Walk Across Tennessee

It's once again time to enter the Walk Across Tennessee competition. By being part of a team, Walk Across Tennessee motivates you to exercise. Teams start walking on Sunday, March 3 and will end on April 27. Get a team of six people together, choose a team captain and team name, and you are ready to walk for the next eight weeks.

There will be prizes for each member of the team that walks the farthest. The two individuals who walk the farthest will also receive prizes.

You may walk anywhere, even on your treadmill. Conversions for other physical activities are available. Walk Across Tennessee results will be available at the Extension Office and on the website walkacrosstnmonroe.com or extension.tennessee.edu/Monroe.

Team captains can pick up registration packets at the Extension Office. Registration packets are also online at walkacrosstnmonroe.com. Registration forms should be returned to the Extension Office no later than March 8. Get ready to Walk Across Tennessee.

For more information, call Rebecca Layman at 423-442-2433.

UT Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery now has two locations in Monroe County! Meetings in Sweetwater are held on Mondays and meetings in Madisonville are held on Tuesdays.

The next meeting in Sweetwater will be on Monday, March 4, at First Baptist Church in Sweetwater, located at 303 Wright Street.

The next meeting in Madisonville will be on Tuesday, March 5 at Madisonville Church of God, located at 3895 New Highway 68.

Free refreshments and childcare will be provided. Refreshments begin at 6 p.m., followed by worship at 6:30 p.m. Small groups will start around 7:45 p.m. Small groups are divided into men's and women's groups and are safe places to give and receive positive support for individual needs.

Celebrate Recovery is a program based on Christian principles as applied to the 12 steps and the eight Beatitudes. The only requirement is a desire to come and listen. The groups are led by trained leaders who offer a safe, confidential, and positive place to participate with other people looking for healing. The meetings are led by and are for regular people looking for help with hurts, habits, or hang-ups. There is no financial or commitment obligation. Meetings will be held each Monday and Tuesday.

For more information, visit monroehealth.org, call 423-545-3015 or email Jmoore.mchc@gmail.com.

AM Legion meeting

American Legion Post 256 extends an invitation to all veterans to join them at their meeting on Thursday, March 7 at 9 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall at The First Baptist Church of Tellico Village. The meetings feature an informative guest speaker and updates on community and veteran's services projects. For directions and more information, visit the website at www.TellicoLakePost256.org. Meetings are held the first Thursday of each month.

Women of the 18th century

Meet Ranger Lauren Baghetti on Saturday, March 7 at 2 p.m. at the Commander's Quarters in Fort Loudoun to celebrate National Women's History Month by learning what life was like for a woman living amongst the British Army during the 18th century. Space is limited to 20 participants. The cost is $5 per person. For more information, call the park office at 423-420-2331. All programs require pre-registration. Fort Loudoun State Historic Area is located in Vonore.

Beekeepers Association meeting

The Monroe County Beekeepers Association will meet on Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Journey of Faith Church in Madisonville. This month's meeting will concentrate on activities that are important for expanding apiaries. Discussion will also center around bee package installation and swarms.

Sweetwater siren test

The City of Sweetwater will test its tornado sirens at noon on March 13 (tentatively) if there are clear skies. Please do not be alarmed. Sign up for weather alerts at www.sweetwatertn.net.

Toastmaster meeting

Monroe County Toastmaster, an organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills, will meet this month on Wednesday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 27 at noon at the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce office in Madisonville. Come see how the program can help you. The Monroe County club meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at the Chamber Office. For more information, call 423-442-4588.

Medicine in the 18th century

Meet Ranger Will Kinton on Friday, March 15 at 2 p.m. in Fort Loudoun's infirmary. This program will delve into the fine arts of the 18th century medicine and surgery, covering aspects that range from early amputations to medicinal treatments still used today. Space is limited to 25 participants. The cost is $5 per person. Ages 12 and under will be admitted for free. For more information or to register, call the park office at 423-420-2331. All programs require pre-registration. Fort Loudoun State Historic Area is located in Vonore.

Free spay/neuter vouchers

SNAP will issue free spay/neuter vouchers to low-income Monroe County residents on Saturday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Tellico Plains Community Center, located at 132 Bank Street. A picture ID or other proof of residency is required. Donations will also be accepted.

Free spay/neuter vouchers can be used by any Monroe County resident for dogs and cats. Pet owners can receive multiple vouchers to “fix” all their pets. If you have kittens or puppies, it is much easier to find them a home if they have been spayed or neutered. This also helps to reduce the overpopulation problem.

Vouchers are valid for 30 days. After receiving the voucher, call the designated vet to make an appointment. Please note: State law requires proof of rabies vaccination and the cost of the shot is not covered by the voucher. Participating vets are: PPAW Spay and Neuter Clinic in Greenback, the Monroe County Animal Hospital in Sweetwater, or the Sweetwater Veterinary Hospital in Sweetwater.

If a qualified pet owner is unable to attend due to illness, handicap, work schedule, transportation or other problems, a relative or friend can obtain a voucher for the pet owner. The relative or friend must provide all the required information about the pet and owner, including proof of residence.

For more information, contact SNAP President Mike Cleverdon at 423-884-6801.

Main Street Marketplace re-opening

Sweetwater Main Street Marketplace will reopen on Saturday, March 16.

Applications for merchants are being accepted now. The cost is $20 a day for spots with electricity or $10 a day for non-power spots. Sign up and pay for two months rent and get the third month free when you sign up and pay in full by March 16.

To celebrate the reopening, Lucky the Leprechaun will be on hand to take photos with visitors. In addition, there will be a kids scavenger hunt with prizes. Stay tuned for more information.

For more information or to sign up for a spot at the Marketplace, contact Main Street Director Kassie Kelley-Watson at 423-337-5976.

Scrimshaw class

Join Ranger Justin Rexrode on Saturday, March 16 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Visitor Center at Fort Loudoun State Historic Area in Vonore for a class on the lost art of scrimshawing. You will get to practice the art and take home a completed piece of horn with your design. The cost is $20 per person and is limited to 10 adults. For more information or to register, call the park office at 423-420-2331. All programs require pre-registration.

SHS cheerleading tryouts

A tryout clinic for Sweetwater High School's cheerleading squad will be held on March 18-19 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day in the gymnasium. Tryouts will follow on March 21 in the school gym. Cheerleaders are asked to wear blue shorts, white T-shirts and athletic shoes for tryouts. Students who are interested in cheer can pick up packets from cheer coaches and teachers Jaclyn Cleveland and Dinah Ledford.

Chamber's annual Business Awards Banquet & Auction

The Monroe County Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Business Awards Banquet & Auction on Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m. at the Coral Veal Senior Center in Madisonville, located at 144 College Street. Tickets for the event are $40 for members and $50 for future members. A table of eight is $300. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 423-442-4588.

Colonial Trades Garrison

Fort Loudoun State Historic Area will hold its annual Colonial Trades Garrison on Saturday, March 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a free, family-friendly, living history event that features the daily lives of the men, women and children of Fort Loudoun. Come out and learn about the different tables during 18th century colonial America. Normal garrison activities will be available, including military drill, cannon firings and interacting with fort residents.

Spring Hike to Fort Loudoun

Fort Loudoun State Historic Area will hold a free spring hike on Saturday, March 23 from 11 a.m. to noon. Spring into history with this ranger-led hike during the Garrison Weekend. This is a short and easy hike, approximately 200 yards in length, but will focus on the history of the fort. Meet at the Visitor's Center. Please wear appropriate shoes and bring a jacket. Don't forget your camera! This hike is wheelchair and stroller friendly.

Corn husk dolls class

Join Ranger Lauren Baghetti on Saturday, March 27 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the picnic shelter at Fort Loudoun State Historic Area in Vonore to learn the history of corn husk dolls and take one home that you've made. The cost is $5 per person. The class is limited to 15 participants. For more information or to register, call the park office at 423-420-2331. All programs require pre-registration.

Lunch & Learn with Google

The Monroe County Chamber of Commerce will hold a Lunch & Learn with Google on Thursday, March 28 at 11:30 a.m. at Cleveland State Community College's Monroe County Center, located at 121 Grand Vista in Vonore. Learn how customers find your business online and how to promote your online presence using search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising. The discussion will also introduce tools that will help you run your business online, including Google Analytics and Trends. Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m., following by the learning session from noon to 1 p.m. Chamber members can attend for free. The cost for non-Chamber members is $25. Reservations are required. Call the Chamber of Commerce at 423-442-4588 to reserve your spot today.

Wildflower Hike

Spring has arrived and what a better way to celebrate than to enjoy wildflowers? Meet Ranger Lauren Baghetti at the Meadow Loop Trailhead near the park entrance of Fort Loudoun State Historic Area on Friday, March 29 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to learn about spring wildflowers found at the park and take a short hike. This is a free event. For more information or to register, call the park office at 423-420-2331.

Shoreline cleanup

The Great American Cleanup is celebrated in March. Meet Ranger Lauren Baghetti at the entrance of Fort Loudoun State Historic Area on Saturday, March 30 from 9 a.m. to noon and help park staff pick up litter from the shoreline. Please wear clothes that can get dirty and work gloves. All other supplies will be provided. For more information, call the park office at 423-420-2331.

Kayak tour of Fort Loudoun

Join Ranger Justin Rexrode on Sunday, March 31 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for a 2-mile kayak paddle around Fort Loudoun in Vonore. Participants will learn the history of the fort, the Little Tennessee River, the Tellico Blockhouse and of the Cherokee that inhabited the area. You will get wet so please wear appropriate clothing and bring water. The tour is limited to 10 participants. The cost is $20 to participate if you rent a kayak at Fort Loudoun, or $10 if you bring your own kayak. For more information or to register, call the park office at 423-420-2331. All programs require pre-registration.

Free transportation for seniors to MACA concerts

The Monroe Area Council for the Arts is seeking partners for a special program to provide seniors with free tickets and transportation to one of its Performance Series concerts. This program is part of a Grubb-Sumner grant through the East Tennessee Foundation to be used over the next two performance seasons.

“MACA is proud of our Performance Series and we want to make sure that we provide access to as many people as possible,” said MACA Administrator Rebecca Inman. “Some of our seniors cannot afford the cost of tickets or cannot find transportation to attend the concerts at Hiwassee College.”

On April 5, MACA will present 7 Bridges Band: The Ultimate Eagles Experience.

Any interested senior group, whether private, public, or church-related, should contact MACA by phone at 423-442-3210 or by email at maca491@gmail.com for more information.

Free Community Health Fair

Chota Community Health Services is partnering with East Tennessee State University's Quillen College of Medicine to provide a free health fair to the Monroe County community on Thursday, April 18 at Chota's Madisonville clinic. More details to be announced soon.

Ramp Festival

The Ballplay Ruritan Club's ninth annual Ramp Festival will be held on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Friends Meeting of Ballplay Fellowship Hall and grounds. This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Ruritan Club and proceeds from the event will help with community projects. The Ramp Festival features a variety of family activities, live music, vendors and local community organizations. Friends Meeting of Ballplay is located at 157 Ballplay School Road in Tellico Plains. More details coming soon.

Blooms, Bluegrass and BBQ

The Sweetwater Merchants and Property Owners Association will host a new festival in Sweetwater this spring. Blooms, Bluegrass and BBQ Festival will be held on May 3-4.

The kickoff for the event is the Farm to Table Dinner on April 26 at 6:30 p.m. The Farm to Table Dinner is a fundraiser for Main Street featuring a live performance from Blue Moon Rising. The locally featured food includes the Dinner Bell, Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams, Philpott Farms, Grain Bin Commodities, and Kyndall's Sweet Dreams Bakery. Tickets are $55 each and are on sale now at Sweetwater City Hall or by calling 423-337-6976.

From May 3-4 for the Blooms, Bluegrass, and BBQ Festival, the city will host vendors, the East TN Bluegrass Association, several well-known bluegrass bands, a “May the 4th be with you” 5K, kids' zone, a barbecue competition and more. Admission to the Blooms, Bluegrass and BBQ Festival is free.

Entry forms for the barbecue competition can be found online at www.bloomsbluegrassbbq.com. The grand prize will be up to $5,000 depending on the number of entries.

Call City Hall at 423-337-6979 for more information. More details to be announced.

Step into Spring

The Step into Spring Committee has announced the date for the 15th annual Step into Spring Brunch and Fashion Show. This year's event will be held on Saturday, May 4 at 10:30 a.m. in the Rymer Dining Hall on the Hiwassee College campus. Proceeds help fund campus beautification.

Ladies of the community will be modeling fashions provided by The Lily Pad Boutique of Sweetwater. Door prizes will be given out and gift certificates will be awarded for the best vintage hat, best spring hat and most creative hat.

Tickets for the event are $30 per person. Individuals and organizations may sponsor tables of eight for $275. To reserve your space, please call the Office of the President at 423-420-1225. You may also send your reservation by mail to: Hiwassee College, Office of the President, 225 Hiwassee College Drive, Madisonville, TN 37354.

ASL classes at TPL

The Tellico Plains Public Library is holding American Sign Language (ASL) classes at the library on Wednesday nights from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

To include upcoming events and briefs about what is going on in your organizations, contact Reporter Jessica Kent at jessica.kent@advocateanddemocrat.com or call 423-337-7101.

Optional:

Donations accepted for Food Pantry & Thrift Store of Tellico Plains

The Food Pantry & Thrift Store of Tellico Plains is currently accepting non-perishable food items at the following locations in Tellico Plains: Peoples Bank, Volunteer Federal, Save-a-lot, Tellico Plains Public Library, and the Tellico Plains Water Department (located inside City Hall).

The non-profit organization is currently working with the Tellico Plains Police Department and the Tellico Plains Public Library to collect gently used or new coats, blankets, comforters, hats and gloves to be donated to the needy and senior citizens in and around Tellico Plains. Donations can be dropped off at the library.

The Thrift Store, located at 319 Bank Street, is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. All proceeds are used to support The Food Pantry's mission to feed the hungry. Donations of clean clothing, household items and canned goods are also accepted.

For more information or to make a monetary donation, follow The Food Pantry & Thrift Store of Tellico Plains on Facebook or call Diana at 423-295-5518.

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