Spring Explosion!

Charities pull out the stops for a fun-filled season

Have you noticed a theme running through the pages of Blount Today? Well, we’ve noticed an explosion as Spring has peeped in here in Blount County, and it has nothing to do with daffodils waving in the wind or soccer balls rocketing into nets.

Pardon the cliché, but “Tis the Season…”

Spring has sprung with a plethora of activities that should enable the whole community to shake off the winter doldrums and have some fun. And, because Blount County likes to party with a purpose, the majority of the events are fund-raisers for area programs and charities.

In addition to the events previewed on pages 3 (Fine Arts Blount Art on the Runway); page 5 (Rising Star of Tennessee); pages 6-7 (April Foolies); page 8 (Maryville Kiwanis Golf Tournament); page 9 (Blount Memorial Foundation Casino Royale); page 12 (Blount County Literacy Council Spelling Bee); and page 13 (Townsend Spring Festival), the following two pages are stuffed to the max with capsules of other events that are coming up this summer.

What else can we say? Enjoy!

Saturday, April 5

Strike out at Crest Lanes for Big Brothers Big Sisters

It’s almost here! The most fun annual fund-raiser in East Tennessee is just around the corner. There is still time to sign your team up for the 26th annual Bowl For Kids’ Sake coming to Crest Lanes in Maryville on Saturday, April 5.

Times for bowling at Crest are 9 a.m. to noon. Each participant chooses a one-hour time slot, gets sponsors and heads to Crest to bowl and enjoy refreshments and fun while raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. All funds raised by bowlers directly benefit local programs.

Bowl For Kids’ Sake, presented by Edfinancial Services, will be held at two Knoxville locations: University of Tennessee’s Down Under Recreation Center at 1502 West Cumberland Ave., today, April 3, from 5 to 9 p.m.; and at Strike & Spare at 5700 Western Ave., in Knoxville, Thursday and Friday, April 10 and 11, from 4 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, April 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Local celebrities and sports mascots will also make appearances at all three locations this year. Guests include “Chilly,” the Knoxville Ice Bears mascot, and “Diamond” and “Slugger,” the mascots for the Tennessee Smokies. Celebrities scheduled to appear include Marc, Kim and Frank from the Star 102.1 morning show, WATE anchors Tearsa Smith and Gene Patterson, and Dave Hooker and John Adams from the News Sentinel.

“We are thrilled to have so much participation already from celebrities and bowlers, but it’s not too late to be a part of this event,” said Bobbie McClain, Bowl For Kids’ Sake chair and vice president of loan operations for Edfinancial Services. “The money raised goes to transform the lives of children in our community by providing adult mentors.”

While Bowl for Kids’ Sake is a bowling event, it is not just about bowling. It is about having fun to help kids. Whether you’ve never bowled or you are your league’s strike champion, Big Brothers Big Sisters would benefit from your participation. More than 1,000 bowlers come together to raise money to enhance the lives of area children. Prizes are awarded to each bowler based on their fund-raising level.

To register, go to www.BigBrothersBigSistersETN.org. For more information about participating, volunteering or donating for this year’s Bowl For Kids’ Sake contact Sharon Moore at 865-523-2179, ext. 21.

Saturday, April 5

Wet your line for Blount County Habitat for Humanity

The Blount County Habitat for Humanity will host the “Fishing for Dreams” bass tournament on April 5 at Louisville Point Park.

The Kids Tournament will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the entry fee, which includes a fishing rod, is $10.

Pre-register at Texas Roadhouse in Alcoa or at Louisville Point Park the morning of the event. Space is limited and pre-registration is strongly recommended.

The Adult Tournament is at “safe light” to 3 p.m. Participants can pre-register at Woody’s BP at William Blount Drive and Morganton Road on April 4 between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. or at Louisville Point Park the morning of the tournament starting at 4:30 a.m. Entry fee for adults is $50 per boat. First prize is $2,000.

Texas Roadhouse will be cooking ribs, catfish, chicken critters, hotdogs, fries and coleslaw for the event. Tournament sponsors include Texas Roadhouse, Woody’s BP and Tuesday Night Thunder. Tournament contributors include Allison Ultra Performance Boats, Bennett’s Boat Repair, Anderson Lumber Co., and Maryville Alcoa Home Builders Association.

For more information, contact Bonnie Beilstein at Blount County Habitat for Humanity at 865-982-8717 or e-mail at bonnie@blounthabitat.org.

Saturday, April 5

Reel in bass at Helen Ross McNabb tournament

The 15th annual Herman Gettlefinger Bass Tournament is scheduled for April 5 on Fort Loudoun and Tellico lakes to benefit Helen Ross McNabb Center. Grand prize is a fully rigged Ranger bass boat.

The entry fee is $300 per boat. The fee includes lunch and goodie bag. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Helen Ross McNabb Center; entry fees are tax deductible. Get registration forms at www.mcnabbcenter.org.

A pre-registration meeting will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 4, at the Tellico Canal Ramp Pavilion. Helen Ross McNabb Foundation is an agency that provides mental health care services to children, adults, and families in Knoxville and East Tennessee. It is a regional, not-for-profit integrated system providing mental health, substance abuse, and social services in 20 counties. For more information contact Emily Ledford at eledford@mcnabb.org or 865-329-9030.

Friday, April 11-April 27

Symphony League Show House comes to Lashbrooke

Each year the Knoxville Symphony League hosts a spring fund-raiser to benefit the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra by unveiling a richly and expertly decorated show house for participants to tour. The 2008 Show House will be in Blount County this year in Lashbrooke Subdivision off Topside Road.

The house opens to the public on Friday, April 11, with a preview party on Thursday, April 10. This is the 21st Show House for the Symphony League.

The elegant house on Lot 62, Waterside Way, was built by Rob Stooksbury, RTS Inc., with Jonathan Miller as architect. The house, which features the collaborative design work of the area’s top designers, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $15 at the door.

Special events at the house include catered luncheons by Rex Bradford Jones at the Lakeside Café from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. A gift shop is also available on site, and special lunches for groups can be reserved.

For more information, call 865-584-4406 or 865-986-3411.

Saturday, April 12

Library Foundation Spring Gala will honor champion

Celebrating the beginning of the 50th National Library Week and announcing the winner of the 2008 Champion of the Library Award, the Foundation for the Blount County Public Library is hosting a Spring Gala fund-raiser on Saturday evening, April 12.

The library’s highest honor, the Champion of the Library Award, is given in recognition “ . . . of an individual or group with extraordinary contributions to the library, library services, or the cause of literacy and to the perpetuation of the library as a distinctive educational, community, and cultural asset.” A committee made up of representatives from the three library boards (the Trustees, the Foundation, and the Friends of the Library) will select the 2008 recipient(s) of the award.

Last year’s winner, the first one given, was the Kiwanis Club of Maryville for their outstanding contributions to Imagination Library.

Cost per person for the Gala fund-raiser dinner at the library is $75. Before April 4, please RSVP by calling 865-983-5896 for reservation information. Monies raised help the foundation and Friends of Blount County Library support needs at the Blount County Public Library.

Saturday, April 12

Dixie Iron Riders, Smoky Mountain Harley rev up for Boys and Girls Club

The rumble of motorcycles riding out of Smoky Mountain Harley- Davidson Buell on Saturday, April 12, will be for a good cause.

The Dixie Iron Riders, a motorcycle group out of Maryville, is organizing a ride to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Blount County. Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson Buell on West Lamar Alexander Parkway is hosting the event. Registration is from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

The ride begins at the dealership and ends at the Boys and Girls Club at 241 Currie Ave., in Eagleton. There will be barbecue, refreshments, door prizes and live music provided by The Time Travelers. Registration is $20 per rider and each rider gets a free T-shirt. For more information, contact Bill Kilgore at 865-388-7258.

Saturday, April 19

Doll enthusiasts gather to celebrate collectibles

The East Tennessee Doll Collectors, UFDC Region 8, welcomes members, guests and the public to their Spring Fling in the Smokies on Saturday, April 19, at the Airport Hilton.

Speaker will be author Glenn Mandeville, who wrote “Ginny: America’s Sweetheart” and “Celebrity Doll Price Guide.”

The event is an all-day affair, with a $95 registration fee that includes breakfast, lunch, souvenirs and a souvenir doll, the presentation by Mandeville and access to vendors, sales tables and door prizes. The day begins at 8:30 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m.

Spring Fling is a good way to learn about dolls and doll collecting, says Elaine Dzendzel. For more information on the conference, call Dzendzel at 865-458-5109 or Jean Mallett at 865-408-0268.

Saturday, April 19

Batter up for Alcoa Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast

Pancakes will be on the minds of Alcoa Kiwanis members April 19 when they host their annual pancake breakfast at Alcoa High School cafeteria.

The event begins at 6:30 a.m. and runs until noon. Tickets are $5 apiece and can be purchased from Alcoa Kiwanis members. “All the money goes into service projects the Alcoa club has in the community,” said Alcoa Kiwanis public chair Bill White. “One way or another, we’re serving children.”

White said the funds don’t all go to just Alcoa or Maryville charities. The club also provides funds for Children’s Hospital and for the Ronald McDonald House. “Most is used here with literacy programs and helping support youth baseball and a lot of times with emergency needs for families with children,” he said. “Each year we probably put back into the community $25,000, most of which is raised through the pancake breakfast.”

White said the club raised $20,000 in the 2007 breakfast, and they hope to at least match that amount in this year’s effort. “We hope to get more but that’s the basic goal. The other major fund-raiser is concession sales at the Steve Kaufman pickin’ camp at Maryville College.”

White said the Alcoa club has 85 members and was organized in 1954. “We’re a little over 50 years old. We were kind of an off-shoot of the original Maryville club.”

Sunday, April 20

Homes open for tours at

historic College Hill

The Historic College Hill Neighborhood Association will hold its homes tour on Sunday, April 20. The tour will be from 1 to 4:30 p.m., there will be five homes on the tour and tickets are $10.

“We’ll be showing homes that are in different styles. Some have been remodeled, and some have not been remodeled or restored,” said Amy-Katherine Manseill. “We have tried to do it every year depending on if we have enough homes in the Historic College Hill district to do it. Homeowners volunteer time to help put it together.”

Money raised from the event is put back into the community. Among other things, the association buys banners that line the streets, pays for Christmas parties for older neighbors and purchases baskets to welcome new neighbors or honors neighbors who pass way with donations to worthy causes, Manseill said.

For information about the tour or to buy tickets, call Manseill at 865-981-5393.

Friday, April 25

Last Friday Art Walk

welcomes Spring

The Last Friday Art Walks started in January as a way to give art and music lovers multiple venues to enjoy the work of area artists and performers. Each month, more than 200 folks braved cold and rain to grab a little culture and fun and see what the Art Walk was all about.

So, Welcome Spring! Last Friday Art Walk, patterned after the First Friday Gallery Crawl in Knoxville, is looking forward to continuing throughout the year and hoping for spring temperatures for April’s walk on Friday, April 25.

At each participating business or location downtown the owners hosted receptions for the crowds that have continued to grow with each successive month.

Katie Gamble, with the recently formed Maryville Art Coalition, organizes the event. To learn more about becoming a sponsor or participating as an artist or performer contact Gamble at Katie@lady-of-the-earth.com.

Saturday, May 3

Princesses, Pirates serve for Junior Service League

A brand new event will gather all the princesses, pirates and their pals at Royal Oaks Country Club on Saturday, May 3. The Princesses, Pirates and Pals Pancake Breakfast will raise money for the Junior Service League’s signature Christmas season event, Toys for Blount County, which provides Christmas presents to needy youngsters in Blount County.

Whitney Cox with Junior Service League said the boys and girls of Blount and surrounding counties are invited to have breakfast with princesses, pirates, superheroes and other costumed characters at one of two seatings on May 3. Patterned after the breakfast events at Disney and other theme parks, the hosts will be dressed in their princess, pirate and superhero finery to serve the children and talk with them.

The two seatings are 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. and the menu features pancakes. Tickets are $10 per person.

“We’ll also have trinkets for sale, photo opportunities, and there’s going to be baskets of goodies based on age groups that we will give away in a raffle,” she said. “This is going to be our major fund-raiser for the year.”

Cox said the planners are hoping for 200 people per seating. Tickets for the event can be purchased at Bristol and Bragg, Artistic Dance Unlimited, the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and from any Junior Service League member.

“The money we raise every year goes straight to Toys for Blount County,” Cox said.

Saturday, May 9

Encore of fun for Big

Barbecue Bash second year

The second annual Big Barbecue Bash will be Friday and Saturday, May 9 and 10, on the grounds of the Alcoa Municipal Building in Springbrook Corporate Center. Cookers and guests start their grills on Friday, with the public invited to come and enjoy the music, vendors, activities and, of course, barbecue, on Saturday, May 10.

The 2007 event featured 36 amateur teams in a competition to see who had the best barbecue. Monies raised by the Big Barbecue Bash go to New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center and Helen Ross McNabb Center, with participants also given the opportunity to raise funds for their favorite charity.

The entry fee varies depending on the amount of space requested and scholarships are available for organizations or individuals wishing to compete in the barbecue contest. “We’ve got early bird rates, so people should take advantage of those,” said Melissa Copelan, one of the Big Barbecue Bash committee chairs.

Copelan said that “first and foremost” people interested in participating or attending the event should expect great barbecue and fellowship.

“Clearly the event last year exceeded expectations so the community was asking for a repeat, and we’re doing that gladly,” she said. Last year’s Bash was the Leadership Blount Class of 2007’s Legacy Project.

Copelan said that in addition to the barbecue, new vendors also will be selling everything from ice cream and shaved ice to hamburgers, hotdogs and funnel cakes.

Another fun activity being repeated this year will be the Mayoral Regatta, a race around the pond in the middle of Springbrook Corporate Center. The event will be “no-holds barred” this year, Copelan said.

“Anything goes! All you have to do is make sure you can carry your canoe or kayak from your vehicle to the water -- in one trip,” she said. “Other than that, we don’t care what you do. It should be interesting.”

In the 2007 regatta, County Mayor Jerry Cunningham and County Finance Director Dave Bennett were disqualified when they crossed the finish line first by taking a short cut across the pond while the other contenders went around the pond.

Copelan said the regatta planners expect more of the same type of controversy at this year’s event. “We fully expect those shenanigans,” she said.

The Regatta and Big Barbecue Bash is free to the public on Saturday.

To sign up to compete in the barbecue contest, regatta or be a sponsor and get an invitation to the prestigious Chris Lilly Cooking School, go to www.BlountbbqBash.com.

© 2008 blounttoday.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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