By Mike Steely

You might say the 2019 East Tennessee History Fair was a historic success, and you would be absolutely correct. The recent “Blast from the Past” held downtown had everything that a history buff, young or old, could want.

“Seems like everything came together just right to make this our best ever!” Cherel Henderson, executive director of the East Tennessee Historical Society, told The Focus. She said the first history fair was held in 2008 to celebrate the opening of the Museum of East Tennessee History.

“People begged us to make it an annual event,” she added.

“We had great publicity, pleasant weather and a great mix of activities. The crowd size is difficult to estimate, people come and go but the event had so many pieces and venues that there’s no one snapshot to show the crowd at any time,” she said.

“I know the museum alone had about 3,400 visitors and audiences packed the Tennessee Theatre for the vintage film series. There were lines waiting for the bus tours of historic homes,” Henderson continued.

“It will be a day or two before we have a fairly good count. We can conservatively estimate about 15,000 in attendance for the seven-hour event,” she said.

Henderson said there were about 50 organizations represented by the booths in the Krutch Park extension off Gay Street.

The East Tennessee Historical Society is a regional organization covering 35 counties. The history fair is an effort to draw attention to the work done by those groups to conserve history.

“We try to connect people with history in fun and engaging and meaningful ways,” she said.