, Norma Blair. Just a few pictures can illustrate a life lived well.


After the Contemporary Service, Norma Blair’s family prepared for the festivities.


Norma Blair was born in 1922 in Morgan County, Tennessee. She earned a teaching degree from Tennessee Wesleyan College. She taught elementary school, then taught English for 2 years at MTSU.


Norma married and moved to Sevier County around 1942.


According to her daughter Brooke, Norma Blair waited until her children were grown before taking an English position at Sevier County High School. She began teaching at SCHS around 1971. I heard that Judge Rex Henry Ogle was in one of her first classes. There are many people who enjoyed working with her or taking her classes.


In her first year at SCHS, Norma taught Senior English and the chorus. She was choir director for two years. Of special note, Norma Blair was able to teach 3 of her grandchildren during her time in the English Department at SCHS.


A crowd gathers to greet the honoree after services at Sevierville First United Methodist Church.


In attendance were three of Norma Blair’s children : Mary, Tina, and Brooke.


Also in attendance were numerous grandchildren and more.


A line of church members greet the honoree.



Norma Blair is one of the most beloved faculty members to have ever walked the halls of Sevier County High School. I know the same is true for the hallways of the Sevierville First United Methodist Church, and more. It was my honor to see her approach her 95th birthday this week. You can tell by her family, friends, and church family that this is a special lady. Happy 95th birthday, Mrs. Norma!

We love you.





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


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


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


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


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


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


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


So cute!


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


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

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


The neck warmer made a huge difference!


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


Little Vols are fans of the race too!


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


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


Milk and cookies for a post-race Christmas treat.


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


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


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


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


Fun photo with Rudolph.


All finishers got some good souvenirs this year.


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

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


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

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


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



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

Randolph made a festive nog with a caramel surprise





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


The highest approval rating possible for Christmas cookies.


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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



Art Happening: November, 2017


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.


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.


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


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


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


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.


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


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.


High five for the November Art Happening!


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.


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


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.


Love this picture and the beautiful chalk pieces.


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!


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.


View of the courthouse on the way to my car.