New covered bridge logo promotes regional identity

By Julie Fann
star staff

The Elizabethton Chamber of Commerce on Friday unveiled its new logo for Elizabethton's historic covered bridge, which is celebrating its 120th birthday this year.
   Chamber representatives and members of the press gathered at the Covered Bridge Mini Park gazebo. Keith Young, Covered Bridge Festival chairman, said he believes the new logo illustrates a wider community identity.
   "It is my hope that the new logo will help give us a stronger identity. We hope it will also establish a presence here when we market regionally," he said. The Chamber continues to draw more interest from tourists and the office now receives more phone calls from a broader regional area.
   Young said the new logo, designed by the Art Department at East Tennessee State University, is different from the old one in that it incorporates area school colors to illustrate local patriotism. The blue background represents Hampton High School, the orange band stands for Elizabethton High School, and the maroon flag through the center signifies Happy Valley High School, while the green birds represent Unaka High School. A Chamber representative agreed with Young that the new logo focuses better on the region and said the Chamber hopes the logo will live on for years to come.
   Also presented at the unveiling were the new covered bridge T-shirts, provided by Elizabethton Electric System and Tennessee Valley Authority, and new baseball caps. The Chamber will host the 36th annual Covered Bridge Celebration June 5-9.
   Young said much work has gone into this year's event. "Most of my job is just getting out of the way and letting people do the work. We have so many people working on different parts of the festival, people working with the bleachers, people working on entertainment, people working on the kids' island, so I'm just kind of there to make sure it's getting done," he said.
   This year, Young said there is improved accessibility to the park area and that area businesses as well as non-profit organizations are encouraged to participate. He said the Chamber provides a special form that non-profit organizations can submit to have a booth.
   Special activities planned this year are similar to previous years. Wednesday night is gospel music night, Thursday night is bluegrass night, Friday is '50s and '60s night, and Saturday's feature will be country rock music. There will also be a kid's island, arts and crafts booths, food vendors, a softball tournament, and a Wallygaggle River Run. The celebration is family friendly and most events begin at 10 a.m.
   Built in 1882, the Covered Bridge has come to symbolize the small, historic community of Elizabethton. Young said the bridge was built for a cost of $3,000. "Try building a bridge for that much money nowadays," he said.