As a result of nearly $5,000 raised in connection with the Covered Bridge Run, Blount County Community Arts Council president Chase Moore said the group is projecting a full program of plays and free concerts in 2018.
The theater productions include “Steel Magnolias,” set for the Frank Green Building Feb. 16 – 18, and Feb. 23 – 25. Next is the musical version of “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” featuring “as many kids as possible” according to Moore, and planned for the July/August period next summer, in an auditorium setting, if possible. The third offering will be a dinner theater production of a popular murder mystery not yet selected, staged in an intimate setting inside the Agri-Business Center. Cost of each play is $10 apiece for all comers (Willie Wonka might go to $12 due to the extra expense of a musical), with the possibility in the planning stages of a Golden Theater Season Ticket covering all three productions for $20.
The second dimension of the Arts Council program will be free concerts in the park and movies in the park at selected venues around the county. All the venues are not known and the entertainment has not been scheduled yet, but 2017’s list of events and venues will provide a good idea of what’s to come in 2018.
The park at Highland Lake provided an active setting for two concerts and two movies for the 2017 season. Concerts included the Blount County instrumental ensemble “Countywide,” local country/gospel singer Jo Ann Bullard, and the movies “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Moana.” A movie night at Rickwood Caverns was the setting for a showing of “Goonies.”
“Response to these events has been phenomenal,” Moore said. “It’s a way to get the whole county involved with local shows that give people and families something to do without going a long way away, and they’re fun. People have a wonderful time, and the children especially love it. And it’s free,” he enthused. “We’re going to continue to try to get the whole county involved by expanding to other locations as we can find suitable places to hold these events,” he said.
Community Arts Council sponsors for various activities include the Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce, the West Blount Chamber of Commerce, Kim Lee State Farm Insurance, Badcock Home Furniture, and Keller Williams Realty.