The Friends of the Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library in Townsend, TN, a group who helps support one of two public Blount County Libraries, have scored another successful event on March 19, 2016 with their third annual Shakespeare Festival.
After presenting THE TAMING OF THE SHREW in 2014 and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING in 2015, Bill Gathergood presented A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM this year.
The comedy, which was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. Gathergood, a Shakespeare enthusiast who has taught the Bard for several decades to classes in the U.S. and Russia, brings Shakespeare to life even to those who find the playwright “difficult.”
The members who attended the event, which is held at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend, are eager to volunteer for the roles that Gathergood lays out for the play. After all, who could resist playing Titania, the Queen of the fairies, an Athenian Duke or the mischievous Puck who has magical power over mortals?
Besides learning about a Shakespeare play, those in attendance found about the theater in various parts of the world as well as during Shakespeare’s time. Gathergood explained that audiences could get quite rowdy and those sitting in the pit were very close to the actors on stage.
Judy Krueger, who chaired the committee that planned this year’s Festival, had this to say: “Since our little Townsend Library here in Blount County is temporarily closed because of structural problems to the building, there are many individuals in the area who want to keep the Library’s programs alive. Offering a Shakespeare play to the community is not only a cultural opportunity but it lets the community know that the Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library is still a viable force. We particularly appreciate the efforts of the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in offering a venue to help us make the Shakespeare Festival happen each year. We’ll be having the Festival again in 2017 although a date has not yet been set.”
Two other activities sponsored by the Friends of the Library are already in the planning stages for this year. Both events will be held at the Heritage Center. On October 7, 2016 the Friends will host a storytellers’ festival. This will be the first time that the group will be involved in this activity which has been held for several years at the Center.
On November 5, 2016 the second annual Handcrafters’ Showcase, which features locally made craft items for sale, will be held. This latter event was so popular that there have been requests to schedule it again.
Meanwhile, the Library Board is working towards getting the necessary repairs made to the building which is leased from the Tuckaleechee Utility Board. Then the Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library can open its doors again. mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and BreakfastRead More
Dolly Parton’s song, COAT OF MANY COLORS, tells of her mother taking bits of cloth and creating a patchwork quilt coat for her daughter. In addition to being a nice song, Dolly’s patchwork coat represents the skills of mountain women and men who stitch together works of art that are displayed annually in Pigeon Forge. March 15-19, 2016, the Piece-Makers and the Night Quilters’ Guild brought together over 500 quilts from around the region and displayed them at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, TN. This was the 22nd annual Mountain Quilt Festival.
In addition to displaying quilts, the guild arranges for over 70 quilting technique classes to be taught by professional quilters. They also bring in over 30 vendors who have products and material for sale to the many quilters who attend the festival.
Prizes are also given to winners in several categories. Distinctions are made between professional and amateur quilters with prizes for large and small quilts, hand and machine quilts, pieced quilts and appliqué quilts.
In addition to the Festival, the Piece Makers’ Guild work year-round to create “charity quilts” that are given free to battered women’s shelters. When children are brought into the shelter with their mother, each child receives a quilt they can cuddle with at the shelter and take with them when they move on.
Just as Avie Lee Parton hand stitched Dolly’s coat of many colors, hundreds of people in the East Tennessee region save bits of cloth and plan patterns and color combinations to bring together works of art that will be given away to a loved one or remain in the family for generations.
By Bill Gathergood for Gracehill Bed and BreakfastRead More
The Blount County Library in Maryville, TN is presenting a four part series on Southern Appalachia. The series will emphasize natural history, indigenous people, immigration, and the culture and social history resulting from this combination. The first two-hour presentation was on Feb. 29, 2016 with Dr. Paul Threadgill from Maryville College. He talked about natural resources making a place attractive to live and the physiography from the Blue Ridge through the Appalachia Plateau. He touched on the Smoky Mountain climate, precipitation, animals and soil. I quickly learned my college biology classes were a long time ago, but it was nice to be reminded how interconnected we are in the web of life.
The last three classes will be held at the Blount County Public Library in the Sharon Lawson Room, 508 N. Cusick St., Maryville TN 37804. Contact person for the series is Joan Van Sickle Sloan (865-982-0891). Admission and parking are free.
March 28, 2016 at 7PM the earliest Human Settlement and Recent Archeological Settlements in Southern Appalachia, presented by Dr. David Anderson, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
April 18, 2016 at 7PM European Immigration to Southern Appalachia by Dr. Aaron Astor, Professor of History at Maryville College.
May 23, 2016 at 7pm, Hillbilly Culture of Southern Appalachia, speaker to be announced. mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast
Holidays and baking are two words that have been inseparable since our Townsend, TN Bed and Breakfast near Gatlinburg, opened 15 years ago this Thanksgiving. Each year, with one or two exceptions, all my Christmas gifts are goodies I have baked. Normally I complete this by Thanksgiving and deliver my tins or baskets from Thanksgiving through December. This year I was sick the latter part of November, and I didn’t finish the “selection process” until late last night. Picture me looking like Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream. As of yesterday, I considered backing off a little with the variety to give myself a break, but then I began thinking about some of the cookies from my childhood that we hadn’t baked in 30 years, and we always try a couple of new recipes. At that point I’m thinking the 12 days of (Xmas) baking, one thing a day, until I added everything up this morning and realized I had picked out 22 different recipes.
On the list: one carrot cake (Louise’s finest recipe from Sweetberries B&B), blue ribbon muffins for Pete, Ginny’s mint brownies, apricot bars (which no Xmas would be complete), choc chip bars from my childhood, several loaves of apricot walnut and cranberry pecan breads, both blue ribbon winners at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center’s Blue Ribbon County Fair, Jan Whitt’s toffee, my all-time favorite sweet, Cheerio mix, John Wessell’s popcorn mix called Country Cottage and 12 double batches of cookies.
Of the cookies, six have made the list here for the last decade, two are from my childhood, (why has it been 30 years since I made almond crescents??) and four are new recipes. Of the four new ones, one is a potato chip cookie recipe from a cookbook I have. Reminded me of cookies when I was a kid. I thought maybe Great Aunt Margaret on the Janke side, but my mom just said she thought it was my Aunt Stephanie’s recipe on her side of the family. Good reason to give her a call and compare recipes!
The recipe I have in hand calls for 3/4 C ground up potato chips that you always find in the bottom of the bag. This morning for breakfast I made myself a lovely grilled cheese on sunflower bread, dill pickle and I opened that bag of chips that has been sitting on the shelf. So the laugh of the day? It contains the most perfectly formed chips, large and nary a one broken. What’s a girl to do? Maybe I’ll accidentally drop the bag in the next couple of days and then I won’t feel bad about breaking some up for the recipe…
My mom was never the cookies and milk after school type of mom, but I have to give her credit, she baked up a storm before Christmas. She’d run out of tins and start filling the turkey roaster and the soup pots. Most were double and triple batches. She said she wanted at least a few of each kind to put out on Christmas when the relatives came, and that was about all that was left as we Janke kids had sticky fingers for weeks before the main event. Or maybe is was only mizkathleen who had the sticky fingers. I spent some real quality time in the dark pantries of my various childhood homes.
I could run a contest to see who comes closest to guessing the total amount of butter used for the aforementioned recipes. Or, I might just pop a cookie and go and take a nap. I hope this month finds you all smiling with friends, family and the “reason for the season…” mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and BreakfastRead More
Thousands of quilters gather at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, TN to look at quilts brought in from all over the United States. Local Quilting Groups (Piecemakers and Sevier Valley Quilters Guild) organize and administer the Festival. There are separate categories for professional and amateur quilters with divisions for hand and machine quilting, Appliques, Christmas Quilts, Children’s Quilts and military themed Quilts for the Quilts of Valor Organization.
This year the hundreds of quilts were displayed in the same room as the vendors who sell material, long-arm quilters, quilt kits for beginners and many other helpful tools for the quilting process. Patrons could wander the hall, looking at quilts and then talk to vendors who are able to explain what techniques can be used to accomplish certain effects. The week long Quiltfest is held annually in March at the Pigeon Forge LeConte Center, 2986 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
I could not attend the show this year and I’m sorry I am unable to attribute which quilters did which quilts… but as always, thank you for sharing your beautiful art work. mizkathleen@ Graehill Bed and BreakfastRead More
A year ago one of my long time doctors dropped me an email asking if I knew about Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge. Said if I didn’t, I needed to scope it out and inform my guests! After asking around a little, I found a few of my friends had attended over the years and Bonnie handed me the 73 page pamphlet last week when we met for lunch. It took two hours to plow through the thing! I plan on attending a couple of different days. It’s coming up fast, Saturday, January 24, through Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the new and beautiful LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. For an online complete listing of “exhibits, performances, workshops, classes, walks and talks that are both informative and entertaining” go to http://www.mypigeonforge.com/events/wilderness-wildlife-week/, scroll to the bottom of the article and click for the schedule.
Since Bill and Bonnie Gathergood are regular attendees of Wilderness Wildlife Week, I asked Bill to write a synopsis of the event. Here are his thoughts…..
Wilderness Wildlife Week is a free celebration of East Tennessee culture, history and science. Hundreds of entertaining lectures on bears, birds and butterflies of the area are free to the general public. Concerts by local musicians; Boogertown Gap and Lost Mill String Band are presented along with historical church music with Sacred Harp singing and traditional hymns.
For 25 years, Wilderness Wildlife Week, a concept begun by Ken Jenkins and Bill Landry, brings fascinating information about the National Park and surrounding areas. There are historical lectures on the Lewis and Clarke Expedition, the Trail of Tears march of the Cherokee as well as traditional Native American folk tales. The Master Gardeners of East Tennessee present several lectures on gardening techniques, creating butterfly habitats and planting specific flowers to draw hummingbirds or monarch butterflies to your yard. There are several classes on nature photography including a photo contest with all participants voting on the best photos.
For the last two years, Wilderness Wildlife Week has been held at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. The free lecture series are presented in the center’s many classrooms. People can also sign up for over 60 hikes through the nature trails of the National Park. All activities are free.
Thanks Bill, my first guest blogger! Blessings, mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast
After 14 years of taking just about every conceivable photo at Gracehill Bed and Breakfast, guests still surprise me. It puts a smile on my face to see how different people see my home in a way I never thought of. The photos are by Daniel Ray of his wife Paulette, staying for some needed R&R. Later that evening, he recorded a frog doing his thing croaking, and then played it back to the poor little guy who just went bananas. Said frog will probably need long term therapy…..Read More