Ribbon cutting opens Dogwood Arts

By Ken Lay

The City of Knoxville and Dogwood Arts kicked off dogwood season Friday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Griffey Gentry Funeral Home.

In 2017, the featured trail is Historic Fountain City, a trail formed in 1957. The trail covers 16 miles and features 3,200 blooming dogwood trees and an abundant assortment of azaleas. The trail also features a 12-acre walking park that surrounds the Fountain City Community.

Other trails in North Knox County include the Historic North Hills Trail and the Halls-Timberline Trail. Please see this week’s Knoxville in Bloom inside for maps of these trails.

Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was attended by Knoxville City Mayor Madeline Rogero, County Commissioner Bob Thomas and several city councilmen, marked the beginning of dogwood season and the Dogwood Arts Festival, which is an annual celebration that takes place throughout the month of April.

Dogwood Arts Executive Director Tome Cervone said that dogwood season and the festival are special to the city.

“It’s supposed to mark the beginning of spring, although it doesn’t feel too much like spring this morning,” Cervone said referring to the cool temperatures during Friday’s ceremony. “But this kind of a way for East Tennessee to mark the start of spring and that’s a wonderful time of the year.”

Cervone encourages residents and tourists to explore the dogwood trails and attend the Dogwood Arts Festival.

“There’s something for everybody,” he said. “There’s something for young and old and there’s something for people who have been here for a long time and there’s something for people who are new to town.

“We have a tremendous musical culture in East Tennessee and it may not be as highly publicized as the music in Chattanooga or Nashville. But it’s good music and we’re not trying to compete with anyone. But we want to showcase our musical talent. There’s no need to compete.”

Cervone noted that one of his favorite events of the Dogwood Arts Festival is “The Very Special Festival,” that is hosted by West High School and showcases art from those afflicted with developmental challenges.

“This is one of the most real parts of the festival,” Cervone said. “Here, people create, regardless of their challenges.”

Rogero noted that the season and festival are big for Knoxville.

“Knoxville is a beautiful place to live,” she said. “You have nature and you have the natural mountains in the backdrop.

“This a wonderful time for East Tennessee because you have neighbors coming together and Knoxville is a good solid community.”