A previous Fourth of July parade passes through downtown Dunlap, Tenn.
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Blackbird Revival, a rock band from Chatsworth, Ga., will headline the city of Eton, Ga.'s fireworks show at Pleasant Valley Orchards & Fairgrounds.

Gas up the car.

Maybe you weren't planning a Fourth of July road trip, but the long holiday weekend provides plenty of reasons to reconsider those plans.

Wherever you look around the region, you can find an abundance of homespun and heartfelt Americana as local citizenry celebrate the USA's 240th birthday with music, parades, car shows, a poker run, duck race, 5Ks, tables full of ice cream, barbecue and watermelon, and enough fireworks to light up the sky four nights.

Here's how more than 30 communities in the tri-state will mark the occasion. Yours not listed? Email, and we'll add it online.

Fourth on the 1st


* July 1: The event opens at 5 p.m. at the Pleasant Valley Orchards & Fairgrounds, 4564 Highway 411 N. Blackbird Revival will be the featured band. The site is home to a weekend flea market, and those vendors will be set up during the day. Visitors can prospect at the ruby mine for rubies, emeralds, rose quartz and other minerals. A children's playground includes inflatable jumpers and slides, as well as a Ferris wheel. Fireworks start at dark. Admission and parking are free, and the site is handicap-accessible.


* July 1: Gates open at 5 p.m. at the Fort Payne Sports Complex, 4501 Gault Ave. N. Food vendors will be on-site, and the city provides complimentary peanuts, popcorn and drinks, as well as a free American flag for everyone through the gates. Rob Bouchard and Curtis Strange will take the stage at 6:15 p.m. The Russell Gulley Band will follow at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. (all times are Central).

FOURTH on the 2nd

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July 2 Independence Day holiday events


* July 2: An old-fashioned Fourth of July parade through downtown Blue Ridge gets the day started at 10 a.m. The Seed & Feed Marching Abominable Band, known as Atlanta's wildest community band, will be among the highlights. At 3 p.m., the focus shifts to Lake Blue Ridge Marina, 335 Marina Drive, for BBQ, Beer & Boom. The Country Outlaws will entertain. At dusk, fireworks will be shot over Lake Blue Ridge, where some of the vessels from the previous night's Light Up the Lake Boat Parade will be afloat., lakeblueridge


* July 2: This picturesque town about 15 miles south of Rome, Ga., begins the day with a 5K race through downtown ($30 entry fee). The community pool at Rolater Park will be open for swimming, and starting at 6 p.m., an oldies band, Misdemeanor, will entertain until the fireworks show at 9 p.m. On Monday, July 4, the town's 31st annual Fourth of July Parade will take place at 9 a.m. Spokesman Billy Abernathy says the event started as "two kids in a wagon" and now draws a homespun collection of residents on lawn mowers and tractors.


* July 2: The Stars & Stripes Celebration promises a busy time at Crossville City Park off Highway 68. Entertainment by Atlanta-based band Drivetrain and local musician Cody Johnson starts at 4 p.m. CDT. The pool will be open for free swimming, and there will be softball, volleyball, train rides, inflatables, arts and crafts, a cornhole tournament and a golf cart parade. Fireworks will start at dark.


* July 2: The fun starts at 6 p.m. with a parade of decorated floats along River Street through the historic downtown. Afterward, folks head to the city parking lot for live music, leading up to fireworks at dusk.


* July 2: DeSoto State Park, 7104 DeSoto Parkway NE, celebrates with an Independence Day Parade at 3 p.m. that leads to an ice cream social at 4 p.m. (all times Central). Park visitors who wish to take part in the parade should decorate their cars to show their patriotic spirit and meet at park headquarters. The parade goes to the Improved Campground, where ice cream and other refreshments are served. Guests are welcome to come early for a Splish & Splash Pool Party from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 1 ($1 admission) and an ongoing flag-making contest. Flags must be turned in by 9 a.m. Saturday at the Nature Center, and the winner will be announced at the ice cream social.


* July 2: Freedomfest, presented by the Graysville Volunteer Fire Department, is 4 to 11 p.m. at Kristopher's Kingdom park, 475 Black Track Road. Games, music, trolley rides, a Lifestar medical helicopter fly-in and the East Tennessee Storm Trackers will be part of the fun. An auction at 10 p.m. will feature prizes from Rhea County businesses and attractions throughout Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. Fireworks start at 10 p.m.


* July 2: Lake Winnepesaukah, 1730 Lakeview Drive, offers the first of two nights of fireworks this Saturday. The park is open 10 a.m.-10 p.m., and fireworks start at closing time.


* July 2: Gates open at noon for the massive Tullahoma Independence Day Regional Celebration, which will take over Wilkins Stadium, Grider Stadium and Frazier McEwen Park. Parking will be available at Northgate Mall, 1600 N. Jackson St., and free shuttles will be provided. A Kidz Zone will include an exotic animal petting zoo, the Cooper and Avery trackless trains, face painting, water slide, playground and treats. Food, arts and crafts vendors will be set up throughout the day. Two stages will feature musical acts, including the 129th Army Band and cover bands that pay tribute to Steely Dan, Chicago and The Eagles. The day culminates in a musically synchronized fireworks show simulcast on WDUC-FM 93.9 at 9 p.m. (all times are Central). Most events are free, though there may be an additional charge for some children's activities. Proceeds from the day support the Tullahoma Kiwanis Club.

Bikers may take part in the Independence Day Poker Run, which starts with registration at 8:30 a.m. at Grider Stadium. Kickstands go up at 9:30 a.m. and riders have four and a half hours to make stops at London's Restaurant and Russell Barnett Kia in Tullahoma, Sonic Drive-In in Monteagle, The Hangar Bar & Grill in Winchester and Lynchburg Harley-Davidson. Cost is $15 to enter, $10 for passengers, $5 for an extra card. Riders will meet back at the Independence Day Regional Celebration to claim their prizes. Best hand wins $200, and the worst hand is good for $100. Other prizes will be awarded. Proceeds benefit the Highland Rim Kiwanis Club.

Tullahoma music schedule

(All times Central)

Community Stage

12:30 p.m. The Guys

2 p.m. 129th Army Band

3 p.m. Southern Pride

6 p.m. Wildfire Trio

Main Stage

4 p.m. 12 Against Nature (Steely Dan tribute band)

5 p.m. Make Me Smile (Chicago tribute band)

6:30 p.m. Tullahoma Kiwanis Club recognition

7 p.m. Eaglemaniacs


* July 2: The city of Winchester and area businesses kick in for fireworks over Tims Ford Lake, a display that organizers say can be seen from all 100 acres of Tims Ford State Park, 570 Tims Ford Drive. Visitors to the park are welcome to take part in Pickin' & Grinnin', an every-other-Saturday jam session in which local musicians gather to play gospel, country and bluegrass. Music lasts from 5:30 to 9 p.m. CDT in the Rec Room.

FOURTH on the 3rd

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July 3 Independence Day holiday events


* July 3: Pops on the River with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera at Coolidge Park.


* July 3: Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder perform with the East Tennessee Symphony Orchestra at Veterans Memorial Park.


* July 3: Patriotism at the Post takes place on the polo field adjacent to the 6th Cavalry Museum, 6 Barnhardt Circle. At 7:30 p.m., the Patriotic Kids Contest will award the children wearing the most red, white and blue with $50 gift certificates (one boy, one girl age 12 or younger), and winners of the Times Free Press coloring contest will be announced. (Download a coloring sheet at and get it to the museum today, June 30. Submissions may be left in the mailbox if the museum is closed.) At 9 p.m., the Tabernacle Big Band will present a patriotic concert and sing-along. Fireworks start at dark.


* July 3: Camp Columbus, 8601 Camp Columbus Road, is a private campground operated by the Knights of Columbus, but the gates will open to the general public at 5:30 p.m. Sunday for Fourth of July festivities. In addition to the playground on-site, there will be a water slide to entertain the kids. The bands Crossing Lines and Flatlands Jump will perform before the fireworks show at dark. Concessions will be available. Admission is free.


* July 3: The city will shoot off fireworks at dark, following the annual barbecue for residents.

FOURTH on the 4th

Photo Gallery

July 3 Independence Day holiday events


* July 4: The main celebration starts at 7 p.m. at Athens Regional Park, 30 Decatur Pike, with a Shoney's pie-eating contest, model airplane demonstrations and other activities. The Sounds of Summer concert series, which normally falls on Saturdays, will move to Monday with Sweet Georgia Sound headlining and the Tim Hughes Quartet as the opening act. Fireworks are scheduled at 9:30 p.m.

Earlier in the day, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., residents can gather at Market Park Pavilion, 106 S. Jackson St., for live music and free hot dogs, chips and drinks, courtesy of American Legion Post 68, Camping World and Blood Assurance.


* July 4: Gates open at 5 p.m. for the Star Spangled Celebration at the Northwest Georgia Regional Fairgrounds, 1060 Liberty Road SW. Concerts are scheduled on two stages, featuring the Jessie Brown Band, Blueridge String Band, Josh Bagwell Band, Perfekt Peace, One Touch Quartet, local dance groups and other performers. One can't-miss attraction is Carrie McQueen, a nationally known stilt walker and juggler. Food and other vendors will be set up on-site. Fireworks start at 10 p.m. Lawn chairs are recommended for seating.


* July 4: The Creative Discovery Museum, 321 Chestnut St., celebrates in kid-centric fashion with a Red, White and Blue Day that incorporates history lessons. "So often our July 4 holiday celebrations focus on the way we celebrate, such as barbecue and picnics, rather than the reason we celebrate," says Director of Education Jayne Griffin. "Red, White and Blue Day offers a way for parents to convey the meaning of the holiday to children through fun activities that only Creative Discovery Museum can provide." Patriotic crafts and activities will run from noon to 4 p.m. At 2 p.m., there will be a reading of the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson and Uncle Sam characters, recognition of the military, a balloon drop and child-friendly fireworks inside. At 2:30 p.m., visitors will stream onto the plaza for cake, ice cream and a 21 Diet Coke salute to America. The museum will be open 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Admission is $13.95 for ages 2 through adults (discounts for military personnel and first responders).


* July 4: The Chattanooga Lookouts start a five-game home series against the Birmingham Barons on Monday at AT&T Field, 201 Power Alley. Game time is 6:15 p.m., and a fireworks extravaganza set to patriotic music will follow the final out.


* July 4: Jewish Cultural Center, 5461 North Terrace, will take its picnic to the air-conditioned indoors at 11:30 a.m. Grilled chicken and summer sides will be served, and vegetarian meals are available by advance request. Area blues musician Dr. Clark White, aka Deaconbluz, will be back by popular demand to entertain with his Chattanooga All Stars Band. If paid by Friday, July 1, cost is $10 for adults, $5 for kids 8-16, $25 for a family of four. Prices increase by $4 per person at the door. RSVP to 423-493-0270, ext. 10, or


* July 4: The intersection of Paul Huff Parkway/Stuart Road and Northwest Keith Street/North Lee Highway is a vast conglomeration of restaurants and retailers. Expect every one of those parking lots to be packed Monday night for Cleveland's Fourth of July fireworks, to be staged from T.L. Lowery Global Foundation's hillside property at 340 Paul Huff Parkway. Officials with next-door neighbor Bradley Square Mall report that the mall will close at 7 p.m. as its parking lot fills, though OK Maguey Mexican Grill will be open until 8 p.m., and Santa Fe Cattle Co. and the Carmike movie theaters will be open regular hours. Santa Fe will even deliver to-go orders to the parking lot. The fireworks extravaganza, scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m., will be choreographed to music played on WCLE-FM Mix 104.1.


* July 4: Concessions and kids inflatables will be ready for action at 5 p.m. as Crossville's Fourth of July Celebration gets underway at Centennial Park, 837 Industrial Blvd. Music by Carrie Hassler and Soul Survivor starts at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks are scheduled at 9 p.m. (all times Central).

Residents can get a jump-start on the holiday weekend tonight, June 30, when the Cumberland County Community Band presents its annual patriotic concert at 7 p.m. CDT at Stone Memorial High School auditorium, 2800 Cook Road. Selections range from "God Bless the USA" and "Liberty Bell March" to "Carnival Variations" and "Genius of Ray Charles." Admission is free. For more information, call Bruce Gallant at 931-707-8174 or email


* July 4: Krystal hamburgers, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and BubbleBall soccer figure into plans at Heritage Point Regional Park, 1275 Cross Plains Trail. Dalton Parks and Recreation Department will have a variety of music, food, bouncy houses and other activities on-site, but it may be the walk-up athletic events and eating contests that command the most attention. First up is a disc golf tournament at 2 p.m., followed by a cornhole competition at 4 p.m. Little Miss Rec and Junior Miss Rec will be crowned in ceremonies starting at 5 p.m. (registration for this and eating contests is on-site from 2 to 4:30 p.m.). On the agenda at 5:30 p.m. is BubbleBall soccer, in which each player wears a bouncy body inflatable — kind of like a hamster ball for humans. Eating contests are at 6 p.m. for Krystals and 7:30 p.m. for Krispy Kremes. A champion wrestler will be determined in bouts at 6:30 and 8 p.m. The pool at John Davis Recreation Center and the Splash Pad at Mark Gaston Community Center will be open extended hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; admission to either is $2. Other activities are free. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.


* July 4: Confederate Railroad headlines a special edition of Downtown Summer Nights, a concert series that normally features local artists on Saturday nights, which is moving to Monday for the holiday weekend. Music starts at 4 p.m. at 353 Abel Ave. across from the Meigs County Courthouse. Taking the stage before the platinum-selling country band are Kinslee Greene, Angel Thurman, Emmy McKenzie and Kyle Littleton, Emi Sunshine, The Clarks and Melissa Lee. Food and craft vendors will be on-site. Fireworks will follow at dark.


* July 4: Residents bookend the Fourth of July with a parade through downtown at 9 a.m. and fireworks at 9:15 p.m. (all times Central). This year, though, instead of gathering at the Sequatchie County Courthouse square for food and festivities during the day, residents will congregate at Harris Park, 63 Church St., site of a three-day music festival, July 2-4.

Expanded from a single day last year, the music festival will be headlined Saturday by The Kentucky Headhunters, Sunday by the Jason Lovins Band and Monday by Chattanooga party band The Beaters, whose show will lead up to the fireworks display. General admission is free. Limited VIP seating is available for $20 for a single night, $40 for all three nights. Call City Hall at 423-949-2115 to reserve.

Dunlap Music Festival schedule

Saturday, July 2

6-7:30 p.m. Stallion Band

7:45-9 p.m. The Kentucky Headhunters

Sunday, July 3

3:30-4:15 p.m. Cody McCarver Band

4:30-5:45 p.m. Chris McDaniel Band

6-7:30 p.m. Jason Lovins Band

Monday, July 4

11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Across the Wide

1:30-3 p.m. Jill's Kids

3:15-4:15 p.m. Taylor, Reed & Hughes Band

4:30-5:30 p.m. Just Country Band

5:45-7:15 p.m. Cody McCarver Band

7:30-9 p.m. The Beaters


* July 4: Etowah's Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration takes place around the historic L&N Depot, 727 S. Tennessee Ave. The day, with the Independence Dash 5K road race/walk and a Boy Scout pancake breakfast. The rest of the day offers pizza-eating contests, patriotic programs by The Gem Players, games and live entertainment by the Ryan Daniel Band. Fireworks are set to start at 9:45 p.m.


* July 4: Henagar celebrates the Fourth at the Sand Mountain Potato Festival. Events begin at 10 a.m. with a parade from the Dollar General store, 17073 Highway 75, to Henagar City Park, 94 Barron Drive. Opening ceremonies at the park start at 11 a.m. (all times are Central). After the raising of the flag and singing of the national anthem, families can enjoy live music, crafts, food and games for the kids. Fireworks start at dark.


* July 4: Inflatables, water slides and food vendors will be added to the mix at Jasper City Park, where a home-run derby and little-league ballgames will happen throughout the day, starting at 10 a.m. Fireworks are scheduled at 9 p.m. Pick up lunch at the VFW Memorial Post 6362, which will be serving barbecue for $8 a plate starting at 11 a.m. (all times Central).


* July 4: The Freedom Festival, featuring live music, concessions and more than 50 vendors, is scheduled from 3 to 11 p.m. at Municipal Park, 638 S. Main St. Activities include free swimming, an Ultimate Frisbee competition, karaoke and an old-timers game. Set to perform are Laney Marks, The Spankys Band, Campbell Station Band and 8TRK Band.

Show up early in your red, white and blue for the inaugural Freedom Fest Run starting at 8 a.m. at Joe Stock Memorial Park, 300 N. Main St. Registration for the 5K and 1-mile family fun run/walk through historic downtown LaFayette starts at 6 a.m. Entry fee for the 5K is $30 until Saturday, July 2, $32 after. The fun run is $15 for early registrants, $20 on race day. Proceeds benefit LaFayette Rambler Running, the high school's cross-country and track-and-field programs.

Freedom Festival activity schedule

3 p.m. Music via Play List with Tim Kohlmann

3-8 p.m. Free swim (must have proper swim attire)

5:30 p.m. Ultimate Frisbee competition (Field 1)

6-9 p.m. Karaoke with DJ Ray Wallin (Rec Center gymnasium)

7 p.m. Old Timers Game (Field 1)

Stage schedule

3:15-3:30 p.m. Laney Marks

3:30-5 p.m. The Spankys Band

5:15-7:15 p.m. Campbell Station Band

7:30 p.m. Welcome, posting of the colors and national anthem

7:45-9:45 p.m. 8TRK Band


* July 4: Lake Winnepesaukah, 1730 Lakeview Drive, presents the second of two weekend fireworks shows when the park closes at 10 p.m.


* July 4: Independence Day starts with a parade along Main Street at 10 a.m. CDT and ends with fireworks at dark at the ball park on Dixie Lee Avenue. The parade route is from Jim Oliver's Smokehouse, 850 W. Main St., to City Hall, 16 Dixie Lee Ave. Trophies will be given in a dozen categories, including Most Patriotic, Best Float, Best Car, Best Truck, Best ATV and Best Animal. www.monteagle


* July 4: Sewanee marks its 30th year of big Fourth of July celebrations with another packed schedule. Monday dawns with activities all around the village, including an arts and crafts fair, dog show, pies for eating, cakes for eyeballing, concerts by Sewanee Summer Music Festival musicians, air show, airplane rides and a day-ending fireworks blowout.

Come early, Sunday, July 3, for a street dance with Last Rebel from 8 p.m. to midnight at Sewanee Market (Cravens Hall if raining).

Sewanee 4th of July schedule

(All times Central)

8 a.m. Flag raising with SSMF Brass at Abbo's Alley

8 a.m. 39th annual Pub Run at Monteagle Sunday School Assembly

9 a.m. Arts & Crafts Fair at Shoup Park

10 a.m. Sewanee's All-American Food on University Avenue

10 a.m.-noon. Mutt Show at Manigault Park (Equestrian Center if raining)

11 a.m.-1 p.m. Children's games, mystery fortune teller, face painting at American Legion

11:30 a.m. Pie eating contest at Guerry Garth

Noon. Viewing of cake decorating contest entries at Sewanee Elementary School

Noon. Sewanee Ringers play Mildred and George Bentley change ringing in Breslin Tower

1 p.m. Carillon recital by John Bordley and Ray Gotko in All Saints' Chapel

1:30 p.m. Sewanee Choracle concert at Angel Park

2 p.m. Parade on University Avenue (from Sewanee Market to Hall Street)

3:30 p.m. Air show (weather permitting) at Sewanee Airport

3:30-6 p.m. Airplane rides at Sewanee Airport ($15 per person; written parental consent necessary for passengers 16 and younger)

7 p.m. Music by Brian Potter & Friends at Lake Cheston

7 p.m. Patriotic Celebration by SSMF students and Faculty Brass Quintet in Guerry Auditorium

Dark. Fireworks over Lake Cheston (parking at lake for handicapped and special needs only)


* July 4: Residents will split their time between Althaus Park for barbecue and Shackleford Ridge Park for fireworks. See accompanying story.


* July 4: Events are scheduled all day at the ball parks at Soddy Lake.


* July 4: Musical entertainment, plus free hot dogs, chips and drinks will start at 5 p.m. at the Tower Bank Stage on Cedar Avenue (Front Street). Loyd Park pool will be open for free swimming from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (all times are Central). Fireworks will follow at dark.


* July 4: The Shake the Lake celebration gets underway at 9 a.m. with food and craft vendors set up at Veterans Park on Park Street. Registration for the Mr. and Miss Firecracker Pageant starts at 9 a.m., and contests for age groups from newborn to age 8 begin at 10 a.m. ($10 entry fee). Organizers say many children dress in red, white and blue apparel, and points are deducted for formal pageant attire. Sign-ups also will be accepted for two eating competitions later in the day: pickles at 1 p.m., watermelon at 1:30 p.m. Each has competition categories for youths up to age 13 and for ages 14 through adult. A duck race is scheduled for 5 p.m., though Betsy Graves of the Parks and Rec Commission says the drought may force her to chase the rubber duckies with a water hose or fan them forward with garbage can lids as they float down the little creek that runs through the park. Cost is $1 per duck to enter, and the first duck to the finish line wins the buyer a La-Z-Boy chair. Second- and third-place winners receive $100 and $50 gift cards, respectively, and there's a special prize in store for the last-place finisher. Music by Southern Horses, Kristen McCampbell and Rhea Springs Revival will follow, leading up to fireworks over Watts Bar Lake at dark.


* July 4: Sweetwater goes from sunup to sundown for its annual Independence Day celebration. Leading off at 7:30 a.m. is the One Nation Under God Independence Day 5K road race starting at 300 Main St. Entry fee is $30, and proceeds go to Monroe County Young Life, a multicultural ministry. The event includes a free kids race, the Duck Park Dash, for children 12 and younger. A cornhole tournament starts at noon at Sweetwater Fire Hall No. 2, 355 Highway 322. The tournament is double-elimination with cash prizes for the winners. Activities shift back to downtown at 3 p.m., with a parade, kids zone with inflatables, live music, karaoke contest, vendors, food, a street dance with Salt and Light Studios and fireworks at dark. Admission is free.

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281.

Kaboom! Here's a 4-day list of Fourth of July holiday pyrotechnics

Not all of the places in our Fourth of July roundup will end the day with fireworks. Here's the quick list if you're in pursuit of pyrotechnics.


* Eton, Ga. (Pleasant Valley Orchards Flea Market)

* Fort Payne, Ala. (Sports Complex)


* Blue Ridge, Ga. (Lake Blue Ridge)

* Cave Spring, Ga. (downtown)

* Crossville, Ala. (City Park)

* Ellijay, Ga. (downtown)

* Graysville, Tenn. (Kristopher's Kingdom ball park)

* Lakeview, Ga. (Lake Winnepesaukah)

* Tullahoma, Tenn. (Frazier McEwen Park)

* Winchester, Tenn. (Tims Ford Lake)


* Chattanooga (Coolidge Park)

* Collegedale (Veterans Memorial Park)

* Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. (Barnhardt Circle)

* Hixson (Camp Columbus)

* Lakesite (City Park)


* Athens, Tenn. (Regional Park)

* Calhoun, Ga. (Northwest Georgia Regional Fairgrounds)

* Chattanooga (AT&T Field)

* Cleveland, Tenn. (near Bradley Square Mall)

* Crossville, Tenn. (Centennial Park)

* Dalton, Ga. (Heritage Point Regional Park)

* Decatur, Tenn. (Meigs County Courthouse)

* Dunlap, Tenn. (Harris Park)

* Etowah, Tenn. (L&N Depot)

* Henagar, Ala. (City Park)

* Jasper, Tenn. (City Park)

* LaFayette, Ga. (Municipal Park)

* Lakeview, Ga. (Lake Winnepesaukah)

* Monteagle, Tenn. (ball park)

* Sewanee, Tenn. (Lake Cheston)

* Signal Mountain (Shackleford Ridge Park)

* Soddy-Daisy (Soddy Lake)

* South Pittsburg, Tenn. (downtown)

* Spring City, Tenn. (Veterans Park)

* Sweetwater, Tenn. (downtown)


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