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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Clicking clique to cluster at Chick-fil-A

August 8th, 2011 7:42 am by John Thompson

ELIZABETHTON — It has been a very successful week for the supporters of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area who are competing in a Coca-Cola-sponsored Internet contest to obtain funding for their favorite park.
On Aug. 1, the park was in 11th place, with more than 70,000 votes. They were closing in on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the top 10 parks as they prepared for a big night of voting on their laptop computers at the Wi-Fi hot spot at the Chick-fil-A restaurant near Sycamore Shoals. It was a successful night that found them climbing into seventh place.
They will be returning to Chick-fil-A tonight from 6-9 as a serious contender for one of three grants to be awarded by Coke to the top three vote-getting parks. On Sunday afternoon, they were closing in on a quarter million votes and had climbed all the way to fourth place.
While the group has made amazing progress in passing one group after another during the past week and more than tripling the number of votes, the rest of the way will be a big challenge.
While Sycamore Shoals has nearly 253,000 votes as of Sunday night, the third-place park, Cunningham Park, has 670,000 votes and climbing. The two top parks are both well over a million. The Sycamore Shoals group hopes to overtake the leaders by getting pledges from many people in the region to vote 50 times a day or more.
To overcome these numbers, the Sycamore Shoals group is hoping for a large group of supporters to join them at Chick-fil-A. Several who are unable to attend the party will also be voting at home in the hopes of shrinking the gap between fourth and third place.
To vote for the park, go to and click on the “vote for your park” button on the lower left corner. When the next page is shown, start typing in Sycamore Shoals in the search area. By the time “Sy” is typed a list of options appears. Be sure to select the one for “Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area” rather than “Sycamore State Park.” Or, go to (that’s a zero at the end).
The group is working to obtain funding for the refurbishment of Sabine Hill, the home of War of 1812 general Nathaniel Taylor. The home was acquired by the state park a few year ago, but there is no money in this year’s state budget to begin the needed repairs for the nearly 200-year-old home.
The contest ends Sept. 6. First place will be awarded $100,000. Second will receive $50,000 and third place is worth $25,000.

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