Add a little romance at Townsend's 'Love Affair Weekend'

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By Lance Coleman
Senior reporter
Blount Today

Businesses in Townsend are inviting visitors to a love affair. They’ve got all the trappings -- an opportunity to renew wedding vows, a romantic carriage ride and a progressive dinner.

And to help you fall in love with Townsend, the Townsend Love Affair Weekend will also offer an opportunity to learn about the history of the area and visit with artisans and see their work.

On Feb. 16-17, the Townsend Business Association is sponsoring the Townsend Love Affair Weekend as part of area merchant’s efforts to bring more visitors to Townsend during the winter months, said Janice Fillmore, Townsend Business Association president.

Some of the events will take place at the Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, which Fillmore said "has really helped us a lot."

The Love Affair Weekend will have something for everyone, Fillmore said. "This is everything you love about Townsend," she said. "It’s a continuation of Valentine’s Day and all the arts and crafts and history of this area."

On Friday and Saturday, artisans will set up at Miss Lilly’s Banquet Hall on East Lamar Alexander Parkway. "Everybody will have a table set up, displaying wares. Some will be for sale. Individual artisans have a very difficult time displaying work in one place up here. We decided we would give them an opportunity to do it," she said.

The Friday events begin at 10 a.m. and wrap up at 4 p.m. Susana Terrill is doing oil painting and Joyce McCroskey is doing sculpture demonstrations and displaying her work. Susan Birdwell is doing pen and ink art demonstrations.

The fun continues at Miss Lily’s Banquet Hall at 8 p.m. with Roscoe Morgan and Lonely Train performing.

Events at the Heritage Center are free with the $4 regular admission to the Center, Fillmore said.

Merikay Waldvogel will be on the main stage with a "Quilt Road Show" from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 17.

"She’s a Southern quilt specialist. She will show about six of her quilts and invite audience members to bring quilts up. They take them on stage, tell them about the quilt, and (Waldvogel) tells about the history of the quilt," Fillmore said. "She’ll tell what materials are used. She’s almost like a quilt detective."

Also on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in one of the upstairs Heritage Center meeting rooms, Bill Boyd Sr., Bill Boyd Jr. and Wendy Williams of the Dubbing Teasers from Dayton will be demonstrating and teaching fly fishing fly-tying. "He is a fly-tying expert," Fillmore said of Bill Boyd, Sr. "He will be willing to teach from first-timers to advanced level fly tiers."

From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, Robin Goddard will discuss the Greenbriar School that was located in Cades Cove. "She’s going to be talking about the Walker Sisters and the Little Green Briar School that is located in the park," Fillmore said.

Dave Niamand, one of the jewelers in Townsend who hand makes jewelry, will demonstrate his craft from noon to 1 p.m.. "He will engrave pieces there for you. It’s real artwork," Fillmore said.

Rebecca Lee Roebucks’ clogging group will put on a clogging demonstration at noon. Then, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Heritage Center, she and her cloggers will teach adults and children how to clog. Roebucks has impressive credentials and is very much in demand, said Fillmore. "She’s going on the Jay Leno (‘Tonight’) show at the end of the month," Fillmore said.

From 1:15 to 2 p.m. on the Heritage Center main stage Thomas Kirkland will talk about how to photograph bears and deer.

From 2 to 3 p.m., Townsend master dulcimer player Mike Clemmer, owner of Wood-n-Stings Dulcimer Shop, will talk about the history of the dulcimer. "Most of this area was settled by Scotch-Irish people. That was the big of the roots of blue grass music," Fillmore said. "He will also show people how to play the dulcimer."

Dwight McCarter will give a presentation from 3 to 4 p.m. on early explorers of Townsend. McCarter was a ranger with the National Park Service for 30 years.

Tickets to the progressive dinner on Saturday night are $30 per person and can be purchased at Highland Manor, Miss Lilly’s Café and Thunderhead Perk. For information call 865-448-2211.

"It starts off at Dancing Bear Lodge for drinks and appetizers from 5 to 5:45 p.m. Then come to Miss Lilly’s for soup and entrees," said Fillmore. Dinner will be followed by coffee and dessert at either Thunderhead Perk at 7249 East Lama Alexander Parkway or the Coffee House at 7967 East Lamar Alexander Parkway.

"Then Highland Manor has given their banquet hall for the slide and lecture presentation ‘Whistle Over the Mountain,’ a history of the Little River Railroad. Then we invite everyone to bring instruments, and if they want to jam they can jam until 11 o’clock."

Miss Lilly’s Café chef Chris Henderlight said his menu will include lightly blackened tilapia served with cheese grits. "We make the cheese grits, and the tilapia lies across the top and is draped with roasted red pepper and corn crème sauce," he said.

A version of Chicken Florentine and prime rib also will be served with sides such as baked potato and asparagus and Miss Lilly’s signature tomato blue cheese soup and another soup.

"I don’t know many other towns that do progress dinners," Fillmore said.

For information on the Townsend Love Affair Weekend Feb. 16 and 17, call 865-448-2211 or 865-216-1899. Tickets for progressive dinner are $30 per person plus tax and can be purchased at Highland Manor Inn, Miss Lilly’s Café and Thunderhead Perk.

Townsend Love Affair Weekend Itinerary
Friday, Feb. 16

Artisans will be at the Miss Lily’s Banquet Hall giving free demonstrations from10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Several shop owners will be giving demonstrations in-house and keeping their shops open late for the public to enjoy.
Roscoe Morgan and Lonely Train will give a free concert on Friday at 8 p.m. at Miss Lily’s Banquet Hall.

Saturday, Feb. 17
The Heartland Little River Wedding Chapel will offer free marriage vow renewals from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Carriage rides will be offered by Echobrooke Farm.

At the Heritage Center
The Townsend Business Association will be hosting special events at the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center. Regular center admission price of $4 is required.

  • Smoky Mountain Quilt Stories by Merikay Waldvogel - 10 a.m. to noon. Bring your quilts and join Merikay Waldvogel, a foremost quilt expert, with some of her prize East Tennessee quilts. There will also be an opportunity for the audience to bring quilts on stage and show and tell. She will comment on age, pattern and materials.
  • Fly Tying with Bill Boles -- 10 a.m. to noon. Expert fly tier Bill Boles will teach beginning and intermediate flies. Registration suggested. 25 participants/ per hour
  • Clogging with Rebecca Lee Roebucks - 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Cloggers will perform on stage and teach classes from 1 to 4 p.m.
  • How to Photograph Bears and White Tale Deer with Thomas Kirkland -- From 1:15 to 2 p.m.
  • History of the Dulcimer with Mike Clemmer -- 2 to 3 p.m.
  • Early Explorers of Townsend with Dwight McCarter -- 3 to 4 p.m.
  • Musicians in Transportation Gallery -- From noon to 4 p.m. and including music by Bob Holmes & Jeremy.

    Progressive Dinner
    Saturday, Feb. 17
    Tickets are $30 per person
  • Dancing Bear Lodge -- Drinks and Appetizers; 5 to 5:45 p.m.
  • Miss Lily’s -- Soup and Entrée; 5:45 to 7 p.m.. May bring wine with a $5 corking fee.
  • Thunderperk or Joanna’s Coffee Shoppe -- Coffee and dessert , 7 to 7:45 p.m.
  • Highland Manor Conference Center -- Whistle Over the Mountain presentation from 8 to 9 p.m. with a jam session to follow.

Complete info at

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