Happy BD, free hugs and jazz Tuesdays

Betsy PickleDowntown, East Knox, Our Town Neighbors, South Knox

The home of Tennessee’s first governor, Marble Springs State Historic Site, 1229 W. Gov. John Sevier Highway, is having a big birthday party on Saturday, May 28. It’s for Tennessee Statehood Day, and it’s celebrating the 226th birthday (technically June 1) of the great state of Tennessee. If Sevier were still around, he might not recognize all the activities, but he and his family would probably have a good time enjoying performances, re-enactors (or, as he would call them, neighbors), games, craft vendors (more neighbors), historical lectures (current events to Sevier) and more on the grounds of his long-ago farm. The free celebration takes place 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wild Blue Yonder will perform Appalachian Highland Celtic music 1-2 p.m. on the porch of the gift shop.


Want to support someone you love in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community? The Free Mom Hugs 2022 “Don’t Hide Your Pride” tour is making a stop at South Press, 3615 Chapman Highway. The event at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, will feature Free Mom Hugs founder Sara Cunningham and her son, Parker, along with discussions about equality for all and ideas to promote change. The tour started in the Cunninghams’ native Oklahoma and is crossing eight states. It will wrap up in June in Florida, the “Don’t Say Gay” state.

Congratulations to the Knoxville Women’s Rugby Club for winning their semifinal game at the national championship last Saturday in Atlanta. Providence prevailed on Sunday, leaving the Minx to celebrate a second-place finish, but great job on making it to the nationals!


The heat is on, as we all know, but you can reach a new level of cool every week with Jazz Tuesdays on Market Square. Showtime is 7 p.m., and tonight’s delight is the Greg Tardy Quartet. Born in New Orleans and based in Knoxville, where he teaches at the University of Tennessee, Tardy is an internationally renowned jazz saxophonist. Getting to hear him play for free is a great deal. The Mark Boling Trio, an excellent Knoxville ensemble also from the UT music faculty, plays next Tuesday, May 31, and Tardy will return on Tuesday, June 7.

The 45th running of the Knoxville Expo will take place Saturday, May 28, beginning and ending at World’s Fair Park. This year’s event includes a 10k, 5k, a kids’ one-mile run and a half marathon. Activities kick off at 7 a.m. and will end around 11 a.m.


Memorial Day is set aside to honor U.S. military personnel who have lost their lives in service to their country, and there’s a very special ceremony locally that will follow the roots of that tradition on Saturday, May 28. Historic Ramsey House will hold the Lebanon in the Fork Church Site and Cemetery Decoration Day, starting at 10 a.m. when the names of veterans buried in the cemetery will be read and flags placed on their graves. Afterward, flowers will be placed on other gravesites, and volunteers will remain to answer questions and tell stories about the cemetery’s denizens until 2 p.m. Nearby Ramsey House maintains the county’s oldest cemetery at 2390 Asbury Road in East Knox County.

You can get your game on this weekend at the Rocky Top Game Con at the Jacob Building at Chilhowee Park. The event runs Friday through Sunday and features Rocky Top Rumble 40k, Battle in the Misty Mountains AOS GT, Star Wars Legion Grand Tournament and Stiff Neck Studio S.W.A.T. Paint Class. I have no idea what any of that is, but there’s also a free board game library, demo games, Pokemon and DND – thank goodness for old-school games!

Betsy Pickle is a veteran freelance writer and editor with lifelong connections to East, South and Downtown Knoxville.

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