It’s always a good time to fly the American Flag in the town of Jonesborough, but Thursday’s kickoff of Jonesborough Days gave a little bit of extra incentive.
Fresh off being honored as top-five finalist in Rand McNally’s online competition to find the most patriotic towns in the country, Jonesborough jumps toward the Independence Day celebration with those especially nationally famous three colors flying.
Ruth Verhegge was just in front of the Washington County Courthouse on Main Street with her Flag Adoptions table, trying to get more Jonesborough Day attendees to help keep the red, white and blue colors always flying through the town. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Verhegge said it was a most important time to show patriotism.
“We have a lot of people in harm’s way, and I was willing to do the work to keep them up,” Verhegge said.
For that, she couldn’t handle watching the flags come down, and decided to take it upon herself to keep them up and keeping them in clean order. To do so, she continues to need people to give their financial support to help switch out the 100 or so flags in the town at an introductory rate of $50, then $35 for every year after that point, which earns the adopter a chance to honor someone of their choice. Anyone interested, she said, can make payments to her at 601 W. Main St., Jonesborough, TN 37659.
Asked what it is that makes the town so patriotic, especially during events like Jonesborough Days, Verhegge said it’s a lot like any other town in the country.
“I think it’s a typical American town that puts the effort into keeping the flags flying,” she said.
Flags are everywhere through the town, even on the mini motorized train that takes children for free rides down Main Street. Shelter Insurance serves as the sponsor of the train, and agents Carl Henopp and Freddy Harkleroad said without a main sponsor, Jonesborough Days would be missing out on one of its most fun and free activities.
“You come down here and you get to see more American flags per block than anywhere else,” Henopp said about the kids getting to enjoy American pride on the back of a train.
Red, white and blue was evident up and down Main Street and its neighboring byways, hanging off many of the food and craft vendors who were there to display and sell their products.
Though it wasn’t patriotic, Gabriel Teasner was getting his face painted like Batman’s at the Endless Impressions booth, holding as still as possible while his design was being put together.
His mom, Ignacia Carrillo of Jonesborough, said she’d been living there for 16 years and has made it a family tradition, taking advantage of the event as a place where she can spend time with her family, listen to music and generally just hang out in a safe spot. Gabriel, she said, has come all of his three years and will be attending in the upcoming years, too.
The Nolichucky River Band was one of the musical acts performing Thursday evening for spectators, with many more lined up through the weekend, playing at both the International Storytelling Center Plaza and on the Main Stage, too. Through the weekend, there will be contra dancing, eating contests, Movies on Main, a Beer Garden, Train Display, Tractor Exhibit, fireworks and a parade at 10 this morning, with many more events available.
More information about Jonesborough Days can be found at www.historicjonesborough.com.
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