Chattanooga Now Pickers and play highlight Dayton's Scopes Festival

Chattanooga Now Pickers and play highlight Dayton's Scopes Festival

July 15th, 2011 by Clint Cooper in Chattanooga Now - Art


What: Scopes Trial Play & Festival.

When: Festival, 5-8 p.m. today, noon-8 p.m. Saturday. Play, 8 p.m. today, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Rhea County Courthouse, 1475 Market St., Dayton, Tenn.

Admission: Free (festival); $10 (play).

Phone: 423-775-9847.


Mitigation experts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will have a display booth at the Scopes Trial Play & Festival 6-8 p.m. today and 3-8 p.m. Saturday. They will offer information on preparing for future disasters, flood insurance and rebuilding safer and stronger.


* Featured entertainers: Include Roy Harper, Cox Family, Sandy Gilliam, Bill Lee, Tom Morgan and Lynne Haas. Festival hours 5-8 p.m. today, noon-8 p.m. Saturday. Contact: 423-775-2996.

* Battle of the Pickers: Starts at 3 p.m. Saturday, with prizes awarded for Best Solo Picker and Best Pickin' Group. Register today at Rhea County Welcome Center, 107 Main St., Dayton, Tenn., or starting at 2 p.m. Saturday in Centennial Park, Second Avenue across from Rhea County Courthouse. Contact: 423-775-0361 or 423-775-9847.

Nearly two weeks past the fireworks of the Fourth of July, the 24th annual Scopes Trial Play and Festival this weekend in Dayton, Tenn., will offer the story of how a sleepy, little Southeast Tennessee town became the center of legal fireworks in 1925.

While the play that tells the story, "One Hot Summer," is the centerpiece of the weekend, festivalgoers also can hear live music, watch the first Battle of the Pickers, see an antique tractor and car exhibit, check out crafts and sample food from a number of vendors around the Rhea County Courthouse tonight and Saturday.

The festival, according to Main Street Dayton Executive Director Anna Tromanhauser, will be presented by a coalition including the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Dayton, the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council, and Tom Davis of Bryan College, who serves as festival chairman.

This is the third annual presentation of "One Hot Summer," which was written by Dayton resident Curtis Lipps. At prior festivals, a play based on the transcripts of the creation/evolution trial - and more historically accurate than the Broadway and movie production "Inherit the Wind" - was presented.

"This is a play that tells how [the trial] came to Dayton," said Tromanhauser. "It's the story behind the story. A lot of people don't realize how that came about."

The play will be offered at 8 p.m. today and 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the courthouse.

New to the festival this year is the 3 p.m. Saturday acoustical instrument pick-off - featuring both individuals and groups - at Centennial Park, adjacent to the courthouse. Participants can register until 2 p.m. Saturday.

The festival attracts some 800 to 1,000 people per year, according to Tromanhauser.