New events scheduled for Covered Bridge Festival

By Greg Miller

Plans were announced Tuesday at the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce for the 38th Annual Covered Bridge Festival set for June 10-13.
   Several new events are being introduced at this year's festival, according to C. Keith Young, covered bridge festival co-chair, and one of them is the "Covered Bridge Pedalfest," which will be held Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. The event covers a 20 to 32-mile scenic route and is for bicyclers ages 16 and up. "It is a non-competitive event," Young said. "It is to be a scenic and enjoyable ride. You can go as fast or as slow as you want to."
   The East Tennessee Region of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) also will be on hand for a "Solo 2 Autocross." "You can have anything from a go-cart to your momma's SUV," Young said. The event will be held at the Valley Forge Auction parking lot on Sunday morning. "This is an event for drivers only," Young said. "It is not a spectator sport."
   The Outdoor Channel Recreational Vehicle "The Motor Moose" will visit this year's festival. The Outdoor Channel is sponsoring a "Win Your Own Fishing Show" contest. Interested parties only need to show up for a free audition and tape a two-minute monologue about why you would like to have your own show. The "Motor Moose" will be at the festival both Saturday and Sunday.
   Airplane rides are being offered by the Elizabethton Municipal Airport's flight training school at a discounted price. The rides will be available only if the weather is good. "Safety is our first concern with that," Young said.
   "This year's nightly entertainment will be relocated. Construction on the Elk Avenue Bridge is expected to be completed, but the addition of power will not be completed for the festival. The relocation has created some challenges for us, but we believe that an excellent site for the nightly entertainment has been identified and the festival promises great entertainment and crafts."
   Music will begin each evening at 6 p.m. at the corner of Elk Avenue and N. Riverside Drive (adjacent to the Elk Avenue Bridge). Music will end around 10 p.m. Thursday night will be "Bluegrass Night." A news release states, "Many of the favorite bluegrass bands will return with the addition of new talent to the stage. Thursday promises a night full of the tunes that are indigenous to the region and have been handed down from generation to generation."
   Friday night will be "50s and 60s Beach Night." The Watts Dance Studio Showcase Dancers will perform at 6 p.m. The Collegians Beach Band will also perform.
   Saturday night will be "Country Rock Night." The Trailblazer Cloggers will perform at 6 p.m., followed by The Slapping Leather Dance Association.
   Local church choirs and regional gospel talent will be featured during Sunday's 2 p.m. traditional gospel celebration at the Elizabethton Alliance Church.
   More than 70 vendors are participating in the Covered Bridge Arts and Crafts Festival this year. Booths will open Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. and will close at 5 p.m. On Sunday, the booths will open at 12 p.m. and will close at 5 p.m. Vendors will offer work in stained glass, pottery, traditional wood products, jewelry, hand-and-needle work, crafts for children and home decor items.
   Kid's Island, sponsored by Sycamore Shoals Hospital, will have expanded hours and activities during this year's festival. Kid's Island is located on Edward's Island adjacent to the Covered Bridge Park. The event will be held Friday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday's events will begin at 10 a.m. "Kids Fishing Day," sponsored by the TWRA and the USDA Forest Service, will be held Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (or until all the fish are caught). The free "Kids Fishing Day" is for children ages 11 and under. Sunday's events will start at 12 p.m.
   The Fourth Annual Kayak Tours "Wallygaggle" River Run, sponsored by Watauga Kayak Tours and River Ridge Campground, will be held Saturday from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The registration fee is $10. Registration information is available at the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce and at Watauga Kayak Tours.
   Peeble's Department Store will sponsor the "Little Mr. & Miss Hillbilly" contest on Saturday at 10 a.m. A $5 registration fee applies, and information sheets may be obtained by visiting the store. June 10 is the registration deadline.
   The Roan Groan bicycle run, sponsored by the Tri-Cities Road Club, will be held. For registration information, call 423-349-0899.
   Other returning events include the Fireman's Skills Rodeo, Elizabethton Library Concert of Storytelling. The Carter County Car Club Cruise-in will be held on Saturday at 5 p.m. in downtown Elizabethton, with more than 150 classic vehicles lining the streets of downtown.