It’s festival time, and the sixth annual White Lightning Trail Festival will be held June 26 and 27.
The 2015 award winning festival, a production of the Claiborne County Tourism Commission, begins at 2 p.m. Friday, when “The Real Billy’s” take the stage for the opening ceremony. Live music is continuous from 2-8 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday.
“Bring a lawn chair and prepare to spend the weekend in downtown Cumberland Gap,” said Carl Nichols, director of Claiborne County Tourism Commission.
In addition to the entertainment and many food and arts and crafts vendors, this year’s event will include special guests Mark and Digger from the popular Discovery Channel TV show The “Tennessee Moonshiners” and Pam Sutton, widow of the late Popcorn Sutton. There will also be a special appearance by President Abraham Lincoln on June 27. He will be presenting three presidential addresses in the Downtown Festival Park at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.
The entertainment stage is made possible through a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. Musicians scheduled to perform are:
Real Billy’s, 2 p.m.; Ken Wilson Band, 3 p.m.; Chenoa Partin, 4 p.m.; Sunrise Ridge Blue Grass, 5 p.m.; Zac Hart, 6 p.m.; and Shadow Ridge Band, 7 p.m.
Tommy White, 10 a.m.; TJ George, 11 a.m. ; Michael Jacobs Sacred Nation (Native American music), noon; Deric Jeffers, 1 p.m.; Long Neck Gypsies, 2 p.m.; McKenzie Partin, 3 p.m.; Tennessee 90, 4 p.m.; Jade Robertson, 5 p.m.; Pine Mountain Grass, 6 p.m.; Kelsey Kate, 7 p.m.; and Old Tradition Blue Grass Band, 8 p.m.
There will also be dancing in the street on Saturday. Those scheduled to perform are:
Country Girls Line Dance, 11 a.m.; Broken Spur Line Dance, noon; Cumberland Gap Dance Club, 1 p.m.; Stepping Out Line Dance, 2 p.m.; Pine Mountain Dancers, 3 p.m.; Stoney Creek Cloggers, 4 p.m.; Tri-State Martial Arts, 5 p.m.; HY Livesay Cheerleaders, 6 p.m.; and Cumberland Gap High School Cheerleaders, 6:45 p.m.
The 2015 White Lightning Trail Festival Beauty Pageant will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday on the Festival Park stage in downtown historic Cumberland Gap. There are eight age categories for girls, infant to 21 years old.
For entries after June 22, the late entry fee is $50. Pageant directors are LeeAnn Walker (423-489-8181), and her daughter, Courtney Walker, Miss Parsons. Hair and makeup can be done by Mandalyn Noe (423-526-1941). For an application,visit claibornecounty.com. Choose “Visitor Information” then choose “Tourism Commission.” Print the application and mail entry fee and application to: Claiborne County Tourism Commission, P.O. Box 649, Tazewell, TN 37879 or call 423-626-4149 or 865-585-7386.
The fourth annual bike run to benefit The Pat Summitt Foundation will take place on Saturday. The Pat Summitt Foundation is working to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. To participate, be at the registration site in downtown historic Cumberland Gap by 9:30 a.m. The run begins at 10 a.m. For more information, contact Luther or Stacy Curry at 423-441-2366 or Carl Nichols at 865-585-7386. The ride fee is $10 per rider.
The White Lightning Trail Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation created to promote the White Lightning Trail which passes through nine East Tennessee counties and to educate the public about our rich cultural heritage through Appalachian arts and crafts, Appalachian Music, cultural demonstrations, books and our Appalachian history.
The festival is a member of the Southeast Festivals and Events Association and has been recognized the past three consecutive years as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast for June by the Southeast Tourism Society.
“Come, help us celebrate all that is East Tennessee and the 200 miles of driving trail that brings East Tennessee music, crafts and culture to life,” said Nichols.
To learn more about the White Lightning Trail and the 15 other driving trails that make up the Tennessee trails initiative, visit TNtrailsandbyways.com.
Reach Marisa Anders at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @newsgirl88.