Bruce Campbell plies his craft as a toymaker. Photo courtesy of the Rogersville Heritage Association.
ROGERSVILLE — The 34th edition of Rogersville Heritage Days kicks off Friday evening with hot chili and cool cars, but the really big show is Saturday and Sunday with live entertainment, a record number of craft booths, heritage demonstrators, and food venders taking over historic downtown Rogersville.
Friday’s events include the annual “Great Chili Cook Off” at the Hale Springs Inn courtyard at 3 p.m., with live music beginning in the gazebo at 5 p.m. and chili judging at 6 p.m.
The children’s parade this year has a Civil War theme. Tykes will be dressed to “Remember the Battle of Big Creek” with registration and costume judging at 4:15 p.m. at the First Baptist Church parking lot and the parade down Main Street at 5:30 p.m.
Once the little ones have cleared Main Street it’s time for big girls and boys to show off their shiny metal toys in the annual Eldridge Auto Sales and Body Shop classic car parade, followed by the Heritage Day Friday night Cruise-In beginning at 6 p.m.
Hundreds of vintage vehicles make the trip to Rogersville every year for this event, which also includes live music courtesy of “The B-Team Blues Band” on Courthouse Square.
The Heritage Days food court on South Depot Street opens at 5 p.m. Friday and will be open for the duration of the festival.
The opening ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday on the courthouse lawn featuring the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) color guard accompanied by the Cherokee High School drum line conducting a flag ceremony followed by the National Anthem and invocation.
The festival opens immediately after the ceremony with crafts vendors and food booths, as well as demonstrators performing “heritage skills” including whittlers, a toy maker, blacksmiths, needlework, basket weaving, an onsite apple butter stir, the Cooper Farms alpacas, and others.
The Davis Grist Mill and Antique Farm Equipment exhibit will be on display on South Depot Street and Artisan Craft Booths will line four blocks of Main and Church streets.
There’s live music on the main stage at the Courthouse Square throughout the festival Saturday and Sunday.
The Young’uns Yard offers old-fashioned games, inflatables, balloon art, the Heritage Train, and face painting. Older kids can enjoy the Euro Bungee and the world’s largest pinball machine next to the dance stage on Washington Street.
Throughout the day Saturday Civil War re-enactors from B Company, 12th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, will perform war skirmishes, cavalry and artillery demonstrations, saber drills, and practice maneuvers at Crockett Springs Park.
The Heritage Days Corn Hole Tournament begins Saturday at noon at the Crockett Spring Park parking lot, with registration at 10 a.m.
Other events Saturday include: at 11 a.m., an SAR Revolutionary War grave marking ceremony on North Depot Street; at 11 a.m., the Relay For Life Soup Bean fundraiser at First Christian Church; at noon, the antique tractor parade through downtown; and 2-6 p.m., the Rogersville High School 1950s reunion at the Hawkins County Rescue Squad building.
The festival closes at 6 p.m. Saturday, and reopens Sunday from noon until 6 p.m.
For more details on events and the list of bands playing, visit the RHA website at www.rogersvilleheritage.org.