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Carson Peters, free ice cream highlight first night of Covered Bridge Celebration

John Thompson • Jun 6, 2018 at 7:25 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The 52nd Annual Covered Bridge Celebration gets started today with one of Carter County’s favorite entertainers set to take the stage in Covered Bridge Park this evening.

Carson Peters and Iron Mountain will be performing at 7. Peters always draws a crowd to the Covered Bridge Park stage, whether it is for the Covered Bridge Celebration or one of the weekly concerts in the park.

But there should already be a big, but perhaps sticky, crowd in the park an hour before Peters performs. That is because Food City will once again be sponsoring the free ice cream social.

Danny Ward, assistant manager of the Elizabethton Food City store, said the ice cream social will get started at 6 p.m. in the park.

To entertain the crowd during the ice cream social, the Trailblazer Cloggers will be performing on the stage, starting at 6.

Even with these activities, Thursday is traditionally the easy-going day at the festival. The vendors are not yet set up and most of the activities are set for later in the week.

So, Thursday makes for an easy evening to just sit back on your blanket or lawn chair and listen to not-so-little-anymore Carson Peters perform at a level that has already made him a regular at the Grand Ole Opry and television appearances like the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Not bad for fiddler who has not yet made it to high school.

But Thursday is just the start of a big week that brings Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver to the stage on Friday and Billy Dean on Saturday. There will also be plenty of vendors of arts and crafts and food. There will be lots of free kids stuff at the UT Extension Office on Friday and free kid shows at the Bonnie Kate on Saturday. There will also be the Ballad Health 5K/3K run/walk on Saturday morning, the Little Hillbilly contest at 11 a.m. Saturday, and it all will end with the annual fireworks finally sponsored by Snap-on Tools after the Billy Dean performance.

It should be a fun weekend.

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