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52nd year of Covered Bridge Festival comes to a close

Hannah Swayze • Jun 9, 2018 at 10:08 PM

The heat couldn’t keep visitors away from the Covered Bridge Park on Saturday as the annual Covered Bridge Celebration in Elizabethton fell into full swing on its last day.

The annual event concluded its 52nd year in downtown Elizabethton with a full day of plenty of activities for visitors of all ages and interests. 

Beginning Thursday night, the three-day festival offered a variety of activities for those who attended from shopping at outdoor vendors to food stands to live music. 

Vendors’ kiosks lined all along the were teeming with leisurely shoppers who dipped in and out of tents filled with clothing, art and handcrafted items or business’ information booths. Vendors sold everything from handmade crafts like colorful glass mosaic art to rings made out of coins to dreamcatchers and jewelry. 

Of course there was plenty to eat, too. Wraps, funnels cakes and Italian ice kept festival-goers cool in the sun as they meandered along the Doe River, dipping their toes in the rushing water that flows under the bridge holding the vendors and the bright white covered bridge that the celebration is named for. 

Aside from homemade wares and clothes, the expansive community yard sale filled up a parking lot with locals selling off everything from furniture to books until the late afternoon. 

While the parents go shopping, there were extensive activities offered for kids Saturday on the outside and inside. Outside inflatables and rides filled up the park as far as the eye could see for the children to take part in during the day.

Inside, up the street at the Bonnie Kate Theatre, was a list of shows for the children to beat the summer heat such as a tae kwon do demonstration, an exotic animal and bird show and a performance from the local East Tennessee Ballet Academy. 

After the shows indoors and before the end of the evening festivities, families joined back together for parents vs. kids softball at nearby parks. 

In the evening, it came time for the show that everyone had been waiting for. People showed up in with their lawn chairs and blankets up for the last night and were treated to the musical stylings of Bullseye Band and Rayon & Grindstaff before the celebration’s headliner, Billy Dean.

Finally, the night finished with a bang as the crowd was treated to the Saturday Night Fireworks Finale, signifying the end of another year of celebration along the river. 

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