By Max Hrenda
Hours before the 47th annual Covered Bridge Celebration began today, Elizabethton and Carter County residents got a little “taste” of the region they would be celebrating.
On Tuesday night, nearly 500 people turned out at Elizabethton High School for the 8th annual Taste of Carter County, which allows attendees to sample several of the area’s local eateries in one sitting.
The event, sponsored by the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce and Carter County Bank, is designed to highlight local businesses while preparing county residents for the upcoming festivities.
“It’s the kickoff to the Covered Bridge Celebration,” said Chamber of Commerce Director Tonya Stevens. “It’s a good opportunity to showcase our local restaurants. This year, in particular, we have a lot of ‘mom and pop’ (restaurants), as well as some of the chain restaurants.”
Carter County Bank Marketing Director Rebecca White said there were “several reasons” her office chose to sponsor the event.
“First off, it’s a great community event,” White said. “Secondly, it promotes locally owned small businesses; not just in restaurants, but now we have florists here, as well. Thirdly, it raises money for a great cause.”
Each year, Carter County Bank selects a local non-profit agency to split a portion of the money earned from ticket sales with the chamber. This year, the Elizabethton chapter of the United Way was selected to receive those funds.
According to Elizabethton United Way Director Debbie Guy, however, the money earned will not only benefit her office.
“We have eight local agencies we support to try to provide the basic need in our community,” Guy said. “They receive a monthly allocation from us, and that is how they provide. The ticket sales that happen for this event will actually help fund our agencies for 2014.
“Even though we won, you’ve kind of got eight non-profits that will benefit from this.”