Sevierville Commons Art Crawl 2017

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It was a warm, glorious evening at the Sevierville Commons Art Crawl last week. It is the primary fundraising event so we look forward to it all year. With a wood-working art theme, the event was like a relaxing stroll with food and drink. Stroll along here with us to see what we enjoyed during the Art Crawl 2017.

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This was our first sight on Bruce Street. XXX Moonshine has two locations: Pigeon Forge and Wears Valley. They have a great tent and their vendors are fun to talk to. In addition, Tennessee XXX Moonshine has collaborated with Dark Horse comics, creator of the Hellboy character in print and movies, to produce Hell Boy Hell Water Cinnamon Whiskey. To find out more, click the link below. Amazing things happening with this local distillery.

https://www.send2press.com/wire/hellboy-hell-water-selects-xxx-distillery-llc-of-sevierville-and-pigeon-forge-tennessee/

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Around the corner, we found delights from one of our favorite downtown restaurants: Bistro 109. Owner, Dustin Manning, brought our favorite items on the menu: orange-cranberry chicken salad, hummus with cucumber slices, and sweet potato fries. The table presentation is always beautiful.  We came back for dinner here later. Divine!

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Stefanie Johnson greeted us at the main table and helped us to get acclimated to the event.  We bought our tickets in advance at Citizens National Bank. (I got mine at the Kroger branch because they are open until 7:00 p.m.) After giving her the tickets and showing ID, we received wrist bands and began the evening.

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Next, we ran into Sevierville Commons Arts Council member, Andrea Wilson. I was delighted to see her in this top because we were both wearing Cabi! She knew that and gave me quite a surprise. Fun!

Friday’s restaurant had a nice  treat. I think that it was Jack Daniels chicken. The servings were generous. We also got a coupon for a free appetizer. Good deal!

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Sara serves treats from Courthouse Donuts. Get ready for some new things on the menu there!

Mom’s Vintage Kitchen offered her home-made pumpernickel bread and pimento cheese with a home-made puff. It was probably the best bread and pimento cheese that I have ever had. There were about 5 different kinds of cheeses in that pimento cheese. Oh my!

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Art Crawl attendees enjoying the evening as the sun went down.

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We are always glad to see Healthy Balance at local events because we know that they will bring something good for the body. Skewers with tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese were a great appetizer.

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David Elrod’s friendly smile always attracts attendees to his tent. His presentation and products always contribute to an enjoyable experience.

Old Forge brought several treats. It is apple time!

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Karen and I inspected the beautiful workmanship in the bowls. They were so smooth and lovely. Woodworking artists Roger Jessup, Ralph Obenauf, Otto Preske, and Jackie and Janis Proffitt were available to answer questions about the items and the craft.

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Old Forge Distillery entertains and refreshes.

We were most impressed with the woodworking items from the Sevierville Senior Center.

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Our favorite item was this piece of wood with a photograph transposed on it. I would love to learn to do this technique. What a magnificent keepsake. The sunset is reflected in it.

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The Shantons enjoy sunset on Bruce Street during the Art Crawl.

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Sugarlands Distillery always brings delightful refreshment to local events. Indeed, it is always a crowd pleaser.

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I was delighted to run into my  Dominican Republic travel friends, the Conerly family. They enjoyed the evening as the sun set on Bruce Street. Sophia is a member of the Sevierville Commons Association and always has exciting updates to share about the revitalization of downtown Sevierville. Stay tuned!

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I wanted to linger at Charlotte Wear’s gallery, Charlotte’s Bruce Street Creative,  but time was limited so I grabbed some fliers with info about her October activities. Can’t wait to go there and create something wonderful next month!

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Old Smoky Moonshine brought a nice punch type of drink. They were friendly and ready to help us have a nice evening.

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I always enjoy the music and ‘vibe’ provided by musician Ross Paul Heatherly.  Ask him to play some Hendrix and you won’t be sorry!

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Austin Williams and Stefanie Johnson thanked vendors and attendees for supporting the 2017 Art Crawl. In addition, they drew the name for a winner of the art door prize. It was one of the beautiful bowls that Karen and I had admired earlier in the evening.

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Shadows are falling as the sun sets on Bruce Street. Jim McGill sits at the table ready to help attendees.

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The Pottery House Cafe is our favorite place in Pigeon Forge. Shrimp and grits, anyone? Oh, yes!

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Karen found water and tea located at the gazebo. Such a pretty place in the evening.

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It was so nice to have more time at the Art Crawl this year. Rather than 8:00, the event ended at 8:30 this year. It was so nice to relax while watching the sun go down on the courthouse bell tower. Kudos to the Sevierville Commons Association and the Sevierville Commons Arts Council for an enjoyable September event. We can’t wait for the next one!

Plan on attending the Art Crawl next year. It is one of my favorite ways to get out and about in Sevierville. 

 

What is going on in Sevierville during Labor Day weekend 2017

Someone used search terms  ” what to do in Sevierville on Labor Day weekend” on my website so I decided to list a few things that I know are going on this weekend. Blog traffic picks up on holidays so here are some suggestions for our visitors this weekend. Most activities are in Sevierville, but a couple are nearby. I used some screenshots to get this blog completed quickly. Here are some local Labor Day activities. 


Check out the Sevierville Commons Farmers Market tomorrow. There will be great vendors with many gift ideas and fresh produce. I have been doing some Christmas shopping there already. 


For the first time, our fair will last nine days and two weekends. This is a wonderful small town fair with food and fun for the whole family. The best food from the booth by Sevierville First United Methodist Church. Step right up! 

Do you like Jeeps? Then this may be for you! 


Something new is opening in Gatlinburg and it looks like fun. 


Labor Day weekend means BBQ. Find some at Bass Pro Shops. 


Bring your lawn chair and snacks to the Sevierville downtown gazebo for a free movie. I love the 80s! 


This may be the greatest thing in town this weekend. Go to the Dollywood website for tickets and more information. 


Go just up the road to enjoy this equestrian event. 


I think that my friend Tad Wynn may attend this event. It is just up Chapman Highway from downtown Sevierville. 


Art is downtown Sevierville. Check out several artist gallerys. This is one of my favorites! 


Find a bargain at Bloomingtales Boutique at 202 Parkway in Sevierville. Proceeds go to to Pets Without Parents, a local no-kill animal shelter. 

Also, find more treasures at Treasures From the Heart thrift store at 230 Court Avenue, Sevierville. 


We have one of the best boutiques in Tennessee. Congratulations to Loralei’s! Find it easily at 1235 Dolly Parton Parkway, Suite 7, Sevierville, Tennessee. 


We also have the best doughnuts in East Tennessee. Go to Courthouse Donuts in downtown Sevierville, across from the courthouse. 

Those are some fun things going on this Labor Day weekend if you get out and about in Sevierville. 

Enjoy the weekend! 

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!

Barbara Tenney Presents Three Cool Summer Salads at KaTom: July 12, 2017

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Barbara Tenney’s ‘Perfect Summertime Salads’ menu was just in time for the hotter temps   in mid-July. A crowd of 28 people gathered to see the preparation, try the dishes, and take home the recipes. I was so happy to see an old friend there. Come with me as I take you through our evening at KaTom.

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I was so happy to see our friends, Shirley and Milford Blair, pictured right. We worked together for years so it was a great pleasure to see her at the event. Shirley told me that it was her first time at a KaTom demonstration and that she had learned about them from this blog. How happy that made me! Pictured left are Shirley and Milford’s friends, Sue and Harold Ownby. They had the best seats in the house!

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I was delighted to sit with my friends pictured from left to right: Harriet Berrier, Sarah Berrier, Debby Smolnyki, Rose Anders, and Cindy Anders. We are becoming regulars.

The Menu

Ripe Peach and Grilled Corn Salad

Asian Chicken Salad

Shrimp Salad

Burst o’Lemon Muffins

Vanilla Ice Cream

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The secret ingredient to the Burst o’Lemon Muffins is a cup of lemon yogurt. They were divine.

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Barbara at work in the KaTom kitchen. Catch more of her classes at Butler and Bailey in Knoxville and cooking segments on WBIR TV. I have followed her for over 20 years. What a great lady and talented cook/teacher.

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This salad is great for a crowd and requires no cooking. I would NOT have thought about combining peaches and avocado, serano peppers and onion…but why not? It was my favorite dish of the evening. Fabulous!

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Voila!

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The Asian salad blended well with the lemon muffin.

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Barbara prefers Hellmans mayo to any other.

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Shrimp salad is a cool entree for hot summer days.

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Homemade vanilla ice cream was made with a special attachment for KitchenAid machines.

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See how it attaches to the machine. Let it run for 30 minutes, then freeze for 14 hours. You can find these at KaTom Chef Supplies store.

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These ladies came from Knoxville for the event. Mimi and Brenda attended the last session  with Chef David Pinckney, Executive Chef from Cherokee Country Club. Teresa, pictured right, said that this was her first cooking demo. They enjoyed it as much as we did.

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I always meet some new people from Morristown and they often have a link to my sister Suzanne. Today was no exception. Janet Johnson is pictured left. Dene Masengill-Jones, pictured right, was my sister Suzanne’s riding instructor in high school when she was learning to jump horses. Dene still owns and runs Walnut Grove Riding Stables. What a small world!

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Always get your picture with the chef at the end of a good meal. Barbara and I holding a peach, an ingredient in my favorite salad. Some of you may notice that we look like we are on the RHOA. (Wink if you know that reference.)

There are more cooking events to come at KaTom. Follow them on Facebook. Here is a link to their events page.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/KaTomRestaurantSupply/events/?ref=page_internal

See more pictures on my Facebook page for blog pictures. Here is a link. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1254469567899261/

If you like, follow me on Instagram. I am smokymountainfoodie .

KaTom cooking demos are one of my favorite ways to get out and about in Sevierville. Save a place at the table for me!

Robert Tino and Sugarland Cellars Release “Dance of the Fireflies” to Benefit Friends of the Smokies

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Something special was happening at the Robert Tino Gallery on Saturday, June 24th and I knew that I had to see it. It was the release of the Dance of the Fireflies wine label on Sugarland Cellars summer wine. I dropped by after noon and this is what I saw at the gallery.

First, I always love walking into the Robert Tino Art Gallery. To say that it is beautiful inside and out would be an understatement.

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The house that holds the gallery is lovely.

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It is especially beautiful in the summer.

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The release party was to be held from 10:00-3:00 p.m. There would be a tasting and specials on wine and art. It is a delightful collaboration.

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I walked through the front door and immediately saw the new print framed and sitting on a table. I just now noticed this special frame and may have to go back and get it. Notice the front part of the frame. The whole thing is enchanting.

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This table is perfection!

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I wandered into the next room and was met by Holly Jones and David Elrod. Holly serves as Director of Community Outreach and Strategy for Friends of the Smokies. David is a manager for Sugarland Cellars. He explained how this summer wine comes from 3 grapes, the most interesting being a ‘Niagra’ grape. It is the same grape used to make Welches white grape juice. I noted that it was a semi-sweet wine with a nice taste of real grapes.

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A taste allowed gallery customers try it before purchase. It was very good! Elrod explained that it is a white table wine; therefore, it needs to be consumed within ten to twelve months. It does not age well. Pair it with chicken, fish, pasta, or salad.

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I asked the price and it only costs $20 a bottle—including the signature of the artist! I was not expecting such a reasonable price for a collectable bottle. The print is stunning and the wine completely surprised me so I bought one for a gift. Look how beautiful the label is above!  The blue bottle is perfect.

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Robert Tino explained that he has gone to the mountains, mainly Elkmont and Greenbrier, many times to see the fireflies. The idea of painting the fireflies became more clear to him as his considered what to paint for the wine label this summer.  In all, this is the sixth label of the series for Sugarlands Cellars. There is a limited number though—only 1,000 bottles are available.

Tino began the collaboration with Sugarland Cellars in 2012. In all, Holly said that it has contributed over $100,00 to the Friends of the Smokies through the years. A percentage of each sale adds up.

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This is Ginger, a Tino fan from Knoxville with family roots in the King’s Branch Road area. She bought two prints to take home. I may have to go back and get the one on the right for myself!

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I got confused for a moment about terminology, but David Elrod explained how ‘cellars’ indicates wine, while ‘distilleries’ create other spirits. Sugarland Cellars is located in Gatlinburg. The address is 1133 Parkway in Gatlinburg.

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Artist, Robert Tino, signs a bottle of Sugarland Cellars wine with a gold marker.

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You can see his signature on my bottle above. The gold signature complements the gold text on the label. It is exquisite.

Because it is a collectible, one must be careful not to throw the bottle in the trash just by habit when it is finished. That would be unfortunate!

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I was excited to buy a signed bottle of Sugarland Cellars “Dance of the Fireflies” wine with a signature by artist Robert Tino. That is the least that I can do to be a Friend of the Smokies! After the year that they have had, we need to go the extra mile.

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There are so many beautiful things to see at the gallery. I must return soon.

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Remember that there are only a limited number of bottles. Get yours soon!

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It was a great way to get out and about in Sevierville while helping Friends of the Smokies.

 

 

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…

 

 

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

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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!