Special activities fill festival calendar

If it's true that "real enjoyment is 10 percent anticipation and 90 percent participation," then there are more ways one can enjoy this year's Covered Bridge Celebration like never before. From a softball tournament to kayaking on the river, bicycling to walking, the Covered Bridge Celebration has an event for you.
   A softball tournament sponsored by Physical Therapy Services will be held beginning Friday afternoon, June 7, concluding with the championship round on Sunday. Prizes will be awarded to the top two teams. All interested players and teams should contact Jimmy Ensor at 542-4317, or the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce to register.
   The 3K Walk and 5K Run sponsored by Sycamore Shoals Hospital and Sprint has been completely revamped this year. Registration forms are available at the Chamber of Commerce office. Registrants are to return filled out forms with the $7.50 registration fee to Evelyn Dugger or Sherry Toney at Sycamore Shoals Hospital before June 1. Participants may also register the morning of the race or walk on June 8, for a fee of $10.
   Important: 5K racers must register by 6:30 a.m. on the morning of June 8 at the corner of Pine and Elk Avenue, just across the road from Picket Fence Antiques. 3K walkers must report in to the same registration table at 7:45 a.m.
   This year, participants in the Little Mr. and Miss Hillbilly Contest are to register the day of the competition, June 7, at 5:15 p.m. in front of the main stage. The competition will begin at 6 p.m. First and second place prizes will be awarded in the following age categories: Wee Mr. and Miss Hillbilly, ages 6 months to 18 months; Little Mr. and Miss Hillbilly, ages 19 months to 4 years; and Little Country King and Queen, ages 5-8 years.
   Each contestant will be judged according to his or her costume, originality, and on-stage personality. The Second Annual Watauga Wallygaggle River Run, sponsored by Watauga Kayak Tours and River Ridge Campground, will launch onto the Doe River with a "secret mission" theme. Applicants will receive a sealed envelope at each stop containing a secret number. At the end of the river run, numbers will be drawn to award door prizes to the holders of the matching numbers.
   Applications are available at the Chamber of Commerce and Watauga Kayak Tours and should be returned by no later than Wednesday, June 5, with the $10 entry fee. One word of caution: To ensure that the river run is a safe, enjoyable event, no one will be allowed to float in the river run without lifejackets and a TWRA-approved, float-worthy craft. TWRA will have representatives on hand the morning of the river run to inspect and approve all entries. Entries are encouraged to arrive at the launch site by no later than 10 a.m.
   The TWRA and the USDA Forest Services have again agreed to sponsor free fishing at Kid's Island for children ages 12 and under, on Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. No applications or registration forms are required -- just bring your fishing gear and basic bait.
   A new event for the Covered Bridge Celebration is the Bicentennial Walk Olio, from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., on Saturday, June 8. Area musicians, small performing groups, storytellers, and similar acts are encouraged to contact Rebecca White at 543-2131 to schedule a time slot for your program. Performers will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. We hope to have continuous performances all day Saturday on the Bicentennial Walk.
   Non-profit organizations that wish to set up displays, advertise their programs, and receive donations from Covered Bridge Celebration visitors are encouraged to come by the Chamber of Commerce office to register for display space. Numerous downtown merchants have agreed to offer sidewalk areas so display tables may be set up during Thursday and Friday evenings of the festival. There is no fee charged for the space, and it will be provided as long as it is available.