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I’ve never been much of a “gun person.” It’s not that I dislike guns, I’ve just never needed them, much less had to depend on one for survival. But because guns have played such an important part in American History, and in particular, the history of Northeast Tennessee, I decided to give it a shot.

I mean, imagine Daniel Boone without his “Tick-Licker.” Or Davy Crockett without “Ol Betsy.”

The fact is: guns played a crucial part in the exploration and settlement of virtually every part of America.

So I decided to get in touch with my pioneer side, and that ambition led me to The Shooter’s Edge, just off the Bristol Highway in Piney Flats, Tennessee. It’s the area’s only full-service, indoor public shooting range.

The first thing that struck me about this place is how big it is: 21,000 square feet, with 15 shooting booths and automated targeting systems for sending and retrieving targets. You can shoot any firearm you’ve got (with the exception of muzzle loader and 50 caliber BMG), just bring your gun and ammunition and they’ll set you up with your own shooting bay. Or, if you don’t have any guns of your own (or just want to get some practice for you and your family), you can rent the gun of your choice (for a small fee).

Being the novice that I am, my instructor took extra care to make me feel comfortable and answer all the questions I had. But this place isn’t just for beginners. Plenty of expert hunters and military people were there trying out different guns in their own arsenal.

I don’t have to tell you how good I did with my “target practice” (it wasn’t good). But I will say that I never imagined I’d have as much fun as I did.

So whether you’re a beginner who needs hands-on instruction, or an experienced marksman looking to hone your skills, The Shooters Edge is your kind of place. For gun rentals, hours, and more information, visit their website here.

It wasn’t so much what he said, or how he said it, that led to British Colonel Patrick Ferguson’s demise.

It was WHO he said it to.

During the Revolutionary War, Ferguson was charged with flushing out unruly settlers who’d defied a royal order and settled west of the Appalachian Mountains. But when he threatened them, saying he’d “lay their country to waste with fire and sword,” the settlers in modern-day Northeast Tennessee and the surrounding area decided they weren’t going to wait for the British to come find them. They were going to handle the matter themselves.

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There are so many activities and events happening across Northeast Tennessee over the holidays, we don’t want you to miss a thing. Here is a quick and easy list of Yuletide Festivities. Just click on an event for more information. Hope to see you!!

Nov 19 – Jan 8, 2011        Johnson Controls Ice Rink & HVAC Chill Hill Tub Slide – Bristol Motor Speedway

Nov 19 – Jan 8, 2011       Speedway In Lights – Bristol Motor Speedway

Nov 20                               68th Annual Santa Train – Kingsport

Nov 20                               Kingsport Christmas Parade 3:20 p.m. – Kingsport

Nov 21                               Downtown Elizabethton Holiday Open House – Elizabethton

Nov 22                              Downtown Bristol Holiday Open House – Bristol

Nov 25                              5th Annual Up & At “Em Turkey Trot begins at 8:30am – Johnson City

Nov 26 – 28                     Annual Country Christmas Craft Show – Viking Hall Civic Center Bristol

Nov 26 – 27                     Annual Holiday Craft Show & Sale – Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center

Nov 27                             Erwin Christmas Parade and Winter Wonderland Festivities at 8 p.m. – Erwin

Nov 27, Dec 4, 11 & 18  Christmas in Old Jonesborough and Annual  St. Nick Nights – Historic Jonesborough

Nov 28 – Dec 31           Sycamore Shoals Christmas Tree Exhibit and Art Show – Sycamore Shoal State Historic Area – Elizabethton

Nov 29                           Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Bristol. Hours 6:30-7:30 p.m.  – Bristol

Dec 1 – 31                      Andrew Johnson Home Christmas Tours – Check tour hours and ticket information. (closed 12/25)

Dec 1 – Dec 31             Historic Jonesborough Holiday Tree Exhibit – Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center – Jonesborough

Dec 2                              Bristol Christmas Parade at 7 p.m. – Bristol

Dec 3 – 4                        Annual Christmas at Carter Mansion – Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area – 6-9 p.m. – Elizabethton

Dec 3 – 4                       Candlelight Christmas – Rocky Mount Museum – Piney Flats

Dec 3                             Johnson City Christmas Parade 7 p.m. – Johnson City

Dec 4 – Jan 1, 2011   “Christmas in the Park” Holiday Light Show. Hours: 6-10 p.m. – Harden’s Park – Greeneville

Dec 4                            Elizabethton Christmas Parade 6 p.m. – Main Street – Elizabethton

Dec 4                            Sneedville Christmas Parade 6 p.m. – Main Street – Sneedville

Dec 4                            Rogersville Christmas Parade 4 p.m. – Main Street – Rogersville

Dec 4                           Church Hill Christmas Parade 11 a.m. – Main Boulevard – Church Hill

Dec 4                           Gray Christmas Parade 11 a.m. – Gray

Dec 4                           Christmas at Allandale Mansion – Kingsport

Dec 4                           Abingdon Christmas Parade – 11 a.m. – Abingdon, VA

Dec 4                          Mountain City Christmas Parade 4 p.m. – Mountain City

Dec 4                          Doak House Museum Christmas Open House – Greeneville, TN

Dec 4                          Christmas in the Country Yule Log Ceremony 4 p.m. – Exchange Place, Kingsport

Dec 4 – 5                    33rd Annual Progressive Dinner – Historic Jonesborough – Reservations required.

Dec 4 – 17                 Rogersville Parade of Trees – US Bank Main Street – Rogersville

Dec 5                         Greeneville Christmas Parade 2 p.m. – Main Street – Greeneville

Dec 5                         Bulls Gap Christmas Parade 2 p.m. –  Bulls Gap

Dec 5                        Bristol Christmas Tour of Homes 1:30-6:30 p.m. – Bristol

Dec 9                        Christmas Tree Lighting & Christmas Tree Celebration 6:30 p.m. – In front of Sullivan County Courthouse

Dec 10 – 11              Candlelight Christmas 4:30-8 p.m. – Rocky Mount – Piney Flats

Dec 11                      Annual Crockett Christmas 5:30-7:30 p.m. – Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park – Limestone

Dec 11                      Blountville Christmas Parade 2 p.m. – Main Street Blountville

Dec 11                      Surgoinsville Christmas Parade 11 a.m. – Surgoinsville

Dec 11                      Mount Carmel Christmas Parade 3 p.m. – Mount Carmel

Dec 11                      Old Deery Inn & Museum Candlelight Tours 2-5 p.m. – Blountville

Dec 11                      At Home with Santa 10 a.m.-3 p.m. – Visitors Center – Jonesborough

Dec 11                     Jonesborough Christmas Parade 6 p.m. – Main Street Jonesborough

Dec 11                     Christmas Marketplace – Old High School in Sneedville.  Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Dec 13                    Annual Holiday Tour of Homes – Tickets are $15 in advance – Jonesborough

Variety of Theatre & Musical Productions:

Nov 19 –  Dec 26   It’s a Wonderful Life at Barter Theatre Main Stage in Abingdon, VA.

Nov 23 – Dec 26   A Tuna Christmas at Barter Stage II in Abingdon, VA.

Nov 30 – Dec 26  All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth at Barter Theatre Main Stage in Abingdon, VA.

Dec 3 – Dec 4       The Nutcracker Ballet at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville. Hours: 7 p.m. Presented by the Kingsport Ballet.

Dec 3 – Dec 19     A Christmas Carol at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre. Performances December 3 – 5; December 10 – 12 and December 17 – 19

Dec 11                    Cinnamon Grits – Christmas in the South at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville.  Hours:  7:30 p.m.

Dec 11 – Dec 12    Bristol Ballet presents “Chirstmas Illuminations” – Paramount center for the Arts – Bristol

Dec 14                   Branson on the Road “A Bristol Christmas” – Paramount Center for the Arts – Bristol

Dec 16                   Bristol Virginia Senior Show Choir Holiday Show – Paramount Center for the Arts – Bristol

Dec 17                   Jingle Bell Rock – A Raucous Holiday Variety Revue at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville. Hours: 7:30 p.m. www.greenevillenpac.com

Dec 18                   Eddie Miles “Elvis Blue Christmas” – Paramount Center for the Arts – Bristol

Dec 19                    It’s A Wonderful Life Movie – the 1946 American drama showing – Paramount Center for the Arts – Bristol

Still looking to make your haunted plans this weekend? I can help. Choose from one of the great events below — and happy hauntings.

October 27 – October 30
Theatre Bristol hosts “Nightmare on State Street: Terror on the Tracks” in Bristol’s haunted Train Station…not for the faint of heart!  6 to 10pm.  Call 423.968.4977 for more information.

October 28-31
Dracula is coming to Northeast State Theatre for a special Halloween show. Performances are October 28, 29 and 30 at 7:30m and October 30 and 31 at 2pm. Call the box office for ticket information at 423-354-5169.

October 28
On October 28th, come here Scary Stories at the Carter Mansion in Elizabethton. Strange things happen all around All Hallows Eve, especially in a 200-year-old mansion. Hear tales of woe and terror, the weird and macabre, with a touch of wit thrown in for good measure. Free. 7:30 pm. For information, call 543.5808.

October 29 & 30
At Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport, it’s a Halloween Haunt with ghost stories in the nature center, a moonlight barge ride across the lake, a haunted forest and lots more.  For information, go to baysmountain.com.

October 29
Trick or Treat on Walnut Street in downtown Johnson City from 3:00 – 5:00 pm. Kids can visit businesses on West Walnut Street for goodies. Free.

October 29
On Friday, Historic Downtown Jonesborough will transform into character for its annual Halloween Haunts & Happenings.  An evening full of trick trick-or-treating beginning at 6 p.m., carnival games, scary-oke, ghost stories, a haunted house and much more. Costume contest begins at 7 pm in front of the Courthouse. Free event for all to enjoy.  Visit http://www.historicjonesborough.com for more information.

October 29
The Historic Jonesborough Senior Center will be hosting a fall festival from 4-8pm. Music, BBQ dinner, root beer floats and more. The Senior Center is located at 1521 Persimmon Ridge Rd. Call 753-1075 for more information.

October 29
Greeneville’s Halloween Happening will be Friday from 4-6 pm in downtown Greeneville.  This event brings 1,000’s of children in costumes with adults to participate in safe, supervised costume competitions, pumpkin-decorating contests, haunted cells story telling, and trick-or treating businesses and offices throughout the downtown area.  Visit http://www.mainstreetgreeneville.com for more information.

October 29 – October 31
The Haunted Horrors Paranormal and Film Convention takes place on October 29th through the 31st at MeadowView Marriott Convention Center in Kingsport.  Stars of Ghost Hunters International TV Series are scheduled to appear.  The event program also features a family friendly lineup of activities. A costume contest is planned for children, as well as face painting. To help parents make decisions on which of the presentations and workshops their children will attend, the program will outline the title and content of each of the sessions.  Some of the special events planned for the convention include: a Masquerade Ball and Costume Contest, a themed wedding, and a live paranormal investigation with some of the guest celebrities and the HAUNT Team.  The convention will also feature an opportunity for participants to attend a VIP Party to celebrate the All Hallows Eve season with the special guests and speakers.  Special guests include Aron Houdini; the world’s only living relative of the great magician and escape artist Harry Houdini. This member of a talented new generation of stage artists has awed audiences and won awards for his incredible feats of magic.  Check it out at thehauntedhorrors.com or call 276-608-8223.

October 30
Come to Abingdon for the Mayor’s Pumpkin Contest & Squashtober Fest at the Abingdon Market Pavilion on Saturday, October 30 from 7am to noon.  $1 per pound for the heaviest pumpkin (up to 1,000 pounds).  Kids activities and a pumpkin pie contest.  For more information visit http://www.abingdonfarmersmarket.net or call 276.698.1434

October 30
Theatre Bristol’s “The Masquerade Massacre: Halloween Costume Ball” is a special, limited attendance event at the Bristol Train Station ballroom, with costume required.  Food, dancing and even a possible scare through the evening.  If you want tickets, call 423.968.4977.  These will go quickly.  Doors open Saturday at 8:00 pm.

October 30
Get ready for Kingsport’s spooky Haunted Half Marathon and Downtown Festivities on Saturday, October 30th.  The Haunted Half is a flat and wicked fast double loop course that begins in Downtown Kingsport on Halloween afternoon. If you aren’t ready for your first half marathon, invite your friends for the Boo to Brew 4-person Half Marathon Relay. Register on-line.  Bring the kids for the Monster Dash Youth Runs and activities. Following the races will be a Halloween Festival with musical entertainment, food and Trunk or Treating!  For more information visit http://www.visitkingsport.com

October 30
The annual Rogersville’s Trunk or Treat will be held on Main Street from 5 to 8 p.m.  Cars will line up down Main Street with decorated car trunks fill with candy and Halloween goodies.  Awards for the best decorated trunk.   Don’t miss the haunted house, costume contest, music, hay rides, fortune teller, face painting and lots more.  Visit http://www.rogersvilleartscouncil.org for more information.

October 30
Grab your Halloween costume and come down to the Farmer’s Market at the Downtown Center in Bristol for a spook-tacular event! Children are invited to participate in the pumpkin decorating contest. There will also be a costume stroll and trick-or-treating downtown. Pumpkin Polooza starts at 9:00 am and is a free event!   Find out more at http://www.believeinbristol.org or call 423-573-2200.

October 30
Don’t forget the 7th Annual Aussie Fall Fest Chillin’ N Grillin’ in downtown Historic Greeneville.  This event offers crafts, food, kid’s zone, karaoke competition, cornhole tournament, entertainment, and features a Chili Cook Off competition and a Bar-B-Q and Wings Cook Off on Saturday, October 30 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.  “Kids’ Q” for youngsters ages 15 and under to compete as well as the “first-time grillers.”  Events vendors will Trick or Treat with the kiddies for 5:30pm.  For more information visit http://www.greenecountypartnership.com/chillin.aspx

October 30
The 3rd Annual Trunk or Treat at Steele Creek Park is scheduled for Saturday, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Ages 2 to 12 years old is welcome to come and take part in this park event. There will be treats for everyone, games and lots of fun, all in a safe outdoor environment. Please encourage your children to wear their costumes but make sure there is something reflective on the costume for their safety. Train rides will be available, weather permitting at a nominal fee of $1 per ride.  Bring your friends and gather the goodies. Stop by and get to know a few of Bristol’s finest police officers who will be out to help celebrate a great evening for families of the region. The event is free to the public.  For more information call 423-764-4023

October 30
Tainted moonshine makes flesh-eating zombies! See the East Tennessee premiere of “Broken Springs: Shine of the Undead Zombie Bastards.” This locally-produced film has attracted attention at many film festivals around the nation. The Southern Appalachian Film Festival movie premiere will be at the Renaissance Center in Kingsport at 7 pm.  Admission is $5 per person.

Now through October 30
Ghost Stories with Jake Legg’s Lost State Tours will run Tuesday through Saturday at 7:00 pm.  Come experience Johnson City’s spooky side.   Hear historical tales about our town that you may have NEVER known.  You’ll get some good old fashioned, mostly true, historical like fact and you’re sure to have some not so old fashioned FUN!  Ride in style in Jake’s Jalopy “Flattery.”  She may not be much of a sight from the outside, but step aboard for trip you’re not soon to forget.  Flattery was designed to replicate an old rail car, representing Johnson City’s early days as little more than a rail depot.  Seating for 23 among a variety of booths and tables designed for your comfort.  Reservations required.  Call 423.557.4248 and book your tour today or visit http://www.loststatetours.com
October 30
1st Annual Halloween Haunt at The Venue in Johnson City (2nd floor of the King Centre) on Saturday 8 pm to midnight. (adult friendly event) Music and dancing. Samples of pizza. Costume contest. $10/person. More information at facebook.com/venuejc

October 31
The Pumpkin Patch Party and Harvest Festival will be held on Sunday between 4 – 6 pm at the Kingsport Community Church on Memorial Boulevard.  Free event with games, cakewalks, hot dogs, drinks, popcorn, prizes.

October 31
Trunk or Treat in the Tennessee High School parking lot in Bristol (corner of Weaver Pike & Edgemont Avenue) on Sunday between 6-8 pm.  Popcorn, cotton candy, face painting, lots of candy and fun. This is a free event for the whole family.  Sponsored by Central Christian Church and First Baptist Church Bristol.

Now through October 31
Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch at The Stickley Farm in Bluff City offers a fun filled afternoon or evening in a beautiful rural setting with something of interest for all ages. Wander through our mazes and solve the challenge of finding all of the checkpoints. Take the whole family on a hayride or watch as the children play in our playground areas. Bring a picnic lunch or indulge yourself with a funnel cake and hot dog from our on site food vendor. Pick the pumpkin that is just right from our patch. Or simply sit on our new porch in a rocking chair and listen to the music and enjoy the atmosphere. There is something for everyone and it doesn’t cost a lot to have a great afternoon or evening of fun for the whole family.  For the bravest of the brave stay until after dark on Friday and Saturday nights and venture into the depths of our ‘Haunted Event’. The scare starts at dark if you dare!!! Open: Wednesday – Thursday 6-9 PM, Friday 6-11PM, Saturday 12-11PM, Sunday 1-6PM.
Call 423-538-5896 or visit http://www.thestickleyfarm.com

Now through October 31
Beck Mountain Corn Maze in Elizabethton offers a 4-acre maze of corn! There are plenty of turns, cross paths, and dead ends, but there’s only one way out! So be sure to wear your walking shoes, cause’ you may be in there a while! The quickest anyone has made it out is 30 minutes. The longest anyone’s ever been in there is 2 hours and 45 minutes. It all depends if you have good directional skills.  Open: Mon. 3pm-7pm, Tues.-Thurs. 9am-7pm, Fri. 9am-11pm, Sat. 10am-11pm, and Sun. 1pm-6pm.  The maze is haunted on Friday and Saturday nights in October, Halloween Eve, and Halloween night starting at dark.   423-543-CORN (2676) http://www.beckmountaincornmaze.com

Now through October 31
In Jonesborough, Fender’s Farm, where getting lost means finding fun, is an adventure for all ages, laughter by day, and screams by night. We have a 7-acre corn maize and a 3 acre “Field of Screams & the Insane Inn.” We also have pumpkins, mums, gourds, hay rides, country store, animal barn, corn hopper, a cow train and much more.  For more information visit http://www.fendersmaze.com or call 423-753-4469.

Now through October 31
Myers Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in Bulls Gap offers visitors a unique outdoor experience for all ages…pumpkins, mums, Indian corn, squash, gourds, kid’s activities, hayrides, 24-acre corn maze, 9-acre “Trail of Terror,” and more! Corn Maze is not open Mon.-Fri. during school hours. Educational field trips during school hours. “Trail of Terror” haunted maze open Fri.-Sat. nights during October. Seasonal: Open daily September – October.  Call 423-235-4796 or visit http://www.myerspumpkinpatch.com.

Now through October 31
Spooky Llama Trails & Tales in Chuckey offer visitors a unique and different treat this Halloween season.  Take a storytelling hayride through a llama farm hearing the Cherokee legend of the “Wendigo.”  The llama trails will take you through a pasture of over 45 llamas, and then entering the woods with spooky interactive scenes of a Wendigo cave, a wood hag, scarecrow, tree troll, and much more.  When you reach the top of Walnut Ridge, you will be greeted with various activities including professional storytellers, mountain music, a Native American Encampment, arts & crafts, and an area to experience the beauty & gentleness of baby llamas.  Everything is family style with nothing gory or over the top.  Appropriate for all ages including the young and young at heart.  10% of the Spooky Hayride gate will be donated to the Chuckey Ruritan for Youth activities.  A limited number of tickets per day. Tickets may be purchased at the gate on the day of the event based on availability.  Call to reserve your tickets at 423-257-2875 or order on-line early at http://www.walnutridgellamas.com.

There are lots in the area and there’s a list a netta.com, but have a go at a corn maze…they’re more than just mazes; there’re a great place to enjoy a fall evening for the whole family. Our amazing’ corn mazes, check ‘em out!

On-going Events
And there are several mystery plays this week at Barter Theatre to choose from.  The Legend of Sleep Hollow, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily, Where Trouble Sleeps and The Woman in Black.  Go to bartertheatre.com for show times and tickets.

Visitors to the Gray Fossil Site and Museum will experience “Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats,” a touring museum exhibition produced by Evergreen Exhibitions. The exhibit includes special effects, multi-sensory interactive displays, a Gothic castle and environmentally lifelike settings.  This experience will bring the mystery surrounding bats out of the dark.  For more information visit http://www.grayfossilmuseum.com.

The first weekend in October is held dear to me as I sit and listen to tales from all over the globe. Some inspire me, some make me laugh and some are meant to frighten, but they all touch my soul. If you have never experienced the true art of Storytelling now is your chance. The National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough still has tickets available – http://www.storytellingcenter.net/festival/.

Happy Birthday to Hands On!


It’s the Museum’s 24th birthday but you get the gifts! Sponsored in part by The Johnson City Press and Le Bleu Water.

  • Now – September 16th – Children can color the enclosed coloring sheet and enter the Happy Birthday Hands On! Coloring Contest for a chance to win a free Hands On! birthday party and lots of other goodies! All entries brought to the museum will receive a one-day admission pass to Hands On! You may pick up additional coloring sheets at Hands On! or download one (one entry per child).
  • September 17th – 19th – Additional savings on a Family Membership – 24% off to thank you for helping Hands On! celebrate 24 years.
  • Saturday, September 18th, 12:00 – 2:00 – Come to a Hands On! Birthday Celebration!
    Enjoy birthday cake provided by Food City Store #601.
    Visit with Zinno the Bear, the mascot for the city of Gatlinburg.
    Visit with Sharky, Shelly, and Shivers from Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.