’80s rocker Eddie Money to play Secret City Festival in June

Eddie Money

Eddie Money

Eddie Money, a 1980s rock star, will play at the Secret City Festival in June, organizers said Thursday.

Money will be the Friday night headliner. Organizers announced earlier this month that Kix Brooks will headline the Saturday night show.

This year’s festival, the 12th annual celebration, will be June 13-14.

Money’s Top 40 hits include “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Baby Hold On,” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.” He has sold more than 28 million records and plays a “blue-collar brand of rock ‘n’ roll,” a press release said.

The Friday, June 13, show starts at 7 p.m. Local rock band Jada Blade will be the opening act. [Read more...]

ORCVB board elects new officers

Aaron Wells

Aaron Wells

The Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors elected a new slate of officers at its regularly scheduled meeting in February. Aaron Wells was elected chairperson, Mark Harvey will serve as vice chairperson, and Patti Shelton will serve as secretary/treasurer, a press release said. They will each hold their respective positions until January 2015.

The board is comprised of seven community volunteers and three hotel representatives, and it is appointed by the Oak Ridge City Council. Remaining members are Carol Smallridge, Mary Ann Damos, Hugh Ward, Troy Patel, Gretchen Julius, and Misty Williams. There is currently one vacancy.

The ORCVB is a nonprofit organization, formed to strengthen the area economy through the marketing and promotion of Oak Ridge as a destination for meetings, business, and leisure travel. Visit them online at oakridgevisitor.com or call (865) 482-7821 for more information.

Kix Brooks to headline Secret City Festival in June

Kix Brooks with Mic

Country artist Kix Brooks performs at the Great Eastern Exposition in West Springfield, Mass., on Sept. 27. (Submitted photos)

Kix Brooks—one-half of the bestselling country duo Brooks and Dunn—will headline the Saturday night concert at the Secret City Festival in June.

The concert starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 14. Country-rock band Phoenix Drive will open.

“Kix Brooks enjoyed early career success as a songwriter before teaming up with Ronnie Dunn to form the highest-selling duo in the history of country music,” a press release said. “During their 20-year run together, Brooks and Dunn sold more than 30 million records, won more than 75 major industry awards, and celebrated 23 No. 1 hits.”

Brooks is now hosting the long-running syndicated radio program, American Country Countdown, where every week he counts country music’s Top 30 songs. Brooks has received many awards for his broadcasting abilities—including CMA National Broadcast Personality of the Year Award in 2009, 2011, and 2013—making him the first person to ever win a CMA Award in both the artist and broadcast categories. [Read more...]

Spotlight: Oak Ridge welcomes travel writer tour

Travel Writers at ORNL Wall of Flags

Travel writers take a break at the Wall of Flags at ORNL that features flags for all home countries of current employees. Pictured left to right, front row, are Tori Cuddy, Lisa Sonne, Scott Cochran, Tricia Szulewski, and Clement Salvadori; and, second row, Nicole Elliott and Wayne Newton. (Photos courtesy ORCVB)

North American journalists experience adventure in America’s Secret City

Travel writers from across North America were in Oak Ridge on Thursday, researching interesting stories to help promote tourism to the area. With a focus on outdoor adventure and heritage tourism, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development partnered with the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with surrounding tourism organizations, to host the group.

The team of 17 journalists spent the first day of spring with local experts in heritage tourism and outdoor recreation. Each writer had the opportunity to ask many questions while experiencing both the natural beauty of Oak Ridge and the importance the city plays in scientific and technological discovery. Due to the excellent presentations given at each of the stops on the tour, all journalists left with a newfound love and appreciation for the exciting tourism opportunities Oak Ridge has to offer.

“Working with our partners in the capital and around East Tennessee helps Oak Ridge leverage our exposure in larger markets and reach out to broader audiences,” said Katy Brown, executive director of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We rely heavily on our tourism partners in Oak Ridge as we roll out the red carpet for these visiting writers.” [Read more...]

ORCVB, Welcome Center closed until noon Wednesday for nearby construction work

The Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau and Welcome Center will be closed until noon Wednesday because of a water outage scheduled by the city and because the parking lot will be blocked for utility work for the nearby Kroger Marketplace shopping center.

Oak Ridge officials have announced that a short stretch of Robertsville Road between Oak Ridge Turnpike and Raleigh Road will be closed from Wednesday to Friday for the underground utility work. The entrance to ORCVB is in that road section.

The street closure is subject to weather that could cause a delay in the work, a city press release said.

City officials clash over Secret City Festival spending costs

Rick Springfield at Secret City Festival

The Rick Springfield concert at the Secret City Festival in June was the largest ever for the annual festival, an organizer said.

Debate over the costs of the Secret City Festival—and whether the city can afford a $160,000 “party” every year—was briefly renewed again on Monday.

The sometimes-rancorous debate came up as the Oak Ridge City Council considered whether to approve two resolutions laying the financial foundation for the June 2014 festival.

Early in the debate, Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn moved to reallocate the Secret City Festival money and use it instead for a school resource officer in each middle school, or two SROs total.

But Council member Charlie Hensley said Baughn was essentially asking the city to take money it would collect from festival sponsors and use it instead for SROs.

“I think that’s fraudulent,” Hensley said. [Read more...]

Florida runner finishes first in Secret City Half Marathon

Secret City Half Marathon Start

Five hundred thirty-six runners start in the Secret City Half Marathon on Briarcliff Avenue on Sunday morning.

A Florida man finished first in the Secret City Half Marathon on Sunday morning, crossing the finish line almost eight minutes ahead of the second-place runner.

Jason McLeod, 21, of Orlando, Fla., finished the 13.1-mile course in 1:11:53. It was his first half marathon.

McLeod has never competed in a full marathon either, but he did run cross country for four years at Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn.

Gina Rouse, 34, of Knoxville finished second with a time of 1:19:50. She was also the top female runner among the 536 athletes who started Sunday. She has competed in marathons, including the Nashville Marathon in 2006 and Atlanta Marathon in 2011. [Read more...]

Secret City Half Marathon this weekend features 5k, 10k races; health, fitness expo

Secret City Half Marathon Course Map

The Secret City Half Marathon course map is pictured above.

The Secret City Half Marathon this weekend will feature 5k and 10k races, and a new health and fitness expo.

The first-ever Secret City 5k and 10k races start at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Oak Ridge Civic Center.

The inaugural Health and Fitness Expo is scheduled from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, also at the Oak Ridge Civic Center. The event will include booths and exhibits from fitness and health professionals around the region.

“The Secret City Half Marathon Health and Fitness Expo provides the perfect setting to promote Oak Ridge as a top-notch visitor destination,” said Katy Brown, executive director of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Around 600 runners from around the Southeast have registered to participate in the Half Marathon, and we hope every one of them will check in at the Health and Fitness Expo.” [Read more...]

Some road, lane closures during Secret City Half Marathon Nov. 30-Dec. 1

Secret City Half Marathon Course Map

The course map for the Secret City Half Marathon is pictured above.

Some traffic lanes and roads will be closed, and several main roads and intersections will be affected by the Secret City Half Marathon road races next weekend, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, officials said Thursday.

About 800 runners are expected to race on the streets and greenways of Oak Ridge during these family-friendly athletic events, the City of Oak Ridge and Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau said in a press release Thursday.

“Motorists should be aware of runners and walkers in the race areas and try to avoid these roads and find alternate routes if possible,” the release said.

The first-ever Secret City 5k and 10k races will be held Saturday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 a.m. The Oak Ridge Police Department will shut down portions of the race course during the affected time periods. Both races start and finish on Badger Avenue near Oak Ridge Associated Universities and continue along the following route through central Oak Ridge: [Read more...]