Fun Day on WBL With K-Dub

KW shoot 2In the middle of May, our friends from Knoxville Weekend (affectionately known as K-Dub) came to Roane County to see what’s so great about Watts Bar Lake. Our friend and host, Jac B., was up for any adventure we threw her way, and little did she know just all we had planned for her!

We began in the morning at Kingston City Park for a Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga lesson from Krystal Hennagar. Krystal is the instructor and proprietor of Roane County SUP Yoga. She is well versed in poses, perfect balance and creating an atmosphere of calm all while on the water. Watching Krystal, you’d think anyone can stand on a board and practice yoga, and if you ask her, that’s exactly what she’ll tell you! In just a matter of minutes, Krystal had Jac out on the board standing and stretching. Pair the peace of a yoga class with the serenity of still water, and you’ve got yourself a fitness utopia.

From there, we hopped on a boat with our captain for the day, Michael Heidle of Bunch Marine. Bunch Marine provided a beautiful pontoon boat for our day on the water. In fact, Bunch sells boats and boating accessories for every type of lake lover!

On the way, we had the opportunity to show the Knoxville Weekend team Gizmo Island and tell them about Gizmo Jam. They were all amazed to know that the entire music festival can be held the Saturday before Memorial Day and is only accessible by boat.

We also got to show them Fort Southwest Point and Camp John Knox by boat and share the rich history of Roane from right there on the water.

Around 11:30am, we docked at Blue Springs Marina for lunch at The Crow’s Nest. There, Jac had the opportunity to interview restaurant owner, Janet Steidle, about their food including their delicious burgers, crab cakes, and world-famous meatloaf.  We found out that Jac loves pretzels and beer cheese, so we ordered the appetizer to split. There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a lakeside lunch at Blue Springs!

We loved having the opportunity to tell her about the sailboats, the fish and the friendly atmosphere.From there, we headed over to Caney Creek RV Resort & Marina to hang out with manager Doug Phillips.

Doug gave Jac the rundown of all things RV as they discussed the resort and it’s amenties as well as the access to the marina and Roane County Park.

After a quick cruise by Roane County Park, we headed back to Kingston to finish out the day and wrap up the shoot.

It was a blast to take our new friends out to some of our favorite spots on WBL! Wanna see the video? Click here and you can!



#SoakinRoane, Roane County, Roane Tourism, Watts Bar Lake

More Visitors Are Soaking in Roane

Muir Fest booth SIR

Soak in Roane booth at John Muir Fest (l-r): Marilyn Calfee, Roane Chamber Chair; Eddie May; Pam May, Vice President and Teresa Jackson, Member Services Coordinator, the Roane Alliance

Four years ago Roane Tourism amped up our marketing program by first creating a more visual website – after all, people do come here because of the beauty.  So this  required photo and video shoots to capture life in Roane.  Then we went to work marketing all over about how you could Soak in Roane (SIR), the first-ever tourism campaign  that launched early spring with social media contests throughout the summer with SIR swag, a Jackson kayak from Uncle Lem’s and a weekend stay in an RV from Caney Creek RV Resort.

We created new visual media such as pull-up banners, post cards, visitors guide plus SIR t-shirts, stickers, koozies and bags.  Not to mention, WBIR’s spotlight on Watts Bar Lake in July, with a live remote for Live at Five at Four at Kingston’s City Park. Whew!  What a busy year!   But the amount of advertising even surprised us when it was all said and done.  Take a glimpse as I flip through the 2017 Media Marketing book!

And the numbers show those efforts are working.  Comparing 2017 to 2013 (before we amped up the marketing program), visitor spending in Roane increased by $5.3 million, creating $380,000 more in local tax receipts that goes directly to our schools.  Increasing visitors also provides more jobs in the hospitality businesses.  In that same time, 70 more tourism jobs became available that provided $2.5 million in payroll.   So yes, we feel our efforts are working and can’t wait to meet even more visitors coming to Soak in Roane!

Want to know more about the Roane Alliance and how we work to increase Roane’s economy?   Check out our 2017 Annual Report and visit www.VisitRoane.com to learn more about tourism in Roane.


Dive Into Summer Scavenger Hunt

scav card imageWhat’s more fun than a friendly competition? To celebrate Summer being in full-swing, we’ve created a signature scavenger hunt designed to get locals and visitors out to all 5 of our cities in Roane County! We’ve randomly selected 10 must-sees in Roane County that we’d love for you to visit. All you have to do is head to each location, get a valid signature from an employee or volunteer and bring the card back in to claim your prize! Prizes begin with 5 signatures, but they get better with each additional signature! For just 5 signatures, you win a t-shirt! For 8, you get a t-shirt AND a hat. With all 10, you get a Soak In Roane prize pack ($75 value). You can print this card or come by the welcome center to pick one up anytime Monday-Friday 8:30-5. Let the signature scavenger hunt begin!

Locations Include:

Fort Southwest Point – Tennessee’s Only Pioneer-Era Fort reconstructed on its original site in Kingston.

DOE Public Bus Tour – Leaves from the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge with stops at Oak Ridge National Lab and “behind the fence” in the Wheat Community.

Oliver Springs Depot Museum – Visit the Museum to learn about the interesting and somewhat surprising history of Oliver Springs as well as the important part that trains played in developing the town that falls within 3 counties.

Windmill Inn – this former church building is now a bed and breakfast that caters to ATV and Jeep riders at Windrock Park.

Rockwood Visitors Center & Museum – this historic location is filled with treasures from the past that tell the story of how Rockwood came to be. On many Friday and Saturdays, this space is filled with live music as part of the Roane Song series.

Harriman Farmers Market – Every Wednesday and Saturday, David Webb Riverfront Park comes alive with produce vendors, bakers, crafters and more! Stop by to shop because the best things in life are Roane grown!

Roane State Expo Center/O’Brien Theatre – Located on the campus of Roane State Community College, these two venues offer very different experiences for visitors right here in Roane. The Expo Center is home to horse shows, rodeos and all things equestrian while the O’Brien Theatre packs out performances of plays, concerts and more.

Kingston’s SUP Rentals – Want to try your hand at stand up paddleboarding without the commitment of buying a board? The City of Kingston will begin renting paddleboards and kayaks between the bridges beginning this weekend and running throughout the remainder of the summer.

Jerry’s Bait Shop – Looking for the perfect lure to catch the fish you’ll be talking about for the rest of your life? Jerry’s has it. Stop by to see Donna, grab your bait and head over to WBL to catch a whopper.

Pamela Anne’s/Country Fresh Fudge – The hidden gem of downtown Oliver Springs is Pamela Anne’s fudge shop featuring Country Fresh Fudge. Stop in to pick up a sweet treat before you peruse the historical side of this beloved small town.

Events, Nature, Places, Uncategorized

Rollin’ on the Riverfront

If you’ve driven through Harriman, you’ve crossed over the bridge that runs over the river. Did you know that underneath that bridge and to it’s left and right, there’s a BEAUTIFUL park? David Webb Riverfront Park is a labor of love created by a team of volunteers led by David Webb, longtime owner of the beloved Rocky Top General Store. The park features a moving tribute to war veterans as well as monuments dedicated to the heroism of our police and fire departments.

The park features a brand-new playground and dock, walking trail, picnic pavilion and events gazebo. What more do you need? Perhaps our favorite part about David Webb Riverfront Park is that it’s home to some of Harriman’s most beloved events including the Farmers Market, Cruisin’ and the increasingly popular Cobbler Festival!

Farmers Market – Every year from June to September, local farmers, beekeepers, jam makers, crafters and baker gather together under the new pavilion to offer their wares to the public. Offering a great local alternative to grocery stores, the farmers market is a gathering place where shoppers form relationships with local growers. Be sure to get there early or you’ll miss out! Some of the best honey, strawberry freezer jam, bread and tomatoes I’ve ever bought came from my friends at the farmers market.

Harriman Cruisin’ – Coming up on June 9th, Riverfront Park will be the gathering place for many an antique auto owner! Cruisin’ will kick off at 3pm as classic and specialty cars cruise in to show off! Bring the family down to see some amazing cars, chat with the owners, stroll through the park and enjoy what Harriman has to offer! If you’re free, meet us afterward at the Princess Theatre for a screening of “Smoky and the Bandit!”

Cobbler Festival – Entering its 3rd year, the Cobbler Festival is growing into the role of Harriman’s signature event! Competitors will fill the gazebo on Saturday, July 28 as they go head-to-head for the title of Best Cobbler Baker! Last year, we saw creative entries like bourbon apple bacon cobbler, traditional peach cobblers and everything in between. From sweet to savory, you never know who will have the edge at this year’s competition. Tickets will be on sale to sample the cobblers and vote for your favorite. Don’t forget to check out the vendors set up in the park too! If you’re lucky, you may just find a little ice cream to go with your cobbler!

If you’ve never been or if it’s been a while, make your way down to David Webb Riverfront Park this summer. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what an amazing hidden gem it truly is!


Soak in Roane: It’s a-MAY-zing!

Tennessee Medieval Faire-Welcome-0078.jpgMay is here, and with it comes a million amazing ways to Soak in Roane! From live music to lakeside burgers, knights in armor to nights around a campfire – you’ll find your idea of a good time in one of our charming cities.

If you’re looking to get outside this month, you’re in luck! Whether you’re a golfer or a fisherman, there are several events happening to get your fix on the fairway or the waterway! The City of Harriman is hosting it’s first ever Swings & Wings golf tournament on Saturday, May 12 from 1-4p at Emory Golf Course. What other golf tournament offers FREE hot wings to golfers?!

If you’d rather drop a line than drive a ball, check out the Morristown Marine Team Trail fishing tournament on Saturday, May 12. This tournament blasts off from Tom Fuller Park in Rockwood and features more than 400 fishermen looking to claim the top prize! Interested in fishing for a good cause? Sign up for the Roane County Bass Tournament benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This tournament takes place Saturday, May 19 blasting off from Kingston City Park. There are lots of prizes to be given and lots of fun to be had at this local favorite!

Looking for something a little more artistic this month? On May 11, living legend Delbert McClinton will be at the Princess Theatre for one night only! Tickets are going fast! Click the link to get yours before they’re gone!

The very next night, the Roane Choral Society will take the Princess stage to present “Traveling Through With Red Shoes & Rosin”. This delightful show is free to the public, but donations are suggested! You’ll be delighted to hear Red Shoes & Rosin, a talented string band from Knoxville, play their way into your heart with selections of bluegrass, folk, and Americana.

We’ve saved the largest event for last…the Tennessee Medieval Faire returns for its 4th season presenting, “The Age of Chivalry”! Join us May 19-20, 26-28 and/or June 2-3 to relive the rousing tales of Robin Hood!  Go back in time to merry olde England!  Live the Age of Chivalry in the High Middle Ages (circa 1194).  On the Field of Honour, don’t miss The Royal Joust (three times a day), where armoured knights and horses compete to win royal favors.

 Like Sword-fighting?  Like Chess?  Come see Warriors’ Chess!  Royals and rogues are the actual chess pieces and fight to take over the squares!  Who will win? On numerous stages, professional entertainers work to win your favor with tricks, comedy, and music.   Be merry.  Be brave.  Join in the fun!

 Enter the patron Costume Contest and win a prize.  Got talent?  Enter the Royal Gong Show.  Meet historical characters.  Play games.  Dance.  Get knighted! Looking for a special keepsake?  Shop the merchant village for original crafts (such as chain maille).  Buy delicious food (including turkey legs).  Drink cold beverages (including beer with valid ID).

With so much to do in Roane in March, why would you go anywhere else? Come soak in Roane and kick off summer right!



Spring Into Fun! Soak In Roane!

Spring brings flowers & fun to Roane County! Looking for something new? Come join the fun at one or more of our many events!

April 14 – Kingston Spring Street Fest will feature food, vendors, live entertainment, a free barre workout class and more! This takes place on the Historic Courthouse lawn from 11am-9pm. In addition, Harriman will kick off it’s season of the ever-popular Cruisin’ series! Come out to see cool classic cars and take a chance on winning a door prize in downtown Harriman from 3pm-6pm.

Coming up in May… – The talented legendary Delbert McClinton will be at the Princess Theatre! General admission tickets will be $39.50 and VIP tickets will be $100.00.  VIP packages will include reserve seating with backstage meet and greet prior to the concert.

Harriman has 2 new exciting events planned on May 12! Emory Wing Fest & Swings and Wings! Join us for hot wings, cold beer and a round of golf all benefiting Harriman’s Recreation Department.

The annual Tennessee Medieval Faire makes its return this May. As soon as you pass the gates, you are transported into a magical world full of fun and adventure. Stages with a variety of entertainment are sprinkled throughout the medieval market for your amusement. Skilled artisans offer their creative wares; minstrels fill the air with music; colorful villagers regale you with jokes; and folk dancers invite you to join in the fun. Bring your appetite and enjoy a feast fit for a king! Quench your thirst with cold beverages by order of the royal decree!

Looking for a good time the Saturday before Memorial Day? Check out Gizmo Jam on Gizmo Island! Accessible only by boat, this event features live music all day long. Soak up the sun as you soak in the sounds of Roane!

For more information on these events and all others in Roane County, click here!




Soak in Roane with Our Fall Festivals

Can you feel it? Fall is practically here! And with the onset of autumn comes many opportunities to Soak in Roane! From Rockwood to Oliver Springs, you’ll find great music, fantastic food & much more. Here’s what we think you can’t miss:

Saturday, September 23rd Narramore Farms will kick off their 2nd season of family fun with a Soak in Roane corn maze, fun zone, pumpkin patch and more! Get lost as a family, pick out the perfect pumpkin & take time to forget to look at your phone as you sit face to face with family and friends. The corn maze and pumpkin patch is open every Saturday & Sunday through October 29.

Saturday, October 7 is busy for many reasons in Roane! First stop – the Rockwood Fall Festival! Enjoy local music, lots of arts and crafts vendors, pageants, pumpkins, a silent auction, a street dance party and more! This event is free and family friendly! There’s something everyone will enjoy.

Beginning October 7 and carrying on into October 8, the Tennessee Pirate Fest rolls into town for scurvy dogs and landlubbers alike. Put on your eye patch & walk the plank for sea shanties, comedic buccaneers, delicious food & drink, an impressive costume contest & much more! For more information, visit www.tmfaire.com. 

If you’re more into the spooky side of fall, make plans to walk among the spirits at Historic Cornstalk Heights’ Hauntings of Historic Harriman walking ghost tour on October 20 & 21. Hear of strange tales from years past. Voodoo, ghosts, unexplained sights & sounds. This walking tour features plenty of tales to tingle your spine and intrigue your mind. Tours begin nightly at 7:30pm and leave every 15 minutes. The last tour leaves at 10pm. Are you brave enough?

Oliver Springs wraps up our fall festival line-up on Saturday, October 21 with the October Sky Festival. This down-home festival is a local favorite and will be celebrating with more than 100 vendors, the crowning of Miss October Sky, a cruise-in car show, rocket launches, coal mining history, tours of movie locations and historic homes used in filming for “October Sky”, displays of vintage quilts, a kid’s zone and more. Regional food vendors and live music will be on site throughout the day. Come hang out with Elvis, tour the restored Abston Garage & enjoy all Oliver Springs has to offer.

While we love our lake and all the fun in the sun of summer on Watts Bar, there’s nothing quite like fall in Roane County. There’s no better way to settle in to the coziness of the season than with concerts seated on hay bales, a cup of coffee enjoyed while browsing through booths and time spent celebrating with those you love.

Pull on your boots & put it on your calendar to make memories by soaking in Roane all autumn long.


Take In Roane’s Best at Muir Fest!

150 years ago, John Muir walked 1,000 miles from Indiana to the Gulf Coast. When he reached the place where the Clinch and Emory Rivers meet in Kingston on September 12, 1867, he wrote that he had just seen “the most heavenly place.” Recognized as “The Father of the National Parks system,” we believe that John Muir’s legacy is one worth celebrating.

To celebrate his trek across America, the City of Kingston will be hosting Muir Fest on September 9, 2017. The festival will feature live music throughout the afternoon as well as lectures from local conservation experts, food trucks and more!

This free family-friendly event is open to adventurers of all ages. Come celebrate this milestone with us as we soak in the sights, sounds, flavors and history of Roane County. Check out our Facebook event here (link below) for additional details.


Highlights Include:

Jason Eskridge Live

Jay Clark Live

American & bluegrass musicians


A sturgeon release is being planned

Learn how to fly fish

Play a game of disc golf

Learn about conservation & ecology


Soak In Roane with the Solar Eclipse

Did you know Roane County is in the path of totality for the solar eclipse on August 21? According to space.com, “The so-called Great American Total Solar Eclipse will darken skies all the way from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide. People who descend upon this “path of totality” for the big event are in for an unforgettable experience.”

Because Roane County is in the direct path, our cities are finding fun ways to soak in Roane with the solar eclipse.

Fort Southwest Point in Kingston will be hosting a free viewing party on Monday, August 21. Join us for the Total Eclipse of the Park which will include a disc golf tournament and a special speaker. The party takes place from 1pm-3pm.

If you’re in Rockwood, be sure to stop by Live and Let Live Drug Store beforehand to purchase your eclipse glasses. Enjoy a Milky Way Milk Shake or Green Galaxy Slushie. Hot Dogs and Hamburgers will be available for lunch. Pack a picnic and head over to Brillo Miller Sports Complex for this free family friendly event. Gates will open at 1pm. Get there early to secure your spot.

In Harriman, check out these unique opportunities to view the eclipse and learn more about this amazing phenomenon. Roane State Community College invites you to join them at the Harriman campus for a lecture in the O’Brien Theatre from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and a viewing of the eclipse from the Roane State grounds from 1 – 3 p.m. The eclipse will reach its maximum at about 2:30 p.m.

The Princess Theatre is also planning to join the fun this Sunday, August 20th  with a free pre-eclipse lecture by Mr. Ray Harris to help us understand this rare event and how to enjoy it safely and fully.

No matter where you choose to enjoy the eclipse, please do so safely. Make sure your eye wear is compliant with NASA regulations. Be sure you choose a safe location and never look directly into the sun without glasses.

Tag your photos with #RoaneEclipse2017 and #SoakInRoane so we can see your best shots!



Camp Outs & Cobbler Festivals

It’s that time again. Time to purchase backpacks and pencils. Time for school supply lists and physicals. Time to wrap up those last few days of sleeping late and staying up past bedtime. It’s hard to believe that back-to-school season is upon us, but there are some really fun ways to celebrate the end of summer as you Soak in Roane this weekend!

This Friday, July 28th, Kingston Parks and Recreation will be hosting their 2nd Family Camp Out at Fort Southwest Point. After an initial camp out event that proved itself a hit, Rick Ross and his team decided to keep the fun going with s’mores and more!

This event gives families the chance to bond together around a campfire in a safe environment free of charge. Campers need only their tents, sleeping bags and camp chairs. Parks and Rec staff will supply the campfire and camping demos. Staff is able to assist in setting up your tent as needed. Call 865-376-9476 for reservations and more information.

Saturday is the perfect day to spend in Harriman. If you’re an early riser, make your way down to David Webb Riverfront Park for the Farmers Market. Fresh fruits, veggies, breads, honey & more homemade goods are available for purchase. Want to know a secret? The best part of the farmers market are the local vendors. Strike up a conversation with a local and learn why they love it here!

If you’re more of a late riser, it’s your lucky Saturday! Saturday, July 29th the City of Harriman will hold its 2nd Annual Cobbler Festival (also in David Webb Riverfront Park) from 4pm-7pm. Just $5 gets you in, and with that small admission price you’ll get to sample 5 different cobblers! Y’all…it’s like a little Southern slice of heaven on a Saturday afternoon!

14 teams are competing for this year’s top prize of Best Cobbler! Live music will be on site throughout the event, and if you’ve never been, this is a great reason just to walk around the grounds of one of Roane County’s most beautiful parks.

So just for this weekend, put off the thought of going back to school and soak in the last bit of summer with us right here in Roane County.