TELLICO PLAINS-The town that was
founded on Independence Day always celebrates the holiday in a big
"The annual Square Dance in Tellico
is as common this time of year as ice cream and fireworks," said
Hawkins. "I always joke around to folks and tell them that the
Square Dance is more like a family reunion of some sort. Everyone
comes out for it."
The annual Square Dance is this
Saturday, June 29, in Tellico Plains Historic Town Square. The event
is free to the public and will kick off at 4 p.m., with activities
and gospel music by The New Poplar Bluff Quartet and more.
The Square Dance will begin between 7
and 7:30 p.m. and will continue until midnight.
Proceeds from the annual event go to to
the Tellico Plains Fire Department.
"This is our one big fundraiser of
the year," said Tellico Plains Fire Chief Jamie Sisson. "It's a
tradition with a family atmosphere. It just brings everyone
Originally coordinated with the Wagon
Train, the Square Dance was founded to celebrate the establishment of
the town, the Wagon Train, and Independence Day. Former Mayor Charles
Hall has played a huge role in starting the tradition.
"What began as the Square Dance, has
kind of phased into more of street dance," Tim Childress told The
Advocate & Democrat last year.
Childress' band, Tim Childress and the
Unwound Band, will headline the entertainment and call the square
dances for the night.
"We do old and new country, and some
southern rock, but we also still have some of the old Appalachian
square dancing," said Childress.
Childress and the Unwound Band, who
have been together since the early 1990s, will take the stage between
7 and 7:30 p.m., after a prayer and the singing of the National
"We encourage everyone to come out,
sit back and enjoy the music," said Sisson.
Dawn Williams, an organizer of the
event, said there is a variety of vendors and activities planned,
including the return of the popular children-favorite, the Fun Zone.
For just $5, arm bands can be purchased for children and they can
play on all the inflatables, slide down the water slide, and
participate in the games all night long.
"The Fire Department will maintain
the Fun Zone so parents can leave their kids and go dance if they
want," said Williams. "We'll watch them."
There are several vendors setting up
booths, including jewelry, Thirty-One, purses, Carly's Climb,
novelties and craft vendors, and a dunk tank by Poplar Bluff Baptist
Church. The town will also have a booth taking up donations for the
Veterans Memorial project.
"I hope people in town that night
will notice the construction already taking place on the Veterans
Memorial," said Hawkins. "It's coming along nicely."
In addition, the Friends of the Tellico
Plains Public Library will have a booth set up to begin raffle ticket
sales on a homemade quilt.
"Tickets will continue to be on sale
until November, when we'll draw for a winner," said Joy McDaniel,
treasurer of the Friends of the Tellico Plains Library. "The quilt
will be on display at the booth."
The organization will also be taking up
donations for work on the library's roof.
"The library is needing a new roof," said McDaniel. "We don't think insurance will pay for all of it so
we want to try to raise some money to help with that."
Vending spots for the Square Dance are
still available at a cost of $25 for each booth. There is no charge
for non-profit and church booths.
"There are no food vendors allowed,
but others are still open," said Williams. "We'll take vendor
spots until Friday night, just before the day of the dance."
The Tellico Plains Fire Department will
have concessions set up with a variety of food for sale, including
hamburgers, hotdogs, cotton candy, drinks and more.
The Fire Department will close off the
downtown area at 2 p.m. to set up for the event.
"No traffic will be allowed in town
during the event," said Williams, noting that there will be a
variety of parking areas available nearby.
In addition, the Fire Department has a
handicap area sectioned off for people who want to attend the event
but can't get out and participate.
"If they'll get whoever drives them
to find a Fire Department member, we'll get them to a reserved spot
so they can stay in their car and watch if they want," said
Williams. "We try to accommodate everyone. Sometimes people want to
watch but can't get out and roam around."
Hawkins said life-long residents and
visitors always anticipate the annual event.
"I couldn't think of a better way to
celebrate our nation's independence and the town's beginning," he
Attendees should only bring two things:
"A lawn chair and their dancing
shoes!" said Williams. "That's all they need!"
For more information about vendor spots
or the event, contact Williams at 423-295-5675 or Sisson at
Note: In the case of heavy rain or
inclement weather, the Square Dance will be postponed until Saturday,
July 6. The Tellico Plains Fire Department will make the final
decision based on the weather this Saturday afternoon.