Elizabethton Parks and Rec report a great summer for concerts

John Thompson • Updated Aug 29, 2017 at 8:30 PM

ELIZABETHTON — What did you this summer?

If you were the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department, you entertained thousands of people with weekly free concerts in the park and Independence Day fun, all to be capped off this coming weekend with the Annual Tweetsie Trail Treasure Trip.

The Tweetsie Trail Treasure Trip is an event with two parts. The first part, from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. takes place on the Tweetsie Trail. There are five special depots set up between Sycamore Shoals and downtown, with each station providing a stamp for the passports carried by all those participating.

All those collecting stamps from all five depots will move on to Covered Bridge Park from 12:30-2 p.m. for live music and other entertainment, inflatables and the awarding of prizes.

Like many of the summertime events, the Tweetsie Trail Treasure Trip ends at the Covered Bridge Park, which is becoming the center of activity for the parks during the summer. With the new stage, the park played host to 12 Saturday night concerts from June 3 until Aug. 26, featuring musical groups performing gospel, country, bluegrass, blues and rock.

The last of the concerts took place last weekend and was billed as "The Show on the Doe" because it included a free concert and a free move. The free concert by was popular young fiddler Carson Peters and the Iron Mountain bluegrass band and the movie was Walt Disney's "Moana." The concert was sponsored by Elizabethton radio station WBEJ and the movie was sponsored by the Elizabethton Lions Club.

Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department Director Mike Mains said there are some great advantages to the location. The movie screen was set up next to the historic Covered Bridge, adding to the beauty of that event. Another advantage of the weekly jams is that they take place just across the Doe River from the very popular weekly Cruise-ins by the Carter County Car Club. “After the movie ended around 10:30, I overheard a couple when they were leaving say, ‘Wow what a great evening, we went to a car show, enjoyed a great concert and saw a movie.’ That's making a difference in our community.”

The series of concerts is called the Covered Bridge Jams. Mains said they are becoming more popular because of the variety of music and the beautiful setting, down by the Doe River, right next to the Covered Bridge.

"It is a place where people of all ages can enjoy the atmosphere and the music," Mains said.

The city is working with some experts to improve the quality of the park. A team of faculty and students in landscape engineering from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, are developing a master plan that will be used to obtain future grants.

The summer may be over, but Mains and his staff are continuing to plan events there, including an event for October and another Show on the Doe for next spring.

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