Festival time

Susan Johnson highlights the county’s covered bridges during the 2018 Covered Bridge Festival. -Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce

Susan Johnson highlights the county’s covered bridges during the 2018 Covered Bridge Festival. -Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce

With last week’s invasion of crisp mornings and mild afternoons, it can only mean one thing – it’s time for the 2019 Covered Bridge Festival. Offering a full day of fun, arts, crafts, vendors, music, food, covered bridge tours, and more, the Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the 36th Annual Covered Bridge Festival on Saturday, Oct. 26, in historic downtown Oneonta.

Start your morning off supporting the Blount County Children’s Center while enjoying some delicious pancakes at Lester Memorial United Methodist Church. Pancakes will be served from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door. Throw in a car show, a kid’s activity tent, the annual quilt show, shopping at local businesses, and you will fill your day with more excitement than should be allowed.

First Avenue will be lined with arts and crafts vendors and food trucks from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and offer a wide variety of items for purchase. The Blount County Quilter’s Guild Quilt Show will take place at 1225 Palisades Park. The show will be held on Friday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is $5.

For those who love classic cars, a car show will be held downtown from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Friends of the Locust Fork River will be conducting a guided river walk along the Locust Fork River at 9:30 a.m. For those interested, visit friendsofthelocustforkriver.org for more details and to register.

There have been some changes to this year’s event including the addition of the Kids Art Zone tent, which will provide a variety of stations for children to make bracelets, glue leaves on a fall tree, get their face painted, color pictures, and enjoy some balloon art with Mr. Twister. There is no charge and it provides an opportunity for children to express themselves through art.

The Chamber booth will be set up at the intersection of First Avenue East and Second Street and can provide information about the festival or for you to pick up a self-guided tour map of Blount County’s covered bridges. You will also be able to purchase a copy of the new Alabama Bicentennial Cookbook written by Blount County’s very own Danna Standridge.

From 11 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., Standridge will be at the Chamber booth to sign copies of her new book. You will definitely want one for your own kitchen, and they make wonderful Christmas gifts. Cookbooks are $20. Both cash and checks will be accepted.

Anyone who has purchased the Guided Covered Bridge Tour ticket will need to check in at the Chamber booth 15 minutes before your tour. Although the guided tour, which is in partnership with the Blount County Memorial Museum & Historical Society, is sold out for this year, the Chamber is looking at ways to expand next year’s tour to allow for more slots and give more people an opportunity to take the guided tour.

The entertainment stage will be moved to First Avenue next to SwampTails. Entertainment will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 6 p.m. The line-up includes students from the Neely School of Music and Arts from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. until 3 p.m. The Little Ninjas demonstration will take the stage at 10:30 a.m.

Following the Little Ninjas, Night Train, a local country and southern rock band from Oneonta will take the stage from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Just as Night Train exits the stage, the Blount County Bellas will take over and turn the stage into a runway from 2 p.m. until 2:20 p.m. They will showcase fashions from local businesses.

At 2:20 p.m., the stage will be transformed into a set, as members of Covered Bridge Players will do a short scene from their upcoming play Greater Tuna. The final spot on stage will feature the live band, County Wyde. With a mixture of traditional country and southern rock, it will be a great way to wrap up the Covered Bridge Festival.

Chamber director Barbara Andersen is excited about the old and new for this year’s event. She said, “We are trying a few new things this year. There’s something for everyone. Come on out and have a great time.”