Best Yard, Garden, and Tree Contest

Do you know someone who has a green thumb worth bragging about? If so, nominate them for this year’s Best Yard, Garden, and Tree Contest organized and judged by the City of Sweetwater Tree Board. Winners will be announced and recognized at the Blooms, Bluegrass, and BBQ festival in historic downtown Sweetwater on May 4th. For more information, call 423-337-9678 or visit bloomsbluegrassbbq.com.

Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery 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 11, at First Baptist Church in Sweetwater, located at 303 Wright Street.

The next meeting in Madisonville will be on Tuesday, March 12 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.

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.

Donkey Basketball

The funniest and wildest show on Earth is coming to Tellico Plains High School on Tuesday, March 12 as the school welcomes its annual Donkey Basketball Game. You will be absolutely delighted as donkeys of Professional Animal Frolics attempt to rid themselves of their riders during the game. You will see your neighbors and friends attempt to ride donkeys that are specially trained for the game. The entire ball game will be comedy-filled, but there is also a halftime intermission where kids can ride the donkeys for $1. Game time is at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $6 for adults or $5 for students at the game. Advanced tickets can be purchased at Tellico Plains High School during school hours until 3 p.m. on March 12. Advanced tickets are $5 for adults or $4 for students.

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.

Textbook samples

The Monroe County School System is in the process of adopting new textbooks in the areas of K-12 social studies, world languages, and career/technical education. Proposed adoption samples will be available for public inspection and input on Thursday, March 14 from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Monroe County Board of Education, located 205 Oak Grove Road in Madisonville. For more information, contact Shauna Bowers (grades K-8) or Janie Evans (grades 9-12) at 423-442-2373.

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.

Brown Hill's Chili Cookoff and Pie-n-Cake Auction

Brown Hill Church will be hosting their annual chili cookoff and pie-n-cake auction on Saturday, March 16 at 6 p.m. in the church's fellowship hall. Judging for the chili will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the auction. Hotdogs will be served with the chili. Everyone is invited to come out for an evening of fun, along with the possibility of taking home a delicious dessert. Brown Hill Church is located at 1526 Mecca Pike in Tellico Plains.

Special Community Prom

Team Lexi's annual Special Community Prom will be held on Saturday, March 16 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at First Methodist Church in Sweetwater, located at 501 Church Street. Tickets for prom attendants and a date are free. Any extra tickets are available for purchase at the Monroe County Buzz's office for $5 each. This year's prom theme is “Wizard of Oz.” Please RSVP by reaching out to Team Lexi.

Sweetwater Institute of Cosmetology is offering free hair, makeup and nails for prom attendees only. Please call 423-351-0071 to reserve your appointment time.

In addition, Team Lexi is looking for volunteers for the event. Volunteers can either wear “Wizard of Oz” costumes or black pants and a white shirt. Contact Misty Stamey with Team Lexi on Facebook if you are interested in volunteering.

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.

Living Well with Chronic Conditions

The University of Tennessee Extension in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health invites you to participate in Living Well with Chronic Conditions, a self-management workshop designed to help you put life back into your life.

If you or someone you love has health problems, such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer, chronic bronchitis, high blood pressure, depression or other chronic diseases, the Living Well with Chronic Conditions workshop can help you take control of your life. By participating in a six-session workshop, you will learn ways to: manage your symptoms, talk with your doctor, family, and friends, fight fatigue and pain, manage stress, learn to relax, discover better nutrition and exercise choices, manage medications, etc.

Classes begin April 4 at the Cora Veal Senior Center in Madisonville and will be from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. each Thursday through May 9. There will be a total of six sessions. There is no charge but you must register beforehand. Please register by calling UT Extension Monroe County at 423-442-2433 or the Monroe County Health Department at 423-442-3993, ext. 1010, by April 1.

Sweetwater Prom

Sweetwater High School will hold its prom at Zoo Knoxville on Friday, April 5.

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.

Sequoyah Prom

Sequoyah High School will hold its prom at the Airport Hilton on Saturday, April 6.

Sportsman Day

The 13th annual Sportsman Day will be held on Saturday, April 6 at Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore. The event begins at 10 a.m. and is free to the public. Free festivities include: skeet course, 3-D archery course, kids fishing rodeo, games, kids bounce houses, face painting, vendors (hunting and fishing), food and drinks, door prizes, music and more. Vendors are welcome. For more information, contact Clint Brackett at 423-404-3150 or Matt McKee at 865-740-9780.

Continuous weave market basket class

Learn how to make a simple continuous weave market basket in two colors on Saturday, April 6 at 9 a.m. at the Farm Bureau Building in Madisonville. The cost of the class is $30 and must be paid at the UT Extension Office in Madisonville by March 22 as the materials have to be ordered in time to receive them. When you pay, you will select your color, be given a list of items to bring and additional information about the class. The UT Extension Office is located at 310 Tellico Street, South, Suite 3 in Madisonville. The basket is approximately 8 by 10 inches and, including handle, 11 inches tall. For more information, call 423-442-2433. Class is limited to the first 10 people to pay.

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 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Chota's Madisonville clinic, located at 4798 New Highway 68. The health fair includes free health screenings, physical exams, vision screenings, diabetic eye exams, pap smears and basic fasting labs. MEDIC will also be on site for blood donation, as well as many other vendors.

In addition, the Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center will be on site to perform mammograms. This, however, is not a free service. KCBC accepts more insurances or you can self pay for $150. Walk-ins and appointments are welcome. To schedule an appointment with KCBC, call Chota at 423-442-2622.

Relay For Life

Relay for Life of Monroe County will be held on Friday, April 26 at Kefauver Park. To get involved in the 2019 Relay For Life, register a team online or donate by visiting the website at www.relayforlife.org/monroetn. See more information on the event in an upcoming edition of The Advocate & Democrat.

Tim Kelley Memorial 5K

The annual Tim Kelley Memorial 5K will be held on Saturday, April 27 beginning at 9 a.m. The 5-kilometer (3.1 mile) race is a two-lap course that will start at the Tellico Plains High School Alumni Center and continue into Cherokee Subdivision. The race was created to raise money for the high school's Alumni Center, but since the Alumni Center was completed, proceeds from the Tim Kelley Memorial 5K now go to support the track and cross country programs at the high school. The entry fee is $25. T-shirts are guaranteed to all participants who register before April 10. There were will awards given in each age division. Registration forms are available online at timkelley5k.weebly.com. For more information on the Tim Kelley Memorial 5K, e-mail Carroll at carrollb@monroe.k12.tn.us

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.

Tellico Plains Prom

Tellico Plains High School will hold its prom at the Airport Hilton on Saturday, April 27.

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.

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