I was invited to attend an event for Tennessee Tourism to learn more about one of our great neighbors. I've been to Tennessee many times over the years, Chattanooga primarily. A great day trip to see things like the Tennessee Aquarium and more. It has been a long time, though, since I went further than that.
I had a blast talking with a Master Woodcarver from Dollywood. He told me various stories about items he's crafted, folks he's sold them too, kids he's seen in his workshop and more. LOVED him to death, I think he and I spoke for 15-20 minutes. I'd love to go to Dollywood just to visit him with a side trip to see everything else he talked about. He told me it takes him 1.5-2 days to carve one of these, it then takes 2-3 days for it to be painted by another artist. Beautiful work.
I also enjoyed talking to the Park Ranger. My family loves to visit the various parks, we have several on our docket that are here in GA that we haven't seen yet. My son's troop plans to go to Chickamauga for their reenactment later this year. She told me about a big conference they have coming up in October about the Civil War. It's the Tennesee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event, from Oct 9th - 12th. You can get more info on this event at http://www.tncivilwar150.com. It's free, you have to register though.
After talking with these folks, I took a break and enjoyed the food that was being shared. Barbecue pulled pork, ribs and a WHOLE PIG.
The food was provided by a company called Hog Wild. Very tasty coleslaw and baked beans too.
There was beer and wine provided as well. I don't drink generally, I especially don't drink if I'm the one going to drive. So, I didn't sample any of those. I did get daring, though, and tried a shot of moonshine. While eating and wandering the various displays, there were various groups providing music. One was a group called Alanna Royale.
There were cupcakes and deserts to be sampled from a couple of different bakeries. A lady with a pewter casting company had items on display. One of the highlights, though, was a sample of items from Graceland (guard on duty next to display too).
I've never visited Graceland, though it's one of those items on my "to do" list. All in all a wonderful evening. It has added to my list of local trips I want to do.