The 16th Annual Wayne Scott Strawberry Festival, named in honor of the man behind Northeast Tennessee’s homegrown strawberry craze, will get underway at 10 a.m. on the playing fields at Unicoi Elementary School.
In addition to fresh-from-the-field Scott’s Farms strawberries, the festival will feature an all-day lineup of live music, a Miss Strawberry pageant, a strawberry recipe contest, a handmade craft fair, kids activities and dozens of nonprofit concession and novelty food vendors raising funds for community organizations.
Absent the parade that has kicked off the festival for the past several years, the festivities will start at 10 a.m. with a brief opening ceremony featuring a presentation of colors by Unicoi County High School’s Junior ROTC, the singing of the national anthem by Sherry Shook smf an invocation by Pastor Eddie Blazer of Unicoi Church of God.
Mayor Johnny Lynch will welcome festival-goers to Unicoi and Unicoi Town Recorder Michael Borders will serve as the festival’s master of ceremonies.
The pageant will start immediately after the ceremony in school gymnasium. Broad Street Station will kick off the day’s music outside on the festival stage.
Weather cooperating, strawberries will be available in abundance and early reports out of Unicoi are that the berries have been particularly sweet this year.
If you have a winning strawberry recipe, contest entries must be submitted by Friday at the Unicoi Tourist Information and Visitors Center located at 106 Unicoi Village Place just off Interstate 26 at Exit 32.
Unicoi’s Mountain Harvest Kitchen is sponsoring the recipe contest this year and its advisory board members will serve as the judges.
Recipe contest and pageant winners will be announced and prizes presented at 12:30 p.m. on festival stage.
The Unicoi County High School Bluegrass Band will take the stage 11:30 a.m. and will be followed by Turkey Creek, starting at 1 p.m.; Wayne Keplinger & Friends, starting at 2:30; and Rockingham Road at 4.
Old fashioned cake walks will be held from 11-11:30 a.m. and 2-2:30 p.m.
Giant inflatable attractions and a live pony carousel ride will be set up for children and, for kids of all ages, the festival’s very popular Cow Train will be running.
An estimated 100 handmade craft and nonprofit food vendors will be spread out across the festival grounds.
Tickets for a drawing for a variety of themed gift baskets sponsored by local businesses will be available for purchase throughout the day and the drawing will be held from 3:30-4 p.m. Proceeds from the drawing help defray the cost of the festival.
Named in honor of Wayne Scott, the late Unicoi County High School agriculture teacher who founded Scott’s Farms with his wife, Mary Lou, the festival is hosted by the town of Unicoi in celebration of the unique heritage, foods, crafts and culture of the Southern Appalachians.
Vendor applications and more information about the festival may be obtained by contacting Trish Bennett at the Uncoi Tourist Information and Visitors Center at 423-735-0517 or [email protected]n.net.
Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.