Area lawmakers announce $72,190 in Anderson County arts grants

Tennessee legislators announced Friday that seven arts grants worth $72,190 have been awarded to six organizations in Anderson County.

The recipients include the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge Community Playhouse, Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, Oak Ridge Community Art Center, Tennessee Mountain Writers, and Appalachian Arts Craft Center.

The grants include two grants with a combined total of $20,800 for the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge in the categories of Arts Education-Community Learning and Partnership Support.

The other grants include: [Read more…]

Battle of the bands helps Hospitality Houses at MMC

Doc Rock Check Presentation

Local physician band Second Opinion donated $2,211 to Methodist’s Hospitality Houses, the band’s health charity of choice, when they competed at Doc Rock. Pictured from left are Sandra Jernigan, Knoxville Academy of Medicine Alliance member; John Jernigan, MD, Second Opinion drummer and retired otolaryngologist; Kim Maes, Hospitality House coordinator at Methodist Medical Center; and Ken Luckmann, MD, Second Opinion band member and retired gastroenterologist. (Photo submitted by Covenant Health)


Second Opinion, an Oak Ridge-based physician band, has donated $2,211 to the Hospitality Houses of Methodist Medical Center. The donation was from the band’s participation in Doc Rock for Health, an annual battle of the bands, which was hosted by the Knoxville Academy of Medicine Alliance at Knoxville’s Old City earlier this year.

On June 19, Kim Maes, coordinator of the Hospitality Houses, was presented with the check. The houses have been the band’s longtime charity of choice for the event. Their participation has helped raise more than $10,000 for the Hospitality Houses.

Methodist’s Hospitality Houses primarily provide free lodging to families and patients who travel to Methodist for cancer treatment, as well as other outpatients who require extended treatment. [Read more…]

Secret City Festival growing, evolving, but not ending, officials say

Secret City Festival World War II Re-enactment 2015

A Flak 88 firing during a Battle of Normandy re-enactment at the 2015 Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge. (Photo by Rob Welton)


Note: This story was last updated at 10 a.m.

A rumor that circulated widely this month said this was going to be the last year for the Secret City Festival.

But city officials said it’s premature to say that.

It is true that a Special Events Advisory Task Force has been studying changes to the annual festival, including moving it from June and making it into an expanded celebration in the fall, starting in October and continuing through Veterans Day (November 11). It could be renamed the Secret City Celebration, implemented by a new nonprofit expected to become self-sustaining within five years, and add events while continuing to include the Secret City Festival.

At a Wednesday evening meeting, Task Force members said many of the current festival activities could continue, including music, World War II re-enactments, historical displays, and children’s activities. But they also said there could be opportunities for new partnerships with other organizations, including Wounded Warriors and Oak Ridge Playhouse. And it’s not clear that the Secret City Festival would continue to be a two-day event.

Task Force members say they’re hoping to help create something bigger and better. [Read more…]


Record crowds: Secret City Festival was ‘tremendous success’

Secret City Festival Concert 2015

A concert crowd at the 2015 Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge. (Photo by Robert Welton)


The 2015 Oak Ridge Secret City Festival drew record attendance, despite the heat, organizers said. Concerts by the Marshall Tucker Band and Three Dog Night attracted the highest number of spectators in festival history.

“We were ecstatic with the turnout for both concerts,” says, Marc DeRose, executive director of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We knew the bands would be popular but didn’t expect to see quite so many people. It was outstanding!”

Attendances for The Marshall Tucker Band and Three Dog Night were more than 2,200 and more than 3,500, respectively. The previous record was 2,300 for the Rick Springfield concert in 2013.

“After seeing how many tickets were sold at the gate for Friday’s Marshall Tucker concert, we decided to move the concert fences back to accommodate the expected additional 1,000-plus spectators for Three Dog Night,” DeRose said. [Read more…]

What’s happening in Oak Ridge from June 19-24

Here is a summary of events happening in Oak Ridge from Friday, June 19, and continuing through June 24.

This weekly listing of events is compiled by the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau: [Read more…]

Lavender Festival celebrates herbal products on Saturday

Lavender Festival Crowd

The Lavender Festival will celebrate “all things herbal” in Jackson Square on Saturday.

The 17th annual festival is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 20. There is no cost to attend.

“Jackson Square has been under renovations since January, but they are expected to be finished in time for the festival, which will go on as planned,” organizers said.

They said free parking is available in surrounding city and business lots, and on side streets.

The Lavender Festival focuses on herbs, health, gardening, and cooking, and it features more than 100 vendors, a dozen herb and health presentations, children’s activities, and many musicians. Vendors will line the covered walkways of Jackson Square, the parking lot, and both sides of Broadway Avenue, which will be closed to traffic. [Read more…]

Children’s Museum summer camps continue in July

Imagination Station Summer Camp continues at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge through July, inviting children to experience garden to table fun, create with chocolate and other culinary treats, learn from the artistic masters, fashion designs in clay, and many more adventures.

The summer camps, through July 31, offer activities for children ages 3-5 in preschool classes and for children entering grades 1 through 7. Clay camps with professional clay artist Sherrie Carris will be offered throughout the summer for children ranging in age from 4-13.

The week-long camps are offered Monday through Friday each week. Fees for a single camp are $125 for members and $135 for non-members. For combo camps, morning and afternoon, fees are $210 for members and $220 for non-members. Payment may be made by phone with Visa, MasterCard or Discover, by check, or online through PayPal.

Camps for the week of June 29-July 3 are: [Read more…]

Photos: Record-setting crowd at Three Dog Night concert

Secret City Festival Crowd at Three Dog Night Concert

Although numbers weren’t immediately available, organizers said a record-setting crowd attended the Three Dog Night concert at the Secret City Festival on Saturday. Here’s a panoramic view from the stage. (Photo by Jon Hetrick)


Numbers weren’t immediately available, but organizers and volunteers said a record-setting crowd attended the Three Dog Night concert at the Secret City Festival on Saturday night.

Here are a few photos by Jon Hetrick and John Westcott. [Read more…]

Children’s Museum hosts Wonderful Wednesdays

The Knoxville Opera will bring entertaining and popular selections from 20th century Broadway musicals and opera classics to the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge on Wonderful Wednesday, from 11 a.m.-noon June 17.

The museum will host special Wonderful Wednesday guests from 11 a.m.-noon Wednesdays during Imagination Station Summer Camp through July 31. Summer campers at the museum each week will participate, and the programs are free to the public with admission.

Other Wonderful Wednesdays are: [Read more…]

Louie Bluie Music and Arts Festival seeks artists, crafters for 2015 Craft Village


Applications are now being accepted for the 9th annual Louie Bluie Music and Arts Festival’s juried craft area. Applications received by the deadline of August 31 will be reviewed by a committee for originality, craftsmanship, design, material selection, and appropriateness to the Appalachian tradition. Photos of the work to be sold are required to complete the application.

Organizers said they are hoping to attract more Oak Ridge area creatives to their festival.

Individual artists, craft or art nonprofit groups, school art clubs, or groups whose missions are related to crafts or art are considered prospective vendors, as well as book authors whose material reflects the heritage and culture of the Appalachian voice. [Read more…]

Secret City Festival outlines security procedures for concert attendees

Visitors to the Secret City Festival can expect tighter security measures and maybe a few delays when entering the concerts this year, all in the name of safety, organizers said.

No backpacks or coolers will be allowed into the concert site, and all bags will be subject to search, organizers said in a press release. This includes bags used to store chairs. Visitors should expect delays if carrying in anything that needs to be searched.

Organizers suggest festival attendees only bring their concert tickets, money for food, an ID to buy or consume beer, and a chair for the concerts. Once inside the concert site, festival seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The concert site opens at 5:30 p.m.

[Read more…]

Photos: Memorial Day Concert in Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge Memorial Day Concert

Photo by Julio Culiat


The Oak Ridge Community Band performed its annual Memorial Day Concert on Monday, May 25, at at A.K. Bissell Park. Here are pictures by Julio Culiat, a contributor to Oak Ridge Today.

The Monday program included patriotic music and popular American favorites. The 2015 Memorial Day concert had a number of special guest vocalists and a guest announcer, former Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan. Guest vocalists included Charlie Blake, Mike Cates, Lettie Andrade De La Torre, Whitney Denton, Deidre Ford, Robert May, Brill Morrow, Roscoe Shipley, and Melody Turner. They sang “God Bless the USA,” “The Stars and Stipes Forever,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “The Armed Forces Salute.”

Among other numbers performed on Monday were “Highlights from Showboat,” “The Girl I Left Behind Me,” Sousa’s “Semper Fidelis,” and “Black Granite,” which is a tribute to Vietnam War veterans. [Read more…]