2. Fiddlin’ fundraiser: Fiddling Carson Peters and his band Iron Mountain will be taking the stage in Bristol this weekend, taking the stage at the Paramount Center for the Arts, 518 State St., for a special fundraiser concert. Proceeds from the concert will benefit 6-year-old Kingston Baker, who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia this year. Funds will help Kingston and her family pay for travel and prolonged stays at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. The tunes kick off Saturday at 6 p.m., and a suggested donation of $10 will be taken at the door.
3. Tracks to the west: Heritage Day at the George L. Carter Railroad Museum at East Tennessee State University will focus on trains west of the Mississippi this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Campus Center Building, 176 Ross Drive. Big-name trains like the Super Chief of the Santa Fe will be on display across the museum’s operating layouts. The museum is also seeking artifacts for display, including the newest addition dedicated to the “Tweetsie” line, the ET&WNC. There is no admission to the exhibit, but donations are welcome.
4. A piece of the past: History is at the heart of the Abingdon Muster Grounds, 1780 Muster Place, this weekend for part of the Virginia Highlands Festival. The first weekend at the grounds is dedicated to the 6th annual Abingdon Civil War weekend, a family event held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Battles will be at 2 p.m. each day, and “Wicked Spring,” a Civil War film, will be played on an outdoor screen Saturday night at 8:30. Admission is free, and more information on the event is available at facebook.com/AbingdonCivilWarWeekend.
5. Colors of the Mountains: Symphony of the Mountains will ignite a new seasons with a popular summer concert series this weekend, making their final stop in Kingsport Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Allandale Mansion, 4444 W. Stone Drive, in Kingsport. The concert features dynamic music from The Sound of Music to tunes from bluegrass group, ShadowGrass. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, coolers and snacks to the event, and the winner of the best decorated picnic area will receive a trophy and two season tickets to the symphony. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Visit symphonyofthemountains.org or call 392-8423 for tickets or more information.
6. Get your geek on: Rob-Con is back and bigger than ever, and this year they’ve made the move from Bristol to Kingsport. As the Tri-Cities’ largest and oldest comic book convention, Rob-Con is bringing well-known comic book artists, cartoon voice actors and a giant robot to MeadowView Convention Center, 1901 Meadowview Parkway, this weekend. The weekend kicks off on Friday night with cosplay prom on Friday night from 6 to 9, and continues on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for the weekend, $15 on Saturday, $10 on Sunday and $20 for Saturday and Sunday. Visit robcon.org for more information.
7. Morningstar: For a soothing Sunday afternoon, stop by First Presbyterian Church, 100 W. Church Circle, Kingsport, for a concert featuring flutists from across the region will take listeners on a melodious journey from tranquil to lively through a program filled with classical works. While you may be familiar with the commonly-heard concert flute and piccolo, the program also features alto, bass and the uncommon 6-foot tall contrabass flute to fill out the lush sounds of the ensemble. The concert starts at 3 p.m., and admission is a suggestion of $10 general admission and $5 for students. A reception will follow the concert for audience members to examine the instruments.
8. A peek at planets: It’s not often that you can see four planets at once, but East Tennessee State University is offering free opportunities to observe some of our closest planetary neighbors. This is the closest that Mars has been to Earth since 2003, and while Venus will be visible, the details will be a little fuzzy due to a thick cloud layer, according to ETSU astronomer Gary Henson. Jupiter and Saturn will also be visible, and Henson estimates it will be quite the show. The event will be Friday and Aug. 3 from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. on ETSU campus – telescopes will be set up at the west end of parking lot 22, across from the Summers-Taylor Soccer Complex on Go Bucs Trail. The event is free, but will be canceled if the sky is overcast or threat of rain.
9. No Filter: Give a kid a camera, and you see the world from their eyes. See their stories on display at the International Storytelling Center in downtown Jonesborough with the opening of a special youth photography exhibit, “No Filter: Stories for Change.” Led by Whitney Williams, the exhibit features work from 16 participants as they learned the basics of photography and captured stories from their every day lives through the lens of a disposable camera. The exhibit is open through August 25, and can be viewed during the Storytelling Center’s operating regular 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. operating hours.
10. ”The Family Reunion”: What do you get when you take a house full of secrets and add a dash of sibling rivalry? You get a recipe for uproaring hilarity with the Crawfords, and a mystery they need your help solving. “The Family Reunion,” written and directed by local artist and playwright Derek Smithpeters, will run at Jonesborough’s Historic Eureka Inn, 127 W. Main St., Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 11. Tickets are $45 and include dinner, which is served at 7 p.m. for each showing.