On September 1, Bristol Motor Speedway will be buried under one ton of bacon. At the first annual Tri-Cities BaconFest, the pungent pork will be served up in a multitude of ways: Visitors can snag it for free at bacon stations during three tasting times, sample it in vendors’ bacon-infused desserts and entrees, or attempt to shovel down three pounds of it to claim the title Lord of the Bacon during the Man vs. Bacon eating contest. Other swine-themed events include the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pigskin Challenge, where preregistered participants aged 5 and up test their throwing arms on an accuracy obstacle course. At the hog-calling competition, shouters stretch their lungs as they imitate the sounds of hogs and, later, the sounds of hogs imitating celebrities. The family-friendly event will donate part of its proceeds to the Bristol Speedway Children’s Charities, a nonprofit organization that raises contributions for educational, financial, social, and medical causes.
The instructors at Masterpiece Mixers Paint & Party Studio supply the canvases, paints, and brushes, requiring visitors to bring only their creativity. At studios located around Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Massachusetts, they lead all-level painting classes that last from 90 minutes to three hours, and focus on subjects ranging from the natural, such as birds and flowers, to still-life guitars, vases, and wine bottles. In some themed sessions, instructors also teach groups to paint abstract pieces or create their own variations on famous landscape paintings that, unlike the originals, can include dinosaurs. Some sessions follow a special date-night structure. At every location, the staff members encourage visitors to bring their own wine, beer, and snacks if desired.
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine, running 2,180 miles over mountains, rocky slopes, and deep valleys. Since it was established in 1925, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has cared for the trail, maintaining 250,000 acres of public land. The organization educates hikers on Leave No Trace camping and why it's not a good idea to challenge a bear to a hugging contest.
Volunteers and trail crews build and repair shelters along the footpath and engage youth and community members in outdoor activities. In addition to these human-oriented services, the ATC works to protect endangered species living along the trail and to preserve the land's watershed streams and migratory corridor.
Having spent more than 24,000 hours at the controls of airborne helicopters and fixed-wing planes, Richard Cantley possesses a sure footing at any elevation. From his post within the gray T-hangar at the privately owned Johnson City Airport, the experienced pilot and flight instructor escorts first-time flyers to the skies during hands-on lessons. Whether students aspire to obtain a license of their own or just a panoramic view of Tennessee’s scenic landscape, Richard peppers each lesson with tips on how to read instruments, adhere to proper safety precautions, and swerve around zeppelins during rush hour.