The show must – will – go on. In spite of Blount County’s seeming penchant this year for losing the leaders in charge of its biggest annual public events right at the crucial time in planning for them – the county fair and the Covered Bridge Festival – history will note that both did go on, and without a visible hitch, at that.
The only casualty so far has been the Covered Bridge Golf Tournament, held last year in September, but rescheduled this year until next spring. Otherwise, all systems are go for an energetic and fullbore renewal of the fall festival on Saturday, Oct. 26, according to Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce assistant director Amy Wilson, now the point person for the festival, assisted by the membership of the Blount County- Oneonta Chamber of Commerce.
Booth reservations for arts and crafts and food vendors were more than 80 percent complete as of last week – normal for such festivals where many reservations are made in the final days and hours before the deadline, Wilson said. ( The deadline is Oct. 18, by the way.) So expect the usual two-plus blocks, curb-to-curb turnout of arts and crafts and food booths come festival day. Entertainers are booked for the day and the schedule is in the process of being prepared.
Here’s a quick rundown on other preparations. Final details on times and places will be provided just before festival weekend.
The roster of festival events kicks off this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at Oneonta High School with the Miss Covered Bridge/ Miss Alabama Preliminary Pageant. The girls are already warming up their gowns.
The Children’s Center is dry-running its recipes for the Oct. 26, Pancake Breakfast at Lester Memorial United Methodist Church, 7 a.m.-10 a.m. Neely Arts Center musicians are practicing in chorus to sing/play for your breakfast there.
The 5K runners are doing wind sprints to prepare for the 8 a.m. Oct. 26 race from The Gym. The Fun Runners are jogging in the breeze to get in shape for the follow up race.
The Quilters Guild is quilting up a storm to prepare for the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Quilt Show on Oct. 25 and 26 at Palisades Park.
The Crossroads Cruisers are revving their engines for the ever-popular festival car show on the 26th.
And the Fliffers (Friends of the Locust Fork River, FLFR) are oiling their boots to guide all comers to walk all over the Powell Falls trail from Swann Bridge and back on the Locust Fork River, also Oct. 26. But first, they’ll get their feet wet Thursday evening at 7 p.m. at The Depot in Oneonta as eminent geologist Dr. Jim Lacefield delivers an illustrated talk, “Geological Clues to the (REALLY) Ancient History of the Locust Fork River.”
Never fear: The Blount County Covered Bridge Festival is on track for another banner year. Like a runaway train. (In a good way.)