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Carson Peters performs at Covered Bridge Festival

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Jun 9, 2017 at 9:06 AM

The crowd roared as Carson Peters and his band Iron Mountain took to the stage at the Covered Bridge Festival in Elizabethton Thursday night.

Peters, who played immediately after a performance by the Trailblazer Cloggers, has been playing the fiddle since the age of 3. Now 15, he continues to dazzle crowds across the country and regionally, performing at events such as Bristol Rhythm and Roots, Dollywood’s Bluegrass and BBQ, and venues such as the Grand Old Opry, which was a dream he always had before performing there in 2014.

He is most noted nationally for his performance on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show when he was only 9 years old.

The MC of Thursday’s live music events, David Miller, who serves as operation manager for the local country music station WBEJ 107.9, said Peters never ceases to amaze him with his skill as a musician.

“He’s a fine, faith-based young man with talent well beyond his years,” Miller said. “He has already proved himself as a star regionally, but I think he could be a huge star nationally.”

Though Peters has played just about everywhere across the country, he said it is always best to play right here in the region he grew up in, nestled in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee.

“It’s really special to play for your home crowd,” Peters said. “I get to play everywhere, but it’s an honor to play here.”

“I basically know half the people that are here tonight,” he said, laughing.

David Miller said this performance was a strong start to this year’s annual Covered Bridge Festival.

“It’s just a good community festival that’s in its growth period now,” he said. “We’re starting to bring in more headliners, and the city has continued to do a great job at helping provide this free entertainment.”

On Friday, the full festival will begin with arts and crafts, food vendors and kids’ attractions. Another highly-anticipated act, Blue Highway, which has been nominated for three Grammy Awards, will perform to close the night’s live music, which starts at 5 p.m.

Saturday will feature some event favorites such as local dancers, the Little Mister and Miss Hillybilly Contest and the Covered Bridge 5k Run/ 3k Walk. There will also be a fireworks display held by Dynamic Effects after Suzy Bogguss, a Grammy Award winning country artist, closes Saturday night’s live music event.

Here is a complete roundup of the events happening at the festival over the next few days:

FRIDAY, JUNE 11

5 p.m.: Boots on the Ground

6:30 p.m.: Mountain Rose

8 p.m.: Blue Highway

SATURDAY, JUNE 10

Saturday is a full day of activities, beginning with a 5K race and a yard sale.

6:30 a.m.: Registration at City Hall for the 5K run and 3K walk, sponsored by Mountain States Health Alliance Foundation

8 a.m.: Start of race

8 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Community yard sale and antiques, East E Street downtown

11 a.m.: Little Mr. and Miss Hillbilly Contest at the Covered Bridge Stage, sponsored by Double C Western Supply

The free performances at the Bonnie Kate stage for Saturday include:

11 a.m.: The Bill and Bodie Show

Noon: Kids’ Yoga with Ascend Yoga

1 p.m.: Franklin Taekwondo (demonstration and free class passes for all children)

2 p.m.: East Tennessee Ballet Academy Dancers

3 p.m.: Trinity Arts Center Dancers

4 p.m.: Jack and the Beanstalk by Bonnie Kate Theater

A bonus event for Saturday is the weekly Carter County Car Club Cruise-In, which will take place on East Elk Avenue from 5-9 p.m.

Entertainment on the Covered Bridge Stage on Saturday includes:

3:30 p.m.: Watts Dance Studio.

5 p.m.: Bullseye Band

6:30 p.m.: North Fork with Daniel Grindstaff

8 p.m.: Suzy Bogguss

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