By Ashley Rader
A later date, a longer run and a wider variety of music will give Elizabethton’s 2013 Covered Bridge Celebration a different approach from recent years.
But the iconic structure that gives the festival its name still serves as a bridge linking festivals past and present.
Still months away, plans for the celebration are largely in place.
Changes in this year’s event include the dates – June 19-22, with the Tuesday, June 18, Taste of Carter County at Elizabethton High School kicking things off.
Held later in June than its traditional date to sidestep conflicts with other area festivals, the Covered Bridge Celebration will also return to its original four-day time frame.
The celebration had been held the first weekend in June, but the Blue Plum Festival in Johnson City moved to that weekend; the Roan Mountain Rhododendron Festival has always been the second weekend in June, which left the Covered Bridge Celebration with the third weekend of the month.
“We moved it later in the month so the Covered Bridge Celebration would not fall as the same time as the other festivals in the area,” said Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce Events and Marketing Coordinator Stephanie McKinney.
Another change is the return to four days of fun.
The celebration had been reduced to a Thursday-Saturday event a few years ago, but the planning committee decided to open the festival on Wednesday and return the gospel/worship night to the entertainment schedule.
“We have a good lineup of entertainment ready,” McKinney said.
On Wednesday night, local church and worship groups will perform; Thursday is bluegrass night, Friday is country music night, and Saturday is rock music night.
The Boxcars will headline Thursday night’s music, but McKinney said the committee is still working to secure the performers for Friday and Saturday night.
McKinney said the Chamber is accepting applications for arts and crafts vendors and marketplace vendors, but she said the food vendor spaces had been filled. The Chamber has received around 20 applications for the arts and crafts vendors. Applications can be picked up from the Chamber. McKinney said the applications would also be placed on the Chamber’s website and could be downloaded.