Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass 2019

IMG_5651

This is the premier event for downtown Sevierville—and 2019 didn’t disappoint. There were crowds, great food, music, and a few storms. However, it looked bigger and better than last year. I am ‘limited’ when it comes to heat and crowds so I didn’t linger, but I did manage two quick visits and a few photos.

IMG_5677

I parked near Sevier County Bank and walked in the back way. In doing so, I passed several trailers that housed the cooking competitors. The signs and slogans were fun to view. Here are a few examples in collages.

IMG_5748 2

IMG_5742

IMG_5745

This is a local competitor based in Gatlinburg. It is family owned and operated. Must visit this summer!

IMG_5682

Another well known local competitor.

IMG_5691

IMG_5623

My other interest was the chalk art that would be happening on Bruce Street.

IMG_5695

IMG_5708

IMG_5705

IMG_5707

IMG_5699 2

I saw competitors carrying covered dishes to a secret location on Bruce Street.

IMG_5698

There was tight security for the competition. Would love to be a judge for that!

IMG_5711 2

There were all kinds of gift ideas.

IMG_5729 2

I really appreciated the Bush Beans company for the freebies. There were working hard both days handing out free individual servings of baked beans—perfect for barbecue.

IMG_5733 2

The company even let you take a photo with their mascot, Duke. What a good dog!

IMG_5736 2

Local businesses, like Courthouse Donuts, were open for extended hours during the event.

IMG_5720 2

There were several vendors, but this one has the largest sign and draws the longest lines.

IMG_5722 2

I got a brisket combo to go. It will last all weekend. So good! I will go back to them next year.

IMG_5725 2

That looks like enough sauce.

IMG_5715 2

Tents lined Court Avenue. I thought that all the vendors had good things to offer.

IMG_5726 2

Non-stop entertainment on the Bush stage.

IMG_5735 2

The Sevier County Courthouse had a crowd and non-stop entertainment as well.

IMG_5737 2A tip for next year: there was nice shade on the sidewalk across from the courthouse on Court Avenue. This would be a nice break or meet-up area out of the sun. If the dining tent were crowded then I spied a few shady steps here on which to sit.

Sorry that I didn’t get any people pictures—I am just not good in heat and crowds! However, these photos will give visitors a glimpse of what to enjoy next year. It is one of the best ways to be out and about in Sevierville. 

 

Hoops For Heroes 2019

 

IMG_3896

It was for the pride. It was for the honor. It was for Relay For Life.

IMG_5158

It was the second year that Sevier County First Responders came together to help the SCHS club support Relay For Life of Sevier County.

img_5118.jpg

I found a safe parking space.

IMG_5119

Fire trucks at the ready.

IMG_5157

The admission price was a great deal for there was a lot of action to see this year.

IMG_5120 2

IMG_5121

We arrived before the games began. Teams were warming up in preparation for their 8 minute battle for basketball dominance.

IMG_5125 2

Team captains were called to the front to get instructions. Beth Ownby was orchestrating the event and sharing information.

IMG_5124

Michael Maddron, Ben Brabson, and Bryan McCarter were preparing to put the 2nd Annual Hoops For Heroes event into motion.

IMG_5126

There were 5 teams last year and 13 teams this year. It was a crowded floor—which was great for the competition—and for the onlookers. Nonstop action.

img_5136.jpg

Next, it was time for the players to pose for a quick team photo. The Sevier County Fire Dept, Sevier County Sheriff’s Department, Sevierville Police, and Gatlinburg Police Departments were in good spirits and ready to play.

IMG_5138 2

More teams are ready to play.

IMG_5139

Sevier County’s finest were ready for the epic battle and the 2019 trophy.

IMG_5129

More teams meant a larger crowd this year—and a very successful event! Honestly, it kinds of looked like a Smoky Bears basketball game.

IMG_5127 2

Other Relay For Life Teams were present to support the event.

https://tinyurl.com/y4g6pfzt

Teams were introduced in the link above. It is a small moment that I captured on video.

IMG_5148

Play commenced and each team worked hard to advance to the finals.

 

https://tinyurl.com/y4rhqh8e

In the link above, Jamie Roberts scores for the Sevierville Police Department.

IMG_5159

I thought that the concessions were very reasonable and and there was a nice variety. Where can you buy a water for $1?

IMG_5151

This team was fierce!

IMG_5142

This photo composite rests on the wall across from the ladies room. For some reason, I always like looking at it when I pass it by in the hallway.

The 2019 Hoops for Heroes event was a success in many ways. More than double the teams participated this year; consequently, the crowd was larger and the donation was even greater.

I could see that this event is due to the efforts of many people. Thanks to the SCHS Relay For Life members and the sponsors, Ben Brabson and Leslie Mattern. Thanks to Michael Maddron and all the heroes who came to do battle on the basketball court. Thanks go to Bryan McCarter for announcing the games and adding his entertaining commentary. Thanks to Rebecca Cowan, the 2019 Chairperson for Relay For Life in Sevier County and the organization itself for their efforts to fight cancer and give patients resources that they  need for a better life.

I saw several photographers working the event so I sat back and enjoyed the games. As a result, this story is not very long, but I am sharing the link below so you can see all the photos that were uploaded to the Relay For Life Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1103354659867411/1120643591471851/?notif_t=admin_plan_mall_activity&notif_id=1555604285565775

This is a wonderful way for families to get out and about in Sevierville, enjoy sports, and support a noble cause. Save me a seat in the bleachers next year!

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

IMG_2808 2.JPG

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

img_2868 4

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

img_2760

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

img_2761

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

img_2763

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

img_2766

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

img_2764

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

img_2770

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

img_2772

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

img_2767

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

img_2769 7

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

I am rooting for them! img_2761.jpg

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

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

Sevierville, it has been my pleasure…

January 2018

 

February 2018

 

March 2018

 

April 2018

 

May 2018 

 

June 2018 

 

July 2018 

 

August 2018 

 

September 2018

 

October 2018

 

 

November 2018 

 

December 2018 

 

Today Makes 200 Blog Stories!

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

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

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

Here are some statistics screenshots that are interesting.

IMG_2867 2

IMG_2833 5

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

 

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

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

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

IMG_2868 2

 

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

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

IMG_2834 3

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

IMG_2838 2

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

 

IMG_2839 3

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

 

IMG_2869 2

 

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

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

See you out and about in Sevierville. 

 

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

IMG_9960

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

IMG_9961

Racers make the holiday run fun with festive headgear.

IMG_9963

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

IMG_9964

The refreshment team was ready to work.

IMG_9965

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

IMG_9967

Fun photo ops with mascots.

 

IMG_9969

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

IMG_9972

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

IMG_9973

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

IMG_9974

The Start/ Finish line was ready to go.

IMG_9975

Local runners were up bright and early.

IMG_9977

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

IMG_9979

Great the t -shirts! Love purple and white!

IMG_9981

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

IMG_9982

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

IMG_9983

I saw Judge Wade signing in and ready to run.

IMG_9986

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

IMG_9987

These runners were from North Carolina.

IMG_9995

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

IMG_9997

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

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

IMG_0010

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

IMG_0004

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

IMG_0012 2

This one prompted a few chuckles.

IMG_0035

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

This is my favorite spot on the 5K course.

IMG_0040

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

IMG_0051 More race signs to encourage the runners.

IMG_0055

 Water break station in front of the Smoky Bears stadium.

IMG_0067 2

The final lap begins for my friend.

IMG_0075 2

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

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

IMG_0078 2

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

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

IMG_0069 2

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

IMG_0080 2

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

IMG_0081 2

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

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

IMG_0085 4

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

IMG_0087 4

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

IMG_0092 2

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

IMG_0096 2

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

IMG_0107 3

Look for the race on eventbrite next year.

For race results, click this link.

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

 

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

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

Art Happening November 2018: Featured Artist, Marilyn Davenport

IMG_9575

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

IMG_9576

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

IMG_9578 15

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

IMG_9582

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

IMG_9590

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

IMG_9595

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

IMG_9585

Davenport’s jewelry is exquisite.

IMG_9586

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

IMG_9584

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

IMG_9592

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

IMG_9594

A sign of the season.

IMG_9591

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

IMG_9597IMG_9600 2.jpg

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

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

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

 

 

 

Holiday Demos Begin at KaTom for 2018

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

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

img_9450.jpg

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

IMG_9455

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

IMG_9454

IMG_9461

Candy thermometers are a must to get it perfect.

IMG_9463

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

IMG_9464

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

IMG_9468

Almost ready!

IMG_9470

 

IMG_9471

Voila! The finished product.

IMG_9466

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

IMG_9451

I want this coffee machine!

IMG_9453

KaTom is ready for the holidays.

IMG_9494

Here are the upcoming dates for holiday treats demonstrations:

IMG_2325 2IMG_2326IMG_2327 4IMG_2328IMG_2331

Save me a seat at the counter!

A Fashion Extravaganza: Fashion For a Cancer Cure 2018

IMG_2100

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

IMG_9117

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