IF YOU GO
What: Valley Fest
Where: Downtown Dunlap, Tenn.
When: Noon to 5 p.m. CDT today
How much: $5 adults, $1 children 12 and under
DUNLAP, Tenn.—Kathy Seals stood by a smoking stump to cook hot dogs Saturday at the first Valley Fest in Dunlap.
Seals said she learned to make “stump dogs” from her father, who used to sell them on the mountain when he was a little boy. The family started cooking dogs at the Coke Ovens Bluegrass Festival a few years ago and the specialty took off with the locals.
“There’s a smokiness, just like being cooked on an open fire,” Seals said.
Friday’s downpour and Saturday’s chilly gusts didn’t deter people from attending the downtown festival.
Sylvia Warren, an artist from Fredonia Mountain, was impressed with the turnout. She and her husband sell their handcrafted Chulengo clay pottery at events such as Dollywood’s Southern Gospel and Harvest Celebration.
“For the very first year, they put on a very good production,” she said. “We’ve seen some first-year shows that were really little and didn’t have much of a crowd. But it seems like there is a lot of everything from soapers to crafters and all kinds of food vendors.”
Steve and Aubrey Abbott from South Pittsburg, Tenn., were out for a father-daughter day. Both got their faces painted like dogs, and they proudly stopped for people to snap pictures of them.
Abbott said “being able to do something locally that didn’t cost a lot of money” was the best part of the festival.
Music stages sponsored by the two local banks are set up at each end of the festival, featuring local talent and guests. “American Idol” contestant Phil Stacey, a native of Cleveland, will perform at 2:30 p.m. today.
While families headed to the kid zone and music lovers went to the stages, military veterans went to the display honoring Vietnam veterans.
Joe Evans, standing before a wall listing Tennesseans who died in that war, called them heroes and said the cultural festival was a perfect place to display the wall.
Karen Marshall, one of the festival organizers, huddled under a windblown tent trying to keep warm. She said preparations started about nine months ago.
“A lot of people volunteered their time and equipment,” she said, noting that it truly is a local endeavor. “A lot of people have worked with other events to come together and knew what they were already doing.”
Corrina Sisk-Casson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.