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Rob-Con 2017 is set for Saturday and Sunday, July 29-30 at Viking Hall in Bristol, TN. Times are 9am – 5:30 PM on both days. Activities include a costume contest at 3PM on Saturday, video, board & card games and guest writers and artists.

Timothy Zhan is the guest of honor this year. He is a New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars books.

“An Evening with Timothy Zhan” is set for Saturday night at 7:30PM at Machevelli’s Restaurant in Bristol. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at Mountain Empire Comics in both Bristol and Johnson City. Dinner is included and participants will have a chance to speak and ask questions with Zhan.

A portion of the proceeds goes to the Holly Help Spay-Neuter Fund to help underprivileged animals in our community.

More information on Rob-Con can be found at

More information on Holly-Help can be found at

The Civic Chorale, the region’s leading independent auditioned choir, will hold auditions for new members beginning at 7:30 PM on Thursday, August 17 in the choir room of Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church, at the corner of Roan and Market Streets in Johnson City, where the group rehearses. The choir rehearses Thursday nights from 7:30-9:30 PM, and the first rehearsal for the fall season is Thursday, August 24.

Ideal candidates are singers with good sight reading skills who love choral music. Interested singers should contact the conductor, Rod Caldwell, via email at to schedule an audition. Auditions are private and short (about 10-15 minutes), and involve singing a familiar piece and musical skill assessment. Specific auditions requirements are available on the chorale’s website under the “join us” tab.

The Abingdon Farmers Market will hold its annual Tomato Fest Saturday, August 5th. With free tomato tastings, a best tasting tomato competition, tomato ice cream demonstrations and sampling, and live music the festival is a time to celebrate the start of tomato season in Southwest Virginia and the true beginning of summer. The Abingdon Farmer’s market opens at 8:00am Saturday, with Tomato Fest events kicking off at 9:00am.
Between 9:00am and 1:00pm, vendors will be offering free samples of many different types of tomatoes, including Cherokee Purple, Giant Belgium, Ponderosa Pink and more, all locally grown. There will also be a “Best Tasting Tomato” contest among vendors to determine what vendor has the best tasting tomato thus far. The announcement of that winner will be at 12:30pm.
There will also be a tomato ice-cream making demonstration held on the lawn. Nathan Breeding of Southern Culture will be making a delicious and unique Heirloom Tomato Ice Cream with Sweet Basil Whipped Cream for customers to taste. Recipes will be available at the demonstration table so that you can take this unique tomato dish home with you. These events will begin at 9am and go on until all samples have been given out.
The Abingdon Farmers Market will be having its regular market during this event. Over 45 vendors will be selling all local produce, meats and crafts from 8am to 1pm. The Music at the Market program will also be hosting local band “Chris Jamison” from 9am-12pm.
Contact Market Manager Haley Stewart at (276)-698-1434 or email with any questions, or visit the market website at or follow them on Facebook.

The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park will host its 2nd Annual Kids Summer Fest on Saturday, July 29 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Festivities will begin at 9 a.m. with a guided hike and scavenger hunt along the Greenbelt Trail situated alongside the beautiful Powell River. Following the hike, the children will join park staff and volunteers for a fun day of crafts, games and educational activities on the park grounds. Children can explore a fire truck and be invited to learn the art of creating their own rubber stamps. Children will also be invited to explore their creativity through activities such as music, drama, storytelling, painting, square dancing and other fun activities. The day is sure to be both fun and educational as participants celebrate the beauty and culture of our Appalachian home.

Admission to this program is free for children 6 to 12 years of age, but children are encouraged to bring a lunch. Registration is also required.

For more information or to register for the Kids Summer Fest, please call the park at 276-523-1322.

The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park will host its next event in the weekly “Lunch on the Lawn” series Friday, July 28 at 12 p.m., featuring Miss Ellie’s String Band.

Miss Ellie’s String Band is a wonderful all-girl string band and a product of Mountain Empire Community College’s (MECC) Mountain Music School and area Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAMs) programs. They are dedicated to continuing the music legacy left by Ms. Sue Ella Boatwright-Wells (Miss Ellie). They play a variety of music in a special acoustic style that reflects their backgrounds at M.E.C.C. and JAMS.  The “Lunch on the Lawn” event is free and open to the public. Visitors may bring their own lunch or pre-order one from the Museum for $6 each. This week’s featured menu is hamburger on the grill, chips, fruit cup, dessert and a choice of beverage. Orders must be made in advance by 4 p.m. each Thursday by calling the Museum at (276) 523-1322.

The cast of Liberty! the Saga of Sycamore Shoals invites you to join them for their 39th year of presenting the Official Outdoor Drama of the State of Tennessee. Each year, the Fort Watauga amphitheater comes to life with the sights and sounds of the late 18th century on the colonial frontier.
Liberty runs Thursdays-Saturdays, July 13 – 15, 20 – 22, and 27 – 29, 2017 in the Fort Watauga Amphitheater at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park in Elizabethton, TN (use 1651 West Elk Avenue for GPS purposes). And, all of this is provided to local residents and area visitors at a most reasonable price.
General admission tickets range from Free for Children 5 and under; to $6.00 for Students 6 to 17 years; $11.00 for Seniors 55 and up; and $14.00 for Adults. Members of Friends of Sycamore Shoals may attend the drama any night for a reduced adult/senior admission price of $7.00.
Tickets can also be purchased online at or at the door.

The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park’s Artisan Series will offer a craft project on the third Monday of every month from March through December, providing visitors with opportunities to create handmade crafts with regional artisans.

For more information about upcoming workshops, please contact the park at (276) 523-1322.

The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
For more information about Virginia State Parks’ activities and amenities or to make reservations in one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK or visit

If you would like your local event listed here, please send it to

Or add it yourself to our Community Calendar