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From its opening Saturday until it winds down a week later, this year's Best Friend Festival is a salute to the city of Norton's 125th anniversary.

The 33rd annual event celebrates local community, music of all genres and the outdoors, with activities appealing to all ages and interests. It features long-standing traditions like the Norton Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast, Norton’s Largest Sandbox and Crankin' with Crutchfield while encouraging support for newer endeavors like the Woodbooger Chase Triathlon and High Knob Music Festival.

The festival opens on the mountain this SATURDAY, JUNE 8, with Kids Fishing Day from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the Norton reservoir. SUNDAY, JUNE 9 features the triathlon starting at 10 a.m., a fundraiser for the Norton City Schools Art Department

Gospel music is highlighted MONDAY, JUNE 10, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Fifth Street parking lot of Wolfe Williams and Reynolds.

Come TUESDAY, JUNE 11, take in a super-sized Friends & Farmers Market, opening at 4 p.m. in the Norton Farmers Market building located downtown. There will be locally grown produce, market basket giveaway, kid’s bucks and cooking demonstrations.

Ballad Health is sponsoring an appreciation event for EMS and first responders in the Norton City Park. There will be food vendors available.

Close out the evening at the Country Cabin in Josephine for the Music of the Mountains Homecoming show at 7:30 p.m.

On WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., First Bank & Trust will host its 14th annual Picnic in the Park Customer Appreciation Day. The picnic is open to the public and will include free hot dogs, drinks and music by DJ Freddie Bradley.

Beginning at 1 p.m. in the park is the Paint-a-Trash-Can Contest with paint, brushes and trash containers provided. Participants are encouraged to wear old clothing. The trash containers will be used at the Norton City Park during the 2019 Best Friend Festival. Following, Ballad Health/Norton Community Hospital and Upper Tennessee River Roundtable will be sponsoring “Outdoor Crafts.” Door prizes will be given away.

There will be a Bike Rodeo at 2 p.m., with registration and free bicycle checks beginning at 1 p.m. Children of all ages are welcome to come and learn about bicycle safety and try out the child bicycle safety course. There will be bicycle and CPSC-approved bicycle helmets given away.

Close out the night in the park with the Karaoke contest in three age divisions. A cash prize will be awarded to the winner of each age category. This is not a talent contest and is not open to professionals. Contact sponsor WAXM at 276/679-1901 for rules, registration and more information. There is no registration fee.

THURSDAY, JUNE 13, is about kids and seniors alike.

Senior Citizens Day runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Norton Farmer’s Market Building with activities including bingo, cakewalks, giveaways and free health information. The first 300 seniors (ages 55-plus) will receive free hamburgers fresh off the grill, chips, cakes, soft drinks, and water with free ice cream and free prizes while quantities last.

Mountain Empire Older Citizens will be providing free transportation services to senior citizens. Call MEOC at 276/523-7433 by Friday, June 7.

The fun for kids kicks off Thursday morning at Norton Cinema City with a showing of a kid-friendly movie at 10 a.m. and at noon, with admission $1 for children and refreshments at discounted prices.

The Norton Lions Club and Norton Kiwanis Club will sponsor Kid’s Night from 5-9 p.m. with all sorts of games, attractions, activities, inflatable rides, cartoon characters and giveaways. There will be free soft drinks provided by Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. as well as free cotton candy and popcorn.

Thursday night belongs to teenagers and car buffs at the 18th annual Crankin’ with Crutchfield Teen Dance and Car Show. The teen dance — open to ages 13 to 19 and featuring DJ Freddie Bradley — will be held in the municipal parking lot next to The Coalfield Progress.

The car show is open to the public, carries no entry fee and features six different categories with awards going to first- and second-place winners. Contact Becky Lagow at 1-800/388-2911, extension 4125, to preregister. On the day of the event, early registration will begin at 7 p.m. with judging at 8 p.m.

On FRIDAY, JUNE 14, Norton Parks and Recreation, Norton Lions Club and Norton Kiwanis Club are sponsoring slip and slide water activities from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Norton Elementary School parking lot.

Family Fun Night returns to downtown, beginning at 6 p.m. with delicious food vendors, plenty of musical entertainment and A Kid's Place. Entertainment opens on the main stage in the Coalfield parking lot with Stepz, Rainbow Gymnastics and JBEN Gymnastics with Railway Express taking the stage at 8 p.m.

A Kid’s Place will also be in town from 7 to 11 p.m. featuring a bungee jump, kiddy rides, face painting, tattoos, sand art and a kiddie train.

SATURDAY, JUNE 15, opens with the annual Norton Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast, which will be serving up a breakfast of hotcakes and sausage from 7-11 a.m. on Seventh Street. The citywide yard sale and flea market vendors begin at 7 a.m., too.

The Ballad Health Rehab 5K and 8K runs begin at 7 p.m. with registration starting at 6 p.m. at the NCH Healthplex.

For further information about the Best Friend Festival, contact the Wise County Chamber of Commerce at 679-0961.

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