and laser tag games on the playground! Coach Cory Hall even kissed a pig!
The annual Fairyland Festival on April 28 was a joyful flurry of activity and fun! Some of the great booths included face painting, Topple the Teacher, the ever-popular jail, inflatables, the new photo booth (sponsored by Fairyland parents at B&J Machinery)
and laser tag games on the playground! Coach Cory Hall even kissed a pig!
by Gwin Tugman
Once again this summer, Commons Camp will be available for young people ages 4 and up. Camp will open on June 6 and end on July 22. I will once again be in charge of the Tuesday and Thursday camp for ages 4-6, and these younger campers will meet from 9 a.m. to noon. Campers ages 6 and up may attend Commons Camp five days a week, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Almost all of the counselors from last year will be returning. Scott Shell will again direct this popular camp, and counselors include Elliott Dockery, Paul Stern, Brandon Ratledge, Macy Chandler and Bailey Diamondidis. Macy and Bailey will help me with the younger children and both are exceptional with the children and are a big asset to the program.
Every Tuesday and Thursday campers can enjoy Mr. T’s pizza, but the children are welcome to bring their own lunch if they prefer. Activities include arts and crafts, tennis, baseball, basketball, dodgeball and many other outdoor sports. The children are always closely supervised, and their safety is our No. 1 concern. We do everything possible to ensure that your child has a safe and fun experience.
Plans are still underway for a tennis program on Tuesday and Thursdays. In the past we have been fortunate enough to have a tennis professional volunteer to give lessons, and we are hoping for the same this year. We also hope to have some special days, like water-play days or a festive cookout.
Download the registration form here, but you can always fill it out when you come by the Commons, since this is definitely a “drop-in” kind of camp. You can pay for the whole summer, or you can pay by the day, whatever suits your needs. Camp fees are very reasonable; the kiddy camp is $10 a day or $90 for the summer, and fees for the older children are $15 a day or $175 for the summer. Contact Scott Shell at (423) 619-4944 or me at (423) 718-3581. We hope to see you at Commons Camp and are looking forward to a great summer!
The Battles for Chattanooga (BFC) presentation at its Rock City's BFC museum on Lookout Mountain has gotten some upgrades, which will be unveiled to the public over Memorial Day weekend. While the area's historical facts have not changed, See Rock City Inc. (SRC) partnered with Juncture LLC to revitalize the former electric map to a new, digital projection-mapped show. Guests will now be able to visualize Chattanooga's Civil War history as the battles come to life in this digital panoramic display.
"Time increases the gap between historical events and the present," said SRC CEO Bill Chapin. "In order to engage current generations, BFC has decided to update the technology used to bring these events to life. Strat Parrott is leading the team at Juncture to make history exciting and relevant to today's historians."
The renovation involves new multimedia projection mapping with high color saturation, short-throw digital projectors, solid-state media players and 3D modeling software.
"We have asked Juncture to join us in bringing the BFC museum's electric map show forward to technology's cutting edge," said Will Jackson, senior manager of innovation at SRC. "Our purpose is to better tell what is and has been since the battles in 1863, a great story about Chattanooga and our nation's cultural heritage. Our goal is to create a one-of-a-kind storytelling experience that uses the latest technology to bring to life the tumultuous battle days of one of our country's greatest struggles."
"Most people don’t understand that the five battles that took place here in Chattanooga were about two factions seeking to control a major economic hub with a huge railroad infrastructure," added Parrott, founder and CEO of Juncture. "As Chattanooga continues to be talked about as a southern city reinventing itself, we need to remember that our city has been a driving force in the nation’s economy dating back to the 1850s."
The battles for Chattanooga changed the outcome of the Civil War, sealing the fate of the Confederacy. Located on Lookout Mountain at the entrance to Point Park, BFC is a starting point for a tour of the area's Civil War battle sites. In addition to the new show that highlights the Battle Above the Clouds and Sherman's assault on Missionary Ridge before his historic March to the Sea, guests can also see an excellent relic and weapon collection while perusing the bookstore for well-known works about the Civil War. Nearby, Point Park is also a place of interest as the site of the famous Battle Above the Clouds.
BFC is offering buy-one-get-one free admission on Thursday, May 26, and the musuem is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, BFC extends its hours to 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for kids age 5-12, and free to those 4-and-under. For more info, visit the Battles for Chattanooga website.
Rock City has perfect timing for Memorial Day with its live music scene at Summer Music Weekends running May 27 through September 5. Enjoy entertaining performances by the Old Time Traveler, Highbeams, AM Radio, Ben Durham and NBC's "The Voice" finalist Amber Carrington on every weekend, holiday and Fourth of July week from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. In addition, you can experience Birds of Prey Shows and eat delicious southern food atop Lookout Mountain!
Hear about the history of old-time music with Matt Downer, the Old Time Traveler, at the new artist exhibit next to Fairyland Caverns. Step back into nostalgic Americana and meet characters from the '30s, highlighting the decade Rock City opened to the public. Enjoying summertime activities like making "Aunt Frieda's fire fly jars."
WSRC Radio broadcasts live throughout the park as Rock City's very own radio station conducts special appearances from regional artists, the all-American music lovers, visitors and children. Guests can also walk the footsteps of Frieda Utermoehlen Carter, seeing Rock City Gardens through its founder's eyes. Tours are on a first come, first served basis at 9 a.m., 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily.
Raptor shows with Wings to Soar return at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. for an uplifting and interactive presentation showcasing various rescued birds of prey in action.
Café 7 is also open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning Memorial Day weekend, with extended hours until 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Taste delicious food with a modern twist like a catfish po' boy, fried green tomato BLT or a Southern salad.
Rock City is continuing its conservation partnership with Lula Lake Land Trust for this event and is committed to co-advocacy efforts with local community organizations.
For more information and the full schedule for Rock City's Summer Music Weekends, visit the Rock City website.
With its annual spring plant sale, an appearance from a best-selling author and a celebration of migratory birds, springtime has been busy at Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center.
Hundreds attended the 29th Annual Spring Native Plant Sale in April, which raised a record-breaking $41,000 for the organization. Many folks shop the plant sale each year to add native species to their landscapes.
On May 2, London-based author Andrea Wulf gave a presentation on her book, "Founding Gardeners." A mesmerized audience filled Reflection Riding’s classroom to hear Wulf’s unique insight into how the founding fathers of the United States saw a connection between plants and politics. The melding of the two was pertinent to create an economically independent nation, and it also protected the country from the corruption, decadence and tyranny associated with many 18th century European governments.
Birds of a Feather, the second program in The Tennessee Aquarium and Reflection Ridings “Wild Chattanooga” series took place on Saturday, May 7. More than 50 people participated in activities celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The morning kicked off with a bird banding demonstration presented by Dr. David Aborn from UTC. Then, Keven Calhoun, an ornithology specialist from the Tennessee Aquarium, and local naturalist Bob Butters led bird walk. John and Lissie Diener, the avian technicians for the Tennessee River George Trust, presented their latest research on bird migration patterns. Corey Hagen, education director for Reflection Riding, gave several birds of prey demonstrations featuring Reflection Riding’s resident great horned owl, red shoulder hawk and screech owl.
Reflection Riding also hosted the Rotatry Club of Chattanooga for its annual spring outing during May.
Looking to summer, there are many exciting events planned at Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center. Summer camp kicks off in June and offers kids a great chance to interact with the great outdoors while they learn through art projects, hike, canoe and more. Registration is open now.
Reflection Riding recently welcomed three new red wolves into its pack. On June 23, there will be a fundraiser for the red wolf breeding program at the nature center. Click here to learn more about the wolf pups and the fundraiser. Then, on June 24, there will be a bat cave tour. Call (423) 821-1160 to learn more about the tour or to sign up.
If you want to enjoy nature on your own, don’t forget about Reflection Riding’s great opportunities to get outdoors. Stop by to take your dog for a walk, book the treehouse for a gathering, borrow a canoe for a cooling summer paddle and check out how the wolf puppies are developing. For more information, visit www.reflectionriding.org.
The IRONMAN 70.3 and festivities surrounding it are this weekend. There will be road closures and lots of traffic so the DOT is recommending that spectators and visitors park in the lots and garages surrounding downtown and utilize the Free Electric Shuttle and Bike Chattanooga bike share system. The Electric Shuttle will have extended hours for the IRONMAN 70.3 on Sunday beginning a 5 a.m. There will also be extra shuttles running the route.
Public activities start Friday with a kid's race at noon, and the IRONMAN Expo area will be open on the Chattanooga Green from noon to 7 p.m.
The Tennessee River will be closed to pleasure crafts between Ross's Landing and the Chickamauga Dam from 5 a.m. until 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 22. This includes the Rivermont Park and Tennessee Riverpark boat ramps.
Ironman starts early Sunday morning with the swim portion at 6:50 a.m., and athletes will be transitioning to the bike race from about 7 until 9 a.m. Traffic will be stopped from crossing the cyclists' lane when they are present between 7 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on West 20th Street, Broad Street, Market Street and Alton Park Boulevard. Runners will be on the Riverwalk, Amnicola Highway, the Veterans Bridge, Barton Avenue, Hixson Pike and Riverview Road between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The route map and guides to allow spectators to make the most of this unprecedented opportunity for Chattanooga can be found on CDOT’s website.
Riverside Drive/Riverfront Parkway between Aquarium Way and Molly Street, Chestnut Street between Aquarium Way and Riverfront Parkway, and the southbound Veterans Bridge ramp to Riverside Drive will be closed from 9:00 am Wednesday, May 18 until 5 a.m. on Monday, May 23 for the IRONMAN 70.3 setup and race.
River Street and Heritage Landing Drive from Tampa Street to Heritage Landing will be closed from 4 a.m. until 9 a.m. on Sunday, May 22 for the IRONMAN 70.3 swim portion.
The right eastbound lane of Riverfront Parkway between Molly Lane and Market Street, the right southbound lane of Market Street between West 20th Street and West 40th Street, and the I-24 on ramp and South bound off ramp at Market Street will be closed and all streets crossing this route will be controlled by CPD officers. Additionally, between 6 a.m. to approximately 9:30 a.m., Southbound Market Street from 20th Street to 40th Street will be closed to all traffic and Northbound Alton Park Boulevard, from 40th Street to West 33rd will be closed. Please follow the detour maps posted for alternate routes around this closure. The intersections of St. Elmo Avenue at West 42nd Street and Tennessee Avenue and West 45th Street will be a four-way Stop from 7 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 22 for the IRONMAN 70.3 bike portion. Cyclists will also be on West 40th Street and Tennessee Avenue to the state line and riding with traffic.
The right eastbound lane of Frazier Avenue between Forest Avenue and the Veterans Bridge, the right northbound lane of Barton Avenue between Frazier avenue and Baker Street, the right northbound lane of the Veterans Bridge between East 3rd Street and Barton Avenue, the right westbound lane of Amnicola Highway between Old Curtain Pole Road and Lindsay Street, Riverside Drive between Lindsay Street and Molly Lane, the Battery Place off ramp from Riverside Drive, Aquarium Way between Riverside Drive and Walnut Street will be closed and all streets crossing this route will be controlled by CPD officers to give right-of-way to the runners from 9 a.m. on Sunday, May 22 until 1 a.m. on Monday, May 23 for the IRONMAN 70.3 run portion.
The McKamey Animal Center opened its doors in 2008 and since that time more than 18,000 animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, snakes and turtles and many more species, have found their forever homes. To celebrate its success, the center is hosting its inaugural "Back to MAC Reunion Dog Walk" at the McKamey Animal Center at 4500 North Access Rd. on Saturday, May 14. Registration is at 8 a.m. and the walk starts at 9 a.m.
"Back to MAC Reunion Dog Walk" is a fundraiser for the McKamey Animal Center, nonprofit organization providing animal care services and animal protection for the City of Chattanooga. The 26,000-square-foot facility accommodates over 6,000 animals annually of multiple species and provides a number of programs and services funded through donations.
The cost for the event is $25 per dog; all humans are free. The event is open to both alumni pets and non-alumni pets. After the walk, there will be several contests at the center for alumni pets to participate in. Plenty of refreshments will be available for both pet owners and their pets.
Owners of any McKamey alumni pets are encouraged to email in a photo of their McKamey pet and story of when it was adopted to to be on display on the alumni wall the day of the event.
According to executive director Jamie McAloon, "Adoptions are extremely important to an animal shelter. In many communities the number of animals coming into the local animal shelter will often overwhelm a shelter." McKamey works with a number of local and national rescue organizations that help to place animals all over the country. "We have a very progressive adoption program combined with a number of rescues that help to get these animals into homes," said McAloon.
McKamey's in-house population varies depending on the time of year. In winter months, it averages 200 animals in the shelter daily, but in peak summer months the shelter can be bulging at the seams with over 400 in the Center to be cared for.
According to McAloon, "It's not enough to just adopt — you have to spay and neuter and offer assistance and access to spay and neuter services, which McKamey also provides in their state-of-the art surgery suite."
McKamey provides spay/neuter services for low income pet owners and those on public assistance, under the guidance of two staff veterinarians and a full surgery staff. In 2015, the center conducted over 5,500 spay/neuter surgeries and placed over 4000 animals into new homes.
For more information, go to www.mckameyanimalcenter.org.