When you sit at a table with Dick Ray, you get to see everybody! Here, Mary Alice Tucker, left, and Barbara Arant stop by to greet him.
I’ll be honest. We have never been to the Marblegate event before. It benefits the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. It is a good cause, and all, but we just can’t go to everything — try as we might. We really bought the tickets for this past Sunday’s Marblegate because we wanted the tours of the renovations at Lakeshore Park that were being offered as part of the purchase price.
But, alas, the tours were canceled because of rain. No matter. With Holly Hambright handling the catering, Jerry Kruse and The Pour Guys pouring libations and a convivial crowd on a Sunday evening, it was a delightful time, anyway. And we realized we scored the best table in the house when we saw our old friends Dick Ray and Carolyn Forster there along with Joe and Becky Swann! They said it was “the Blount County table,” but they let us take our seats there anyway.
The event this year honored Bill Cobble, whose Marblegate Farm in Friendsville, which he owns with his wife, Donna, is usually the site of this fundraiser (and thus, the name). Bill is the founding board president of the Institute at Tremont.
Cocktails were served in this permanent structure. Dinner was in an adjoining tent.
We immediately ran into some downtown neighbors, Robin and Randy Gibson, right, with Mike Cunningham. We should have carpooled!
Mike and Janice Belbeck, left, were chatting with Lt. Gov. Randy and Jan McNally.
Here’s McNally again, left, with Bill Arant, center, and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.
How’s this for an unusual passed appetizer? Fried okra on sticks!
From left, Krista and Ray Goepfrich with Oscar and Renita Smith.
Emily DeJarnett, left, and Samantha Edwards.
From left, Pam Jordan, Jennifer and Don Bruce and David Jordan.
I loved the cute carrot centerpieces on the cocktail tables.
My husband, Alan Carmichael, left, and Hank Dye. (Alan, due to heart surgery, is only allowed one glass of red wine a night. He’s holding my wine in this photo. Honest, Dr. Leahy!)
Here’s another passed appetizer, ham biscuits. (Poor Alan couldn’t have that, either.)
The Old City Buskers kept things lively.
William and Janell Cecil.
Sarah Stowers, left, with Margaret Dye.
From left, Sandy Martin, Carol Parnell, Alan, Don Parnell and David Martin.
Polly Ailor and Laurens Tullock.
Becky Paylor, left, and Terry Morgan.
Soon, we moved over into the big tent.
That’s where we ran into Dan Cap, left, with Sara Hedstrom and Ben Pinnell.
Jason and Lauren Emert.
Morton Massey, left, with Bruce Morgan.
James and Heather Warren.
Jerry Kruse knows I like pinot grigio!
All the ladies love Jerry! Here he is with Barbara Arant, center, and Bobbie Congleton.
Good friends, from left, Kati Blalock, Sandy Martin and Cathy Ackermann.
The shrimp salads were pre-set on the tables. They were delicious. There were two empty seats at our table, so we all divided up the shrimp on those plates!
Loved these centerpieces, too!
Holly Hambright, right, and her daughter, Kyle Hambright, had things on the buffet well in hand.
Look at this beautiful fresh mozzarella and Grainger County tomato salad!
This was my favorite: black-eyed pea and snap pea salad with roasted red pepper dressing.
The Springer Mountain Farms chicken pot pie drew rave reviews.
Braised pork loin with kale and balsamic cipollini onions didn’t disappoint, either.
It was no problem at all to get folks to go through the buffet line!
Here’s the big, happy crowd under the tent.
Billie Shelby dropped by our table to chat with Dick Ray.
So did Tom Ballard.
Nigel Fields, left, and Cassius Cash, superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
State Sen. Becky Massey stopped by to greet Alan and Carolyn Forster.
Our other tablemates were Maryville City Councilman Joe Swann and his wife, Becky.
Dessert was perfect for a summer evening.
Kenneth and Jane Creed watching an informational video.
Dr. Jen Jones is president and CEO of the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.
Everyone got to take home a lovely parting gift.
We were home before nine and had managed to attend a rare Knoxville fundraiser that didn’t have a live or silent auction! Hallelujah.