Covered Bridge Festival is Saturday


A bird’s-eye view of First Avenue during the 2019 Covered Bridge Festival. -Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce

A bird’s-eye view of First Avenue during the 2019 Covered Bridge Festival. -Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce

After taking a COVID break, the Covered Bridge Festival is back and it’s coming up Saturday. The weather is forecast to be fabulous.The festival shines a spotlight on all that is good about Blount County, plus you can enjoy the arts and crafts, live music, Rib Rally, river walk, quilt show, cruise-in, great food, and fun for all ages.

It’s hosted each year by the Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce and they’ll have a booth next to the music stage, so drop by to say, “Hello.” With the stage located in the 100 block of First Avenue East, groups from around the county will make their appearances throughout the day. Students from the Neely School of Music and Arts will showcase their talents, the Cotton Pickin’ Kids will be featured, the Pine Mountain Possum Pickers will play, Audacity will rock it out, and the Edmonds Butler Band rounds out the day with their many different sounds, including rock, country, blues, and instrumental.

The Rib Rally will be located next the music stage, and tables and chairs will be set up for residents. In order to keep the playing field level, ribs will come from the same source, and will be cooked by both professionals and weekend warriors on the day of the festival. Judging will take place at 1 p.m. From then until 6 p.m., the general public will have the opportunity to enter the rib rally and sample the ribs. Samples are $2 each, and those who enter will be able to vote for their favorite for the People’s Choice Award. Prizes range from $100 to $1,000 for fifth through first place.

All proceeds will go to the Oscar Bothwell Memorial Scholarship Fund. Bothwell, who passed away last year, owned O’So Good Barbecue, a staple booth at the Covered Bridge Festival. The loss was a heavy one, and will surely be felt during this year’s festival. His impact on the town has not gone unnoticed, with his dedication and loyalty to Oneonta forever remembered through the scholarship fund and the future benefits it will have. Chamber director Barbara Andersen said, “He was always very involved in Chamber events and was a big part of the Covered Bridge Festival each year. He was always very generous to the community, and this scholarship is a very fitting way to remember him.”

Festival booths will be lined up on First Avenue East from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and while you are checking out the booths, don’t forget to take the opportunity to visit the local shops and restaurants. The Covered Bridge Cruise-In will be from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the 400 block of First Avenue East (near the Oneonta Utilities building) and in the parking lot behind the 300 block.

Friends of the Locust Fork River will lead their annual river walk from Swann Covered Bridge to Powell Falls and back from 9:30 a.m. to noon. The event is free; but to register and get details, go to FriendsOfTheLocust- ForkRiver.org.

The Blount County Quilters’ Guild will have their show at Palisades Park on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. If you have never been to this show before, prepare to be amazed! These quilts are exquisite works of art.