Valley Fest, Star Wars films, Lookouts at home among upcoming events in Chattanooga area

Freda Walters

This story was updated at 1:23 p.m. on Thursday, April 29, 2021, with more events.

A fandom convention, a music festival and the return of Lookouts baseball highlight the upcoming calendar. Here’s a look:

* Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave., welcomes old-time musician Lon Eldridge to the Garden at 7 p.m. Thursday as the lead-off performer for the second season of the Chattanooga Song Circle, a series featuring original songs by local artists. Tickets are $12.50 in advance, $15 at the door. Purchase at

* Downtown Dine Around, set for 5-8 p.m. Thursday, is a chance to sample specialties at 11 restaurants in Cleveland, Tennessee. Tickets are $25. Visit for the list of stops and where to purchase tickets.

* The Ringgold Playhouse will open its 2021 season with a five-performance run of Neil Simon’s “I Ought To Be in Pictures,” about a New York teenager who drops in on her estranged father in California in hopes he, a screenwriter, can get her, an aspiring actress, in a movie. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Ringgold (Georgia) Depot, 155 Depot St. Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 seniors and students. Find out more on the company’s Facebook page.

* Free trees and ice cream: The Parks & Recreation Department in Athens, Tennessee, will give away dogwood, pecan and northern red oak tree seedlings, donated by the Tennessee Division of Forestry, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (or while supplies last) on Friday at the Market Park pavilion, 106 S. Jackson St. Mayfield Dairy Farms will have ice cream sandwiches to distribute as well. The giveaways are part of the city’s Arbor Day celebration, noting that Athens has received “Tree City USA” status for the 40th consecutive year from the National Arbor Day Foundation. Questions? Call 423-744-2700, ext. 3, or email

* City Nature Challenge, hosted by Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, 400 Garden Road, is happening Friday and Saturday. Events include night hikes, guided walks and a campfire concert. The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for citizens to document plants and wildlife in their city. Because of the pandemic, this year’s challenge will not be structured as a contest, but as a celebration of nature. Admission is by donation. See the complete list of activities at

* Metrotham Con, a fandom convention centered on pop culture, anime, cosplay and live-action role-playing, is this weekend at the Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza. Hours are 2-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. The featured guests have a string of Hollywood credits ranging from “Battlestar Galactica” to “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” to “Boogie Nights.” Find out more, including photo and autograph fees with the stars, at

Contributed Photo from Gene Keller / Aloe vera grows best in a well-draining pot. Get tips from gardening pros at the Etowah Friendly Garden Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday.

* The Caverns, 555 Charlie Roberts Road in Pelham, Tennessee, will feature shows by Americana artists this weekend. Grace Potter will play Friday and Saturday, Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors on Sunday. All shows start at 7 p.m. CDT in the above-ground amphitheater. Tickets start at $70 per person for six-person pods. Learn more at

* Plant class: Crabtree Farms, 1000 E. 30th St., will host “I’ve Bought All These Plants, Now What?,” offering step-by-step instructions for planting new spring plants, 10 a.m.-noon Saturday. Tickets are $30. Get tickets at

* Car show: Sale Creek Lions Club will hold a Classic Car Show 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Sale Creek Middle/High School, 211 Patterson Road. Trophies will be awarded in six categories, and there are classes for rat rods and cars of all vintages. Vehicle entry fee is by donation. Hamburgers, hot dogs and chili will be sold. Entertainment includes an oldies DJ starting at 9 a.m. and the Cedar Creek Band at noon. Proceeds go toward the purchase of a new community building and other club projects. For more information, find the club on Facebook or call Jerry Carpenter at 423-933-8473.

* Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball teams will open the local season at 2 p.m. Saturday at the polo field on Barnhardt Circle in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. The Lightfoot and Mountain City clubs will play in the style of the original game, circa 1860s, with wooden bats, no gloves and no strike zone. The adjacent 6th Cavalry Museum will be open for free tours of the latest exhibit, “The Triple Victory of the 6888th,” and the Fort Oglethorpe Historic Preservation Committee will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to scan local historic photos. Bring your own seating for the game. Admission and parking are free. For more information:,

* Plant sale: The Etowah Friendly Garden Club’s annual plant sale is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the historic L&N Depot, 727 Tennessee Ave. in Etowah, Tennessee. Multiple locally grown varieties will be sold below retail price as potted plants in garden soil. Proceeds will fund club projects, including an agriculture scholarship. For more information, find the group on Facebook or call club president Gene Keller at 423-263-1506.

* Mother’s Day Festival: Trojan Hall, 10838 Dayton Pike in Soddy-Daisy, will host an array of artisans and crafters with products suitable for Mother’s Day gift-giving 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. The merchandise will range from baked goods to jewelry. 

* Valley Fest: Organizers in Dunlap, Tennessee, have lined up an array of country stars for this year’s music festival, including Shenandoah on Saturday and Cody McCarver and John Schneider on Sunday. Local musicians will lead into the headliners. The festival also includes a car show, art exhibition, kids zone, 5K walk/run, carnival, arts and crafts. Hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (all times Central). Activities are set up at 287 Pine St. Find out more at

* Model train show: Niota, Tennessee, will have model train setups from around Southeast Tennessee and vendors selling railroad-related items at this third annual event, set for 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday in the historic Niota Depot, 201 E. Main St. The Niota Depot is the oldest standing depot in the state, and the railroad industry has a long history in the area. Vendors may call Niota City Hall at 423-568-2584 about space availability. Admission is free.

* Arts and crafts show: K&S Southern Hospitality Events will provide a Funkey Munkey Mother’s Day Market starting Monday through May 9 at Northgate Mall in Hixson. The weeklong event showcases a variety of goods from dozens of artisans. Find out more at

* Bobby Stone Film Series will mark Star Wars Day on Tuesday (“May the 4th “) with a trio of Star Wars films: “A New Hope” at 1 p.m., “The Empire Strikes Back” at 4 p.m. and “Return of the Jedi” at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and $12. Purchase at

* Rise fundraiser: The Partnership for Families, Children and Adults will welcome country singer Jimmy Wayne for a VIP dinner and concert at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Granfalloon, 400 E. Main St., and a virtual event at noon Wednesday at The Chattanoogan hotel, 1201 Broad St. This year’s fundraiser will showcase the partnership’s youth services program, River City Youth Collective, which serves at-risk youth and young adults aging out of foster care. Register for tickets at

* Chattanooga Lookouts open their home season next week at AT&T Field, 201 Power Alley, with a six-game stretch against the Rocket City Trash Pandas. Opening night, Tuesday, has sold out, and tickets are limited for May 7-8. More information at

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281.

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