Cranberry Festival held next weekend

By Bob Robinson
STAR STAFF

   The Annual Shady Valley Cranberry Festival, celebrating 10 years of education, conservation and community spirit in one of Tennessee's most picturesque valleys, will be held next Friday and Saturday.
   On Friday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., a fund-raising Bean Supper and Auction will be held at Shady Valley Elementary School with proceeds going to the school.
   At 7 a.m. Saturday, a fund-raising breakfast will be held at the Shady Valley Volunteer Fire Department followed by a parade and Car Show.
   Other festivities at the school on Saturday include country and gospel music, craft sales, apple butter making, helicopter rides, wildlife programs, hay bale tossing contest, clogging, rides and games for children provided by The Fun Factory and various food vendors.
   There is no general admission charge to the festival grounds or school.
   The Cranberry namesake finds it origin in the natural history of the valley. Naturally occurring cranberry and sphagnum bogs and other northern plant varieties left from the last Ice Age are part of the history. The relics of a colder climate continue to reside in Shady Valley, in part, because of its elevation and topography.
   The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee has begun restoration work on more than 120 acres of wetland that had been farmed for many years.
   The wetlands restoration has already attracted new bird species not seen in the valley for many years. This, in turn, has made Shady Valley a popular spot for area birders.
   This year's festival will offer self-guided tours of the cranberry bog and restoration areas, bicycle tours of these and other special places in the valley, and an in-depth look at wetlands restoration.
   The first Shady Valley Cranberry Festival was organized in 1992 for the purpose of supporting the Shady Valley Elementary School.
   The school, built in 1938 under the Work Projects Administration, was constructed by valley residents using field stone and local chestnut lumber. Today, the school houses classes for about 70 students in K-6 grades.
   Shady Valley Elementary School is located on Tenn. Highway 133, 20 miles northeast of Elizabethton off Tenn. Highway 91.
   For additional information, contact the Johnson County Welcome Center, 423/727-5800, or e-mail Connie Garland at garland@preferred.com, or Todd Eastin at eastin@preferred.com.
   The mailing address is Shady Valley Cranberry Festival, P.O. Box 44, Shady Valley, TN 37688.