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The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park is celebrating the 2017 Great American Campout with an evening of fire-roasted treats and great regional music around the campfire. The campfire program is scheduled for Saturday, June 24 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and admission to this program is free however; registration is required.

Musicians and storytellers are encouraged to attend the Campfire Sing & Marshmallow Roast for a “round robin” and informal setup. Beginning performers are welcome to participate. Those who simply want to enjoy the summer weather, atmosphere and fire-roasted treats are also welcome to attend.

For additional information, or to register, please call the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park at 276-523-1322.

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 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.

On Saturday, July 1, 2017 downtown Abingdon will be alive with an All-American Independence Day Extravaganza. This free event takes place at the Abingdon Market Pavilion and along Remsburg Drive in downtown Abingdon. Free activities include a watermelon eating contest, a kids’ craft area, historical reenactors, block party with a foam pit, stilt walkers, antique tractor show, blues concert, and firework finale. Food trucks will be present to provide concessions.

At 4:00 p.m. the festivities begin with a watermelon eating contest for those ages 5 to 18. Just like any good watermelon eating competition, no hands or other unique equipment is allowed to be used. Potential contestants should arrive at 3:30pm to sign up, accompanied by their parent or guardian.

Paper Moon Studio will be hosting the Kids’ Craft area from 4:30 to 9:00 p.m. Kids of all ages can participate in creative craft projects for free. Activities at the craft area include a drawing mirror, yard games, and rotating art projects every hour.

From 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., historical reenactors will be celebrating Abingdon’s rich Revolutionary War history and influence. Join the reenactors at Fields Penn Lawn (corner of Remsburg Drive and Cummings St.) to learn about the Overmountain Men and their victory at King Mountain.

The block party and foam pit begin at 5:00 p.m., just an hour before Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin takes the stage at Abingdon Market Pavillion to kick off the free blues concert. Bob has played on several Grammy-winning recordings, won numerous W.C. Handy/Blues Music Awards for his playing and producing, and is a “Keeping The Blues Alive” award recipient.

At 7:15 p.m., The Nighthawks will take the stage. Mark Wenner, Paul Bell, Johnny Castle, and Mark Stutso make up the 21st-century version of the legendary American roots band.

To finish out the night of blues, Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin will join The Nighthawks on stage to play a special Muddy Waters tribute.

The entire extravaganza will end in true American style with a firework finale at 9:15.

All activities will take place on Remsburg Drive in downtown Abingdon, either at the Fields Penn Lawn, the Abingdon Market Pavilion or along Remsburg Drive. Public parking is available in the Municipal Lot off of Main Street, or on the street as available.

For more information about the free activities and the bands performing visit

Town & Country Realty is proud to announce another service to their list of Community Services.
Flag Retirement is the term used to define the proper, dignified way of destroying United States Of America flags that are no longer fit to serve the nation.
The United States Flag Code, Title 4, Section 8k states – “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
At one time, there was a Flag Retirement Box in Kingsport City Hall’s Lobby…since it is no longer there, Town and Country Realty is happy to provide this valuable service to the community.
How do you know your flag should be retired?
Sometimes your flag will only need to be cleaned to restore its original appearance. Regular cleaning of your flag can extend its life considerably. Flags can be machine-washed with a mild detergent in cold water. Flags should be hung to dry or laid flat. Do not fold the flag if it is damp.
If it is possible, mend a tattered flag at early signs of wear. The edge furthest from the staff, known as the “fly” end is usually the first part of the flag to show wear. The fly end may start to unravel due to weather conditions.
It is really up to you to decide when your flag is ready to be retired. If the flag is unable to be repaired or is too tattered then the flag should be retired.
Anyone who has a flag that is worn, faded or tattered and you want to properly dispose of the flag, you can bring it to Town & Country Realty’s office at 304 East Center Street, Kingsport, TN. The United States of America Flag Retirement Box is located in their lobby. Flags may be brought in Monday thru Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. As needed, Town & Country Realty will contact a local Boy Scout Troop and they will pick up the flags and properly dispose of your flag.

The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park will host a Teacher Workshop for area teachers on Wednesday, July 19, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Join museum staff for a chance to enjoy a day in the surroundings of the beautiful Ayers mansion and earn some continuing education credits.

Southwest Virginia is rich in history and it can be challenging for teachers to fit in all the details and make it interesting to students. This workshop will feature speakers who are experts in their fields and will cover several topics identified in the Virginia Studies curriculum framework, including life on the frontier and the development of the coal industry. In addition, museum staff will lead a tour of the museum and demonstrate how to use the collections to aid in teaching.

Teachers can earn three to four hours of recertification credits. Handouts with relevant SOLs and sample lesson plans will be provided.

This event is free and the deadline to sign up is June 30. There is a limit of 15 people, so reserve your place soon by calling 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, June 23 at 12 p.m., featuring Andromeda “Andi” Strong.

Andromeda “Andi” is a resident of Big Stone Gap, Virginia and attends Union High School. She plays trumpet in the Union High School band and is a majorette for the Union High School Marching Band. By the age of 10, Andi had begun playing claw hammer banjo in Mountain Music School. She was able to continue her studies with the WiseJAMS Music Program at the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park. Since then, she has taught herself to play guitar and ukulele and is currently studying mandolin and fiddle. Andi is a decade long performer with Angela Tipton’s Academy of Performing Arts and will be participating in her third season with The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama this summer. She has performed regionally at several different venues with various string bands. She and friend Halie Lynn have their band, Folk Alt. Andi is also proud to be a part of the Miss Ellie String Band honoring the legacy of Mrs. Sue Ella Boatright-Wells.

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 ham and cheese sliders, chips, dessert and choice of beverage. Orders must be made in advance by 4 p.m. each Thursday by calling the park at (276) 523-1322.

The Town of Abingdon has big plans for its summer concert series, now in its fifth year.  The Thursday Jams summer concert series showcases a wide range of nationally recognized bands at the Abingdon Market Pavilion each Thursday evening, May 18 through July 20.  Presented by Blue Ridge Beverages and the Abingdon Music Experience, the concerts are free and open to the public; a beer garden will be provided by Abingdon Main Street, and local food vendors will be on hand.

Beginning May 18th with the diverse jazz sound of Polyrhytmics, the series includes well-known musical acts such as Aaron Lee Tasjan, The Marcus King Band and many others.   This summer will mark the 5th annual Thursday Jams series, which drew thousands of locals and visitors last year. The series is sponsored in part by Virginia is for Lovers Eastman Credit Union,  Universal Fibers and First Community Bank.

Music will begin 7:00 pm each Thursday at the Abingdon Market Pavilion, with a beer garden benefitting Abingdon Main Street opening at 6:30 pm. A variety of food truck and local vendors will be on hand offering concessions.  The events are family-friendly, and attendees are encouraged to bring their chairs and or blankets to enjoy the shows. No outside alcohol is allowed. In case of inclement weather, updates will be posted to social media, and Wolf Hills Brewery will serve as the alternate venue, located at 350 Park Street SE in Abingdon.

The series will host a variety of musical genres including Americana, southern rock, bluegrass, indie folk, soul and roots.  Bands performing during Thursday Jams have also appeared at internationally-recognized festivals like Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Floyd Fest, and Bonnaroo as well as Conan, The Late Show and Music City Roots. Local talent will open each Thursday for the headliners, who will start their sets at 8pm.

For a full listing of musical acts and dates, visit For more information, call 276-676-2282 or email

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

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