A two-day talent show, five-day carnival and shortcake served up in the park are among the early events set to mark the 67th Tennessee Strawberry Festival, a celebration of small-town life in Dayton, Tenn.
The week culminates next Friday and Saturday, May 9-10, with a 90-minute parade down Market Street and hundreds of entertainers and clusters of vendors selling food, arts and crafts on the lawn of the Rhea County Courthouse, 1475 Market St.
Here are some highlights from opening events.
Rhea's Got Talent
Today, May 1, is the deadline to enter the competition in which performers try to amaze a panel of judges "by what you can do in 90 seconds." Need more time? Shell out a few extra bucks on top of your $15 application fee (entry fee rises to $25 at the door). Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 2-3, at Rhea County Middle School (the old high school), 405 Pierce St. in Evensville, Tenn. Doors open at 6 p.m. A cash prize of $1,000 will go to the winner (provided at least 20 acts sign up). Applications can be found at www.daytontnchamber.org and dropped off at the offices at 107 Main St. in Dayton. Call 423-775-0361 for more information.
Ed Gentry Memorial Run/Walk
Set for 7 a.m. Saturday, May 3. Call 423-775-0821 for registration information.
The carnival opens Tuesday, May 6, with armbands costing $20. Buddy Night on Wednesday, May 7, offers two-for-one pricing. Cost on Thursday is $22 for two armbands (must buy two). Friday, May 9, is Fun Night, and ride admission is by tickets only. Armbands on closing day, Saturday, May 10, are $25.
Enjoy this sweet treat in Centennial Park on Second Avenue, starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 7. Entertainment by Lacy J's Dance Studio, Rhea County YMCA Tumblers, Parks Karate School and Flight Tumblers starts at 4:30 p.m.
Fine Arts Show
The Dayton Arts League will presents its fine arts show Thursday, May 8, through Saturday, May 10, inside the Rhea County Courthouse. The exhibit opens at 9 a.m. each day.
If the weather is nice, Pendergrass Park on Main Street will be the setting for children's activities starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 8. If not, the fun moves inside the Dayton YMCA, 232 Fourth Ave.
A link to the full schedule can be found here.