Hot summer days of the past likely would find friends gathered around enjoying a cold glass of lemonade and each other’s company on a sleepy Sunday afternoon.
The Blount County Historical Museum is bringing back that time-honored tradition Sunday, July 14, with a lemonade social. The event will be held 2-4 p.m. at the museum, 1006 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville, and will feature lemonade, handmade treats provided by Beyond the Barn, music, tours of the museum and the Maryville Model Railroad Club’s train room, a program by author Sue Weaver Dunlap and an opportunity to learn more about the history of Blount County and East Tennessee.
Museum volunteer Linda Baker explained that by the 18th century, lemonade had made its way to America. Life in what is now East Tennessee was filled with hard work and few social opportunities, but one of the special events enjoyed by the entire family was a Sunday afternoon lemonade social.
“A hundred years or more ago, they would have lemonade socials after church on Sunday. That’s why we chose to do this on a Sunday, to recreate something from days gone by,” she said.
The event will begin with lemonade provided by museum volunteers. Baker said guests may choose from at least four different varieties.
“We will have pink lemonade, mint lemonade, strawberry lemonade and regular lemonade,” Baker said. In addition, the museum will provide chicken salad and pimento cheese finger sandwiches.
Loren Abbott, owner of Beyond the Barn in Townsend, is providing treats similar to what would have been served in previous generations: molasses ginger snaps, old-fashioned pound cake, strawberry bread and white chocolate lavender cookies. At least one gluten-free option will be served.
Abbott said helping sponsor the event goes along with what Beyond the Barn, which includes all-natural skin care, herbal remedies and fresh baked goods, was founded to represent.
“This is a perfect example of what we strive to be. Simple, homemade, good stuff,” Abbott said. “We love anything history! And we love supporting the museum.”
Local farmer, poet and author Dunlap will present a program, “Cold Springs Farm: A Writer’s Spirit.” Dunlap has published “The Story Tender” and “Knead” as well as having articles published in numerous anthologies and journals. Dunlap and her husband, Raymond, a Blount County native, purchased their Walland farm in 1994 from the Delmar and Bernice McClanahan family. She grew up in Knoxville and moved to Blount County in 1977.
Linda Hatcher from Walland will provide the musical entertainment with her dobro.
Tours and trains
Museum volunteers David Smith and David Cummings will lead tours of the museum and the train room, created and maintained by the Maryville Model Railroad Club.
Smith, who has volunteered as a docent with the museum for about a year, said, “I’ll be greeting people, give tours and run the model train.” As a model train enthusiast himself, he looks forward to letting guests see and understand how a railroad operates and the role the railroad played in the history of Blount County, including its use in harvesting timber from the Great Smoky Mountains. The elaborate recreation, featuring the fictional town of Laurelville, is based on Maryville and Blount County and has scenes depicting both the town and outlying areas, such as a Friendsville marble quarry.
“I’d like for them to get a feeling for the history here,” Smith said.
The cost to attend the lemonade social is a suggested donation of $5 per person, and children 9 and under may attend free of charge. All funds will go to the museum. Space is limited to 25 guests. For reservations, contact David Smith at 865-719-1733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org,
or email Baker