Fifth annual Lake Fest and River Rally brings boatloads of fun, fundraising August 08, 2013 at 09:53AM

The fifth annual Watts Bar Lake Fest and River Rally splashes into town Aug. 28 to 31, bringing with it a boatload of fundraising — and fun —aimed at providing shelter to Rhea County children in need.

This year's events will include a golf tournament, a poker run, and a special appearance by famed actor and popularizer of Appalachian culture Bill Landry.

Proceeds from all events will go toward the establishment of Safe Haven Light, a respite home for Rhea County children caught in the gears of the criminal justice system.

When authorities remove a child from an unsafe or unstable home, there is not always a place for them to stay in their community. Often, they are placed in foster care elsewhere — far away from their school, church, friends and routines. In the worst cases, they can even be placed in jails or detention centers for temporary keeping.

Safe Haven Light, a project of Dayton-based nonprofit We Care Community Services, is intended to provide a safe and caring home to these children while more permanent accommodations can be found.

In years past, the rally and related events have raised up to $7,000 for the home. This year, event organizers say they hope to top that figure. Here are the highlights:

First Annual River Rally Golf Tournament

The week will begin with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. on Aug. 28, when a horde of golf-club-wielding philanthropists scrambles down the green at the Dayton Golf and Country Club, competing for the title of champion at the first annual River Rally Golf Tournament. Prizes will be awarded for first, fourth and seventh place winners. Prizes will also be awarded for the longest drive and closest to the pin.

Registration for the charity game is $60 per person or $240 per four-person team. For an additional $60, participants can sponsor a hole and have their business name placed on a placard on the course. The cost to sponsor a hole, but not compete, is $100. Registration includes green fees, a golf cart and lunch. The club is located at 315 Payne Ln., in Evensville, Tenn. 

Register for the tournament >

Safe Haven Open House

Get to the heart of the on Aug. 29, when Spring City real estate firm and event sponsor East Tennessee Waterfront Properties will host an open house at Safe Haven Light. Come out, tour the facility and learn about the vital work and vision of this nonprofit initiative. The open house will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Safe Haven is located at 540 Cemetery Road, in Spring City, Tenn.

Special appearance by ‘Heartland’ star Bill Landry

After you've learned about Safe Haven Light, show your support by turning out for an evening of music and storytelling with Bill Landry.

Landry, best known for his role in the acclaimed "Heartland" TV series, will appear at 7 p.m. on Aug. 30 at the Tennessee Valley Theatre, located at 184 W. Jackson Ave. in Spring City, Tenn.

The Tennessee native will entertain with stories about the unique history and colorful characters of his home state, joined on stage by real life purveyors of Appalachian culture the Mt. LeConte Jug Band, who will entertain audience members with Bluegrass and country favorites.

Admission to the event is $17. For more information, or to book tickets, call 423-365-7529, or visit www.tennesseevalleytheatre.com.

The Mt. Leconte Jug Band performs "I Love Watts Bar":

River Rally and Lake Fest

On Aug. 31, competitors will converge on Watts Bar Lake for the week’s main event — the fifth annual Watts Bar River Rally. Motorcyclists, boaters and classic car enthusiasts will participate in this aquatic twist on the classic poker run. Last year, the event drew 100 competitors and several hundred people.

The run will begin with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. when the competitors will depart from eight participating marinas on the lake. They will then check in at five of the participating marinas — retrieving at each stop an envelope containing an oversized playing card. Those with the five best hands at day’s end will be awarded prizes.

All competitors will report back to the Lakeside Marina and Resort at 2 p.m. for the fifth annual Lake Fest. Prizes will be awarded and refreshments served into the evening.

The cost to register for the rally is $50 per hand, per person and also includes a T-shirt and admission to the post-run party. Preregistration and a pre-rally meeting will be 5 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 30 at the Spring City Municipal Building, at 229 Front St. in Spring City. Participants will be required to provide proof of vehicle registration and insurance.

Pre-register for the Rally >
For more information about any of the week’s events, call Gary Venice at 423-365-2577.