Sevierville Teacher Honored at Clarence Brown Theatre: Remembering Our Own ‘Blithe Spirit’

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Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young lady who grew up in Sevierville and was highly talented in the Arts. Deborah Webb attended Sevier County High School and later, the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. While a student at UTK, this talented young lady appeared in several productions at the Clarence Brown Theatre, including the part of Edith, the maid in Blithe Spirit.

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Here is an actual photo from the Clarence Brown production with Deborah Webb, pictured on the far left in the role as Edith the maid.

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I found this college photo of Deborah playing Babe in the play Crimes of the Heart at the University of Tennessee Carousel Theatre.

After college, Deborah taught drama at Sevier County High School for years, sharing a love of theater with her students. She was loved by students and respected by faculty and staff at SCHS.

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As time went on, Deborah continued to practice her craft by starring in Knoxville productions which were enjoyed by her family, friends and colleagues.

 

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In February 2017, several colleagues from Sevier County High School attended Deborah Webb’s performance in Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a delightful comedy with a female cast at the Pellissippi State Theatre,.

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I was lucky to attend the play with these ladies. Deborah Webb had comedic timing that we enjoyed in her plays; consequently, this was my favorite performance by our friend. In fact, Melinda and I still talk about this play and some of our favorite lines from the show. Pictured left to right are Kristie Atchley, Melinda Derrick, and Kim McMahan.

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Deborah Webb passed away last year and we have missed her very much. It was important to do something to remember and honor our favorite local actress…

Fast forward to Febuary 23, 2020 at the Clarence Brown Theatre…

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Family and friends united to honor Deborah Webb with a seat plate dedication after a recent production of Blithe Spirit at Clarence Brown Theatre.

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The event was planned by Melinda Derrick, English teacher at Sevier County High School. Melinda is a colleague and friend of the actress.

Melinda explains, “After Deborah Webb, our friend and colleague, passed away last June, we decided to remember her by  having a nameplate placed on one of the chairs at the University of Tennessee’s Clarence Brown Theatre.  Deborah studied and acted at U.T., and after completing her degree, she continued enjoying Clarence Brown and Carousel Theatre productions with her daughter Ryah.

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Melinda continued,” Deborah also acted in a number of plays in Knoxville including The Heidi Chronicles at the Knoxville Museum of Art; Love, Loss  and What I Wore at Pellissippi State; and her final play Dog Act at Knoxville’s Flying Anvil Theatre.  Deborah was also Sevier County High School’s drama teacher for several years, so it seemed only fitting that we honor her memory in this personal way. “

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 “After deciding on our remembrance and contacting Clarence Brown Theatre personnel, we got to work collecting donations from Deborah’s friends and colleagues, and upon Ryah’s suggestion, on Sunday afternoon, February 23, a group of Deborah’s friends, her daughter, and her mother enjoyed Clarence Brown Theatre’s final production of Blithe Spirit, a play Deborah acted in during her tenure as a U.T. drama student. “

The Event

Friends and family of Deborah Webb met in the theater lobby for Blithe Spirit on Sunday, February 23 for the matinee performance.

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Ryah Parkhurst and her grandmother were special guests for the event. Patricia is Deborah Webb’s mother. Ryah is the daughter of Deborah Webb and also a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a degree in Linguistics and Russian.

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Next, we met Nancy and Michael Hodges. Michael is a retired teacher from Sevier County High School, teaching classes in both English and Music Theory. He now serves as the Director of Music for First Baptist Church in Gatlinburg.

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Jim Overholt, a friend and colleague of Deborah Webb, enjoyed Blithe Spirit with his wife Jill. Combined Studies Studies students at Sevier County High School remember Dr. Overholt and his passion for history.

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Melinda Derrick chats pre-show with Dr. Overholt, Jill Overholt and Patricia Webb.

 

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Clarence Brown seems to look down upon us with approval as we headed toward our seats to celebrate the career of our friend, Deborah Webb.

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We found our seats and prepared for the show. In 1941, Blithe Spirit was a smash hit in London, on Broadway, and finally, in film. In the zany comedy,  a novelist and his socialite wife invite another couple to dinner as well as a local clairvoyant to provide entertainment. Things quickly get out of hand when the author’s first wife, now a ghost, shows up on the scene. Playwright Noel Coward’s lines are quick and witty so it was a delightful performance. Time stood still on a Knoxville Sunday afternoon at the theater.

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At the end of the play, we waited for the crowd to clear out and prepared for the chair dedication. You can see the chair in the second row covered with the red material and ready for presentation.

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Clarence Brown Theatre Director Tom Cervone was ready to speak to our group and initiate the chair plate presentation ceremony.

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Our group felt solemn as we saw the draped seat in front of us.  The technical cast cleared the stage in the background since it was the final performance for the show.

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Clarence Brown Theatre Managing Director Tom Cervone spoke to our group after the play and remembered Deborah as a friend and a good actress. He recalled several plays during their time together at CBT and an out of state festival that held good memories. Like the rest of us, he expressed his sadness, but celebrated Deborah Webb’s dedication and career on the stage. Seated for the dedication from left to right: Lauren McCarty, Latin teacher at SCHS; Ryah Parkhurst, Patricia Webb, Jill Overholt, Jim Overholt, Michael Hodges, Nancy Hodges, Sheley Rose, retired Speech and Drama teacher at Sevier County High School; and Melinda Derrick.

Director Tom Cervone removed the curtain to reveal the special seat plate dedicated to Deborah Webb.

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Not coincidentally, Deborah Webb’s seat plate is located next to the seat dedicated to Dale Gilmore, a retired colleague from the English Department at Sevier County High School. Dale frequently brought students to see productions at the Clarence Brown Theatre; to wit, a few years ago he also had a seat dedicated to honor his support of education and the Arts.  I looked at the two seats and then the thought occurred to me…

Deborah Webb and Dale Gilmore will now have the best seats in the house. 

Our friend, Sheley Rose, is a colleague and Speech/ Drama teacher who knew Deborah Webb well. Sheley offered her memories and good thoughts of a fellow thespian.

Sheley says, “Deborah Webb was not only my colleague in the Fine Arts Department at Sevier County High School but was also a friend and fellow patron of the Arts. As fellow teachers we promoted and celebrated the Arts in the annual Evening with the Arts program, showcasing student talent in theater arts, visual art, and music (chorus and band). I miss Deborah’s “I Require Art” posts on her Facebook page. Deborah was a caring and loving teacher and friend. She posted on her Facebook page, “I love my work of teaching because it brings me into contact with some fantastic people. Some of the students you can never let go.” She served as a mentor and role model to many of her students. She not only developed their minds and talent but also their hearts and spirits.” 

On a personal note, Deborah and I shared a love of live theater, the movies, dance and books. Our favorite playwrights were Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, among others. Deborah was a talented actor and especially fond of performing in plays at Clarence Brown Theatre at her alma mater, the University of Tennessee. When I retired in 2007, Deborah gave me a book titled The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, a 20th century African American poet and playwright. I bought a book for Deborah’s retirement in 2019, but, sadly, she passed away before I could give it to her. The book was titled Wise Women, a collection of biographies and photos of wise women through the ages. Deborah Webb certainly deserves a page in this book.

Godspeed, my friend.
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Rose Glen Literary Festival 2020

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Last Saturday, I experienced one of the best things ever offered in Sevierville: the Rose Glen Literary Festival. I had not attended in the past due to schedule conflicts or thinking that it was purely for writers. When I saw the speaker line up for this year, it became a ‘must see’ event. So glad that my friends and I were able to attend  this amazing local festival. Surely,  there is something for everyone.

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The Rose Glen Literary Festival takes place in the Sevierville Convention Center. This is the best place for the event due to the crowds and vendors that I witnessed on Saturday. What a nice location and property. It truly is a pleasant place to spend several hours.

The event is free; there is only a charge for lunch. I could not believe that such a high caliber event was free to the public! What a treasure!

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One of the most popular and highly attended sessions, of course, was presented by Dr. Bill Bass. Dr. Bass is professor of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, an author, and a nationally known forensic expert. I have heard his presentations before and knew that he was not to be missed. You need to arrive early to secure a seat.

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I was even more excited because I was lucky enough to take Anthropology 101 while attending UT— taught by Dr. Bass himself. How lucky can you be? I am definitely a fan.

Frank Murphy, a Knoxville talent, often works with Dr. Bass and presided over the questions at the end of the presentation. This session was standing room only. In the future, I recommend that any conference who hosts a session by Dr. Bass consider doubling the size of the room because it will be packed.

We appreciated the stories and admired the color of Dr. Bass’s tie. Go Vols!

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The skylights, large windows, and neutral decor create a pleasant area to shop for books. Many attendees bought at least one or two books to take home that afternoon.

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I picked up a copy of this local publication.

Sam Venable is a local writer and his columns in the News Sentinel always make me chuckle. Joey Rose gets an autograph on his new book.

I saw this article in the Mountain Press and realized an important opportunity to hear a witness to history. His presentation was riveting. Everyone should hear Walter Ziffer’s message.

I hope to read his book very soon.

Sheley was impressed with this presentation and bought the book in order to continue reading Walter Ziffer’s story. Had he been the only speaker at the event, it would have been sufficient because the session was extraordinary.

There were books on local history and personalities. I danced twice on the Cas Walker Show when I was six years old so I had to pick up that one to take home.

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My friends told me that the Keynote speaker during the luncheon was outstanding and they bought several of her books. I hope to read them soon myself. She will also participate in a literary festival in Asheville next month if anyone wants to hear more.

Luncheon attendees were delighted to receive a souvenir gift created by the Old Mill Pottery shop in Pigeon Forge. What better way to enjoy a book or morning reading?

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I spied a free gift in the back pages of the Rose Glen program. This is a good bookstore so we will visit within the next few weeks!

In conclusion, the Rose Glen Literary Festival was a revelation to me because of so many good books, authors, and speakers. Many thanks to the planners and organizers of this event. It was truly a treasure and we are lucky to have it in Sevierville. I never plan to miss another one. See you next year!

 

Barbara Tenney’s Savory Appetizers Demo—Just in Time for the Holidays at KaTom

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Last Saturday, I made it just in time for Barbara Tenney’s savory appetizer demo at KaTom. The recipes were so quick and easy that I would consider trying to make them in the future. Here is a quick photo review.

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First, I watched Barbara prepare the rosemary roasted cashews.

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Fresh rosemary is essential for this appetizer.

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You will use most of a container of cashews. We buy this container at Costco or Sam’s Club and they are fabulous!

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The recipe is very easy: mix, stir, and bake. The aroma invited all KaTom customers to come over to the kitchen area.

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It is one of the easiest appetizers to prepare for the holidays—or anytime.

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Next, it was time to see the demo for parmesan and thyme crackers.

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Chill the dough first. The secret is to use White Lily flour. That is always the best choice.

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The directions are as simple as mix, roll, chill, cut, and bake. Voila!

The crackers do not ‘rise’ as a biscuit or roll; rather, they become warm and fragrant. I was surprised how light and tasty the crackers turned out and tried a couple more to make sure. So good!

KaTom has one more holiday demo this Saturday when Barbara Tenney will prepare New Year’s appetizers: overnight marinated shrimp and cheddar-stuffed mushrooms. One could easily envision those treats served on an elegant tray at a party so that will be a nice end to this holiday series. The demo starts at 11:00 so save me a seat at the counter!

Smoky Bear Turkey Chase 5K 2019

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It was a frosty morning that turned out to be perfect for the SCHS Foundation Smoky Bear Turkey Chase 5K. Although I dreaded the cold, I bundled up (since only walking the race this year) and it was not that bad at all. Here are some pictures from the race today.

Runner’s were filing into the stadium bright and early Thanksgiving morning.

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On-site registration table signed up about 50 walk in runners.

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This is my favorite races in regard to swag bags and door prizes.

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Early registrants got their bibs quickly.

Some colleagues preparing for the race. Guess which two are walkers and which two are runners?

The sun rises on the stadium. Countdown…10 minutes.

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You may run into many friends at this race. My friend Anita, pictured center, participated in this race for the first time and placed third in her age group. So inspired by her!

Mascots ready to cheer on the runners.

Soon, the start gun sounded and everyone began to move.

This is my favorite part of the course. The fall foliage is lovely.

A view of the track and crowd gathered at the finish line near the stands.

This cool sign summarizes our thoughts after the 5K today. Finish well.

 

 

I love my souvenir race shirt. Long sleeved tees are the best in these colder temps.

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The best part is reaching 90% of your daily activity requirements by 9:00 a.m!

Check the results on the SCHS Foundation link https://knoxvilleyouthathletics.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/2019-Smoky-Bear-Turkey-Chase-5K-Age-Group-Results.pdf

In conclusion, the SCHS Foundation Smoky Bear Turkey Chase 5K is one of the best little races in Tennessee. My friends and I enjoyed participating among 250 racers from over 20 states to benefit the STEM Scholarship at Sevier County High School. Bravo to Nancy Trundle Hewitt and her volunteers for putting on one of the best races in Tennessee on Thanksgiving morning. I think that it is my favorite.

See you next year at the finish line!

Fashion For a Cure 2019

One of the best events of the year for ladies took place last Monday evening: Fashion for a Cancer Cure, presented by the Smoky Mountain Cancer Support Group. Under the direction of Carlene Maples, the event offered food, auction items, shopping, a fashion show, and examples of bravery by some amazing local ladies. My friends and I shared a table and had a great evening while helping the American Cancer Society. Here is a quick recap of the evening. 

I arrived after work and found my friends, then we found our beautifully decorated table. This is truly a great Monday event and I looked forward to it all day.

This blog name was used for our table name plate.

After finding our table, we went in different directions to do some shopping.

Some of the silent auction items were tempting desserts by the best bakers in Sevierville. Elaine and I later made a ‘power bid’ on the Key Lime pound cake, pictured in the cake carrier above—and we won it. The cake defied words!

The gift certificate tree is always a favorite. So many good things! So many gift ideas!

There were many other auction items to see. I was also tempted by a nice Samsonite luggage set, but let it go to another bidder. What a deal though!

The evening began with a greeting by event director, Carlene Maples. She has such a strong testimony from battling two bouts of cancer.  You will be touched by her strength and dedication to finding a cure for this horrible disease.

Soon, it was time to go through the buffet line. I was so happy not to have to cook dinner. Everything on the table was quite good from the Wright Stuff caterers.

Everyone wanted this beautiful desk that was available through a special auction.

Soon, it was time for the fashion show to begin. We saw models come out individually and heard a description of the clothing item, along with the store from which to shop each look.

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These young models were poised and cool. So cute!

Models gathered on stage at the end of the first fashion grouping.

Everyone is on trend here!

The smallest model was adorable and ‘hit all her marks.’

These young models are holiday ready.

Our favorite model was Rhonda Hodge, a friend and cancer survivor.

 

Each model came out individually to show a fall or holiday outfit. Along with the outfit description, we learned that many of the models are cancer survivors, even a young girl who was diagnosed when she was only 11 months old. Each story was sobering, yet inspiring. We applauded the courage and resilience of each lady.

Unfortunately, I did not take notes on the clothes in each grouping because I just sat back and enjoyed the show. The event was a real treat after a long Monday at work.

Many of the beautiful fashions were from our favorite local boutique: Loralei’s. I can always find good Christmas presents there and bought my clear Vols bag there. You can find amazing gifts for anyone at Loralei’s. The Facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/Loraleis.on.main/

This is a good place to eat in downtown Sevierville; in fact, I had lunch there on Saturday with several friends.

This is my favorite coffee/donut/ lunch place downtown Sevierville.

Look here for floral and decorating needs. Many people stop by to take beautiful photos in front of the gorgeous store windows. Always lovely!

All too soon, the fashion show was over and we were heading out the door with our silent auction items. We were thinking about beautiful clothing and the ladies who have overcome odds to survive cancer and thrive. We left inspired.

If you get a chance to attend this event next year, make sure that you do so because it is a great way to support cancer survivors and their families. I look forward to Fashion For a Cure each year and recommend it for everyone. Save me a seat near the runway!

The Past Came to Life During History and Haunts 2019

Despite a threat of rain, I went downtown to see the last weekend of History and Haunts in downtown Sevierville. What a nice event! This was a special event that took place every Saturday in October. Each Saturday offered unique activities and fun. I was particularly looking forward to the last Saturday in October due to the Haunted History walking tour, led by Sevier County Historian Carroll McMahan—and it was amazing.

There were a couple of food vendors parked in front of the courthouse. This one is becoming quite popular.

The Sevierville Commons Arts Council never disappoints with their ‘make-it-and-take-it’ art. I got a little souvenir of the season. How cute!

The Sevierville Commons Art Council had an amazing assortment of fall crafts for all ages. I especially enjoyed the pumpkin painting and the homemade masks. In the photo above, Crystal is helping me cut a mask to resemble a cat for my work outfit tomorrow. Thank you!

Fall was in full force downtown.

Music on the courthouse steps created a festive atmosphere. You could actually get a seat because a huge crowd was on the first Haunted History walking tour at 6:00. I was hoping to do the 7:30 tour to enjoy it after dark.

Downtown is lovely right now so go see it if you get a chance.

It was dark and approaching the time for the 7:30 Haunted History walking tour. It was full of tales about past Sevier County citizens, many who met a tragic end. The actors above were members of the Seymour High School Drama and Forensics group. They were excellent!

I checked the radar on my iPhone (as my friends and colleagues know that I do) and saw that showers and thunderstorms were nearby. Because the threat of bad weather, the 7:30 walking history tour took place in front of the courthouse. It was a good call.

Dolly seemed to be listening to the tales along with us.

The students were assigned a person in Sevier County history and given a brief background about the person, but it was the students’ responsibility to create lines and to retell the story in the ‘first person.’ They did a great job! Caroll McMahan, Sevier County Historian, led the tours and introduced the former Sevier County residents.

“Former residents’ summarized their lives…and their untimely ends. I really enjoyed the improvisation and the interaction between the actors and Carroll McMahan, our county historian.

This unfortunate character ended up with an axe in the head.  (The actor said that you can find and axe like this one on Amazon!)

Each character told their story quite cheerfully. The students skillfully performed their lines and roles. Bravo!

At the end, choir members from Northview Academy sang a somber song to close the event. I wish that I could remember the name of the song because it was so pretty.

Because storms were headed our way, I decided to skip the storytellers and to save that for next time. In conclusion, it was such a nice event! I had heard of it before and had always wanted to do it, particularly the Haunted History walking tour with actors. I was so glad that I had the opportunity to experience History and Haunts during October and recommend it for you next year. It was such a nice evening.

See you out and about in Sevierville…

Howl-O-Ween Fun at History and Haunts October 10, 2019

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The Howl-O-Ween Dog Costume Contest was gearing up when I arrived for the second weekend of History and Haunts in downtown Sevierville. Music and lawn games were already taking place too.

Contestants were preparing for the dog costume contest.

The Sevierville Commons Arts Council had a wonderful craft for young and old—masks!

These masks were made by artists and attendees at the event. Free fun for everyone. Don’t ever miss a ‘make-it-and-take it’ event by the Arts Council. So fun! 

Waiting excitedly for the contest.

Several businesses were on hand to share information and prizes. I am pretty sure that I used this one a long time ago when I had a water leak in my apartment across town. I would definitely call them again.

There is a saying: No matter where you go, you can always find a sombrero. I loved this little dog. He is a rescue animal. His owner said that he is so good with people and other animals. My kind of pet!

When you have three dogs, a carriage seems to be a good idea. These pet owners were ready for the event with the cutest little costumes on their fur babies.

I asked this young man about the costume. He said that he found this lobster costume at a TJ Maxx. I need to go shopping there again for my pup next year.

The trophies were serious.

Minions!

I loved Beagle Juice! I think that this pup may have won two awards. The first time that I have seen a dog wig. So funny.

All the winners lined up for the ‘Best of Show’ category.

I believe that one of the contest judges is quite a canine expert.

This vendor was certainly in the right place.

Dressed for the season and the contest. This pup was the best behaved, of course!

This vendor had info and it reminded me that it is time to make an appointment for a facial. The MediSpa has aesthetic and cosmetic treatments. The Sevierville location is 740 Middle Creek Rd, Suite 111.   www.medispaknoxderm.com

It was fun to take home a little MediSpa goodie bag!

The gazebo area downtown is really special when the sun sets and I enjoy being there.  The courthouse is illuminated in the distance. 

I walked to my car to take one last picture of Dolly and the October night sky when …

I noticed a Smoky Mountain storyteller sitting nearby telling tales. I joined them to hear a few stories. Some sounded like real mountain tragedies that happened long ago. The lady held us spellbound with her tales and presentation. It was a perfect end to the History and Haunts second weekend.

But get ready…there is more! 

This Saturday, October 19, will find zombies taking over the downtown area.

“Thriller” music video dance lesson at 5:00 p.m.

Zombie costume contest at 6:00 p.m..

A Zombie Walk downtown at 7:00 p.m. (so you won’t be surprised if you drive by or stop into Graze for dinner).

Zombie flash mob and Thriller dance at 8:00 p.m.

Starting at 5:00, the Sevierville Commons Arts Council will offer a ‘paint your own pumpkin’ activity that will decorate your home quite nicely for the rest of October. This craft will fun for everyone in the family.

A lot will be happening downtown on Saturday evening so come out to join the fun that only happens once a year.

See you out and about in Sevierville!

History and Haunts: October 5, 2019

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I arrived about 5:45 to see the first weekend of History and Haunts in downtown Sevierville. Although it took place at the same time as a Vols home game and the Tino Homecoming, there were quite a few people enjoying the event. And what a nice evening it was!  Here are some pictures from my visit and the Walking History tour that highlighted famous African American brick masons in Sevierville.

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I parked behind Sevier County Bank (my bank) and walked to the back of the gazebo area for the History and Haunts event. Henderson’s Produce was at their usual spot and had some beautiful pumpkins for sale. (I ended up buying several bags of produce on my way out so the bank was a good parking choice.)

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Always glad to see Courthouse Donuts and all their treats. There is no better downtown supporter than this business!

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Next, I found the Sevierville Commons Arts Council table with the ‘make-it-and-take-it’ craft. So fun! Kids of all ages will enjoy the Arts Council crafts.

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The only limit is your imagination!

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I made it in time for the 6:00 Historic Walking Tour of downtown Sevierville, led by Carroll McMahan. The tour would focus on Sevierville citizens who were African American brick masons. Their bricks built most of downtown!

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It was easy to find the tour. Just walk up and enjoy!

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We walked up Court Avenue to hear Carroll McMahan tell us about buildings formed by local brick masons and to hear about some local history. We heard names like Isaac Dockery, Tom McMahan, and Stuart Burden. One of the people taking in the tour was also a descendant of Isaac Dockery. It was fascinating.

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You can see so many brick buildings downtown and most were built by local African American brick masons. They had their own kilns so they could make the bricks on their properties off Allensville Road and Middle Creek Road.

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We wandered by more houses with historic significance. This building was originally a hotel that served early visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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We walked by this building. It has changed ownership since I was here a while ago.

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The old Sevierville Post Office was a stop on the tour. When I moved to Sevierville, it was still open!

At the end of the tour, I wandered around the gazebo area before the sunset. However, I imagine it will be nice after that because the event was open until 9:00.

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This business will be relocating soon downtown. I cannot wait!

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Next, I wandered over to see some of my favorite vendors. This is my favorite soap artist. She has some lovely things for the fall season. I hope she is back next week!

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There were some other new vendors at the event downtown.

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Several games were located by the gazebo. Come and play Jenga or Cornhole!

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It is a great family event. Four legged family members on a leash are welcome too.

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The sun sets on the courthouse with pumpkins ready to be taken home.

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Signs of fall.

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History and Haunts will take place every Saturday in October. Go to www.downtownhistoryandhaunts.com to see more.

Next week, there will be music, games, fall crafts, storytellers, a downtown walking tour, and a Howl-O-Ween Dog Costume Contest. Registration at 6:45 and the contest will take place at 7:00. Bring your fur baby!

A Zombie takeover will take place on October 17, with a costume contest at 6:00 p.m. A Zombie walk follows at 7:00 p.m. At 8:00 p.m., a flash mob will perform the dance from the famous video “Thriller.” Lessons will take place at 5:00 p.m. for those who want to perfect their dance moves for the flash mob at 8:00.

October 26 will be amazing! Live music, games, fall crafts, and food will accompany the main event: Haunted History walking tours. Sevierville Historian, Carroll McMahan, will lead a Sevierville Walking History tour that will feature actors from Seymour High School’s Drama Club that will bring the past back to life. Tours will take place at 6:00 p.m. and 7:30p.m. I’ll be there for the later one to enjoy the tour after sunset. There is sure to be some seasonal ambiance.

Lots of fun activities will be happening downtown Sevierville on Saturdays in October. Scare up a friend or two and come on down. See you out and about in Sevierville.

 

Dog Fashion Show 2019

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Sevier Animal Care Center and Sevier County Humane Society conducted the 2019 Dog Fashion Show at the fairgrounds Saturday morning. Paws were strutting and costumes were modeled in various categories. It was a ‘ruff’ assignment, but I knew that I had to see the show. Follow along to see the contestants and winners in this fun event.

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I parked in the lot and walked onto the fairgrounds to find the Show Stage. It was fun to see everything a few hours before opening time as the Dog Fashion Show took place at 11:00 a.m., but the fair did not open until 3:00. This is a view that you will not often see. All was quiet and still.

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The Sevier County Fair is one of the best family events of the year. Within that week, the dog show event is also perfect for family members that have feet, or paws, as evidenced by this family coming to the event.

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I walked in and found a hay bale in front of the stage. Dress for warm temps for it will be a warm August morning.

Dogs are fast. Dogs are faster than the shutter speed on my iPhone so I devoted this article more to photos and did not take any notes. As a result, I don’t remember many names or background stories; consequently, I will let my photos tell the story.

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Chances are that you will sit near some cuties.

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During breaks, the Sevier County Humane Society and the Sevier Animal Care Center directors informed the crowd of their work and local intake statistics. They also gave tips to owners on a variety of topics. One good tip was to write your name and phone number on the inside of your pet’s dog collar in case they get lost. Most importantly, spay and neuter pets. Unfortunately, people do not spay or neuter they animals. For that reason, the intake center received more than 2,500 pets in the past 8 months. Unbelievable. Spay and neuter help is available at (865) 453-7000. The Facebook page is https://sevierhumane.org/spay-neuter/

Sevier Animal Care Center http://www.sevieranimalcarecenter.com

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Judges and organizers were ready to begin.

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Dogs were required to be on leashes. All were very friendly too. I liked this costume!

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This beautiful animal was a rescue dog. It was found emaciated and in bad shape, but was later adopted by this young family. A happy ending!

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Pretty in Pink!

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This owner was patiently waiting her turn.

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The contestants came in all sizes and ages. You did not have to walk your dog very far to compete.

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I loved this little chihuahua because it is 15 years old. Mine is too! You can walk older dogs or those with health issues. The contest is actually very relaxed and no pressure. Look at the judges admire and encourage this sweet senior dog.

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I love a dog in a sombrero!

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Pirate dog.

Event registration is a $5 donation. You don’t really have to spend any money to come up with a costume, just imagination.


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Judges were encouraging to all the contestants. You could tell that they were having a good time as much as the audience. Everyone was in very good mood. Who wouldn’t be with dogs?

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This dog contestant is eligible for adoption. What a nice, happy pup!

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Dog tricks are a good way to impress the judges and audience. So cute!

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A slight costume slip did not stop this contestant.

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This four month old pup is also up for adoption. It is practically house trained and good with kids and other animals.

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It was clear that the tent was full of animal lovers.

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These are two dog strollers full of fun. This couple brought 5 dogs and went home with several ribbons. They came to compete! Here is the 15 year old chihuahua again. Sweet thing! So mellow.

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This dog was pageant ready in a hand made dress. Pretty in pink!

Finally, it was time for the awards. Here were the categories:

  • Go Orange
  • Best Dressed
  • Pop Culture
  • Funniest
  • Prettiest
  • Owner/Pet Lookalike
  • Best Overall

It got hectic for me with all the awards, prizes, and presentations, but I was able to snap a few pictures in the excitement of it all.

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It was amazing, but they were able to get both dogs to pose together for the winners’ circle photo above. Each was very mellow and well mannered with all the attention and fuss.

The Dog Fashion Show was a great success and everyone had a good time, both human and canine alike. Next year will bring new contenders. Consider bringing your pet in a fun hat or outfit. Who knows? I may enter my dog in the Owner/Pet Lookalike category next year. It is sure to be a great time while supporting two of the hardest working organizations in the county, Sevier Animal Care and the Sevier County Humane Society.

See you next year!

Creative Theater Production of “Annie” Made Us Fall in Love with Theater Again

We went to see the production of  “Annie” at the Creative Theater in Pigeon Forge and it made us fall in love with theater all over again. I had seen pictures and good reviews on social media of this production, but was even more impressed after seeing it with my own eyes. Take someone special there this week because the performances are wonderful. Now, I will tell you seven reasons why I enjoyed the performance and why you need to see “Annie” this week. 

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1. The Personal Connection

I was initially interested in seeing the production with my sister and her family because the young actress in the lead role is good friends with my niece. They are in the same class together at school in Morristown. We had to come and support her talented best friend!

 

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And we love dogs! What a cute pup for the role of ‘Sandy.’

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The screenshot above shows the four shows  left this week. IMG_6956 2

2. The Quality

This musical was a hit in 1977 and it is a hit now in Pigeon Forge. I expected a good performance; however, the production set a high standard—and met it. I forgot that I was not in Knoxville, Nashville, Atlanta, or even the theater district in NYC. Acting and voices were wonderful. Costumes were beautiful (or beautifully shabby in the case of the orphans) and the sets were so interesting. Part of the fun of the show is when you see the stage changed from one scene to the next. It is fun to see the change.

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We bought tickets in the balcony and were ready for the show to begin by seven o’clock.

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As you can see, the theater is a nice size with a main floor and a balcony. You can also see the stage and how they change the sets.

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If you sit in the balcony, the safety rail will be in your line of sight, but you get used to it. After a minute, your eyes will be riveted to the stage below.

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3.  The Music

Everyone knows at least two songs from this musical: “Hard-Knock Life” and “Tomorrow.” You will want to sing along and may recognize a few more tunes. In the photo above, the ‘orphans’ were adorable and everyone hit their marks. The young actors kept the pace lively.

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4. Nostalgia and History

This was one of my favorite scenes in the show for several reasons. First, I enjoyed seeing the group together and hearing the ‘Cabinet’ sing. Second, the actor portraying Franklin Roosevelt was so authentic in his portrayal that FDR seemed to ‘come back to life’ in 2019. Third, I knew that they invited a guest to do a cameo for the evening, but didn’t know when he would appear. Follow Creative Theater on Facebook and you will know who to expect in the cameo each day. Our cameo actor for the evening  is pictured above, second from the right.

 

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I know that he had so much fun!

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The musical takes place during the Great Depression so the audience will see historical and cultural references that bring back memories. The radio show and commercials did that for me. The poor people walking in the city reminded us of the hard times during the Great Depression. Presidents were mentioned, like Hoover and FDR. The portrayal of the president was perfection.

5.  Feelings

A good stage production will make you think and it will evoke feelings. “Annie” did both for me.  I found myself smiling during most of the production. I smiled. I tapped my feet and hummed. Surprisingly, a tear even came to my eyes during the first playing of the song “Tomorrow.” It must be the most well known tune from the show, with a theme of optimism in spite of life’s battles. If you listen to the words and think of someone fighting a battle right now then you may also fight back a tear as well.

6. Red Carpet Picture

I had seen a friend post a special picture on Facebook where they looked like they were on a red carpet, standing under a movie marquee. My niece and I found the spot during  the 15 minute intermission and were able to take a picture with ‘Sandy,’ the dog. There was no charge, just a suggestion to show it on social media in order to help publicity.

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This was a wonderful souvenir and we were delighted. What a special touch to an already special event! Make sure that you take your camera/phone and do this by the end of intermission.

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The second act will fly by too quickly so enjoy it!

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I love the curtain call at the end of a play when the actors are recognized for their work.

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What wonderful young performers!

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These were formidable actors in sinister/comedic roles.

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Miss Hannigan was superb!

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Ron Solomon played Oliver Warlocks perfectly and had a wonderful singing voice. It was a pleasure to witness his scenes. Laura Taliferro played a kind Grace Farrell, secretary to Warbucks. I felt transported by her voice as well. She truly had a wonderful aura about her that surpassed the stage.

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A standing ovation for Jennie Marie Davis and the entire cast of “Annie!”

7.  Meeting the Cast

I have never attended a performance where you could meet the cast after the show. You will get to do that at the Creative Theater and it is magical!

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The lead actress celebrates with classmates and home town friends from Morristown.

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These three actors really ‘chewed up the scenery’ and made their marks on the musical. Marvin West was excellent as the policeman and FDR. You forgot that he was in character because it seemed so real. The audience could not control their laughter during the scenes with Jonathan Weathersby (Rooster) and Turner Morris (Lily St. Regis). I will not give away that scene, but it was the high point of the comedy for us. So funny!

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Don’t be shy! During the ‘meet and greet’ after the show, congratulate the actors and get a picture to remember the show. I always wanted my picture with another president!

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We left the theater and walked out to our cars, thinking about what a fantastic show that we had just witnessed in our own county. There are different kinds of theaters here, but this one is quite special. It is a community theater that allows community member to take part in productions and to try different aspects of the stage. It can help teach beginners while letting veterans shine!

Growing up in Morristown, we would go see performances at the Morristown Theater Guild. In fact, I first saw “Fiddler on the Roof” there and have never forgotten it. It was magical. In the same sense, I truly enjoyed the performance of “Annie” at the Creative Theater and am thinking about going again this week. Make sure you see this show while you still have a chance. It is amazing theater and made us fall in love with it all over again. 

You will too!

Here is the link to the Facebook page. Keep up with upcoming shows, photos, and video feeds after the performances.

https://www.facebook.com/creativetheatergroup/