A Knox 4th of July: food, fun, friends, and fireworks

Alan Carmichael cannot resist a dessert — like this one at Joan and Victor Ashe’s party! It was a chocolate blueberry bundt cake that Kay Leibowitz brought.

The high was 93 degrees on Independence Day and we headed to three outdoor parties — one in deep west Knoxville, one in what is called “short west,” and one in downtown on the Tennessee River. I’m not going to tell you it didn’t feel like 93 — because it did! But I will say the fun folks at every stop didn’t let it damper the festivities in the least!

First stop was in Westmoreland Hills off Westland Drive at the beautiful home of Judith and Michael Foltz. The Foltzes, who have a great place to party in their lovely backyard, provided pulled pork and pulled chicken barbecue sandwiches for lunch and all the guests contributed the other dishes. It was a great way to start the holiday.

(Judith, the retired director of special events for the City of Knoxville, knows a thing or two about throwing parties! That’s why I think it’s great that she has opened her own special events company. I was happy to be one of her first clients when she launched the company a few months ago. Highly recommend!)

Doesn’t this put you in the mood for a Fourth of July party?

Great mingling spot on the covered (thankfully) back porch prior to lunch.

An appropriately patriotic buffet tent.

Our host, Michael Foltz, with his two sweet doggies, Sookie and Mazie.

Judith warming the main course.

Janet Testerman, left, in the kitchen with her mother, a former First Lady of Knoxville, Janet Testerman Crossley.

Downtowners Chris Crouch, left, and Bill Lyons.

Loved the Uncle Sams who kept us company on the porch.

Clockwise around the table starting at left: Joey Creswell, Janet Testerman, Jacque Hawks, Janet Testerman Crossley.

From left, Mark Blessinger, Teresa Scott, and Michael Foltz.

Judith, left, and Jacque Hawks. Loved how their dresses go together! (That’s Teresa Scott with the photo bomb!)

Pretty centerpiece made with hydrangeas from the Foltzes’ yard.

Gary Bentley in the lunch line.

The rest of the offerings. Left to right, from top left: Million Dollar dip, baked beans and watermelon salad, corn salad, corn muffins, potato salad, pasta salad, some kind of damn good desssert, and deviled eggs. Yum.

Roy Haisley had a good haul!

From left, Robin Thomas, Julia Bentley, and Gay Lyons enjoying the repast.

Haha. Who invited the ants to the picnic?

Bill Lyons, left, and Alan Carmichael.

David Butler, left, and Ted Smith.

Janet Testserman Crossley and Michael Foltz. (Everyone wants to get their picture made with her!)

Judith’s daughter, Erin Bagwell, right, with her own daughters, Emma, left, and Lily.

I decided to go with the understated look. Ha. (Photo by Alan Carmichael.)

We headed home for a nap! But soon we hit the road for the short trip to Victor and Joan Ashe’s home on Kingston Pike near the entrance to Sequoyah Hills. As you know, Ashe is former long-time mayor of Knoxville — 16 years, the longest in the city’s history. Following that, he was U.S. Ambassador to Poland. His wife, Joan, a former school teacher, is a saint — a Christian martyr — and one of the best cooks in town!

We pulled into the driveway at the same time as our downtown friend Georgiana Vines. We should have carpooled! From left, Victor, a visiting eagle, Georgiana, and Alan.

Joan with some other guests, from left, Ralph Cianelli, Rick Fox, and David Williamson.

Mayzie likes to be part of the action.

Another greeter. The Ashes have several pieces by this Polish artist. I think they’re fun!

Barbara Bernstein arrived carrying goodies. Kay Leibowitz is behind her on the right, as are Howard Vogel and Elizabeth Asher.

Kay Leibowitz adding to the buffet what you saw Alan eating at the top of this blog post.

They called themselves “the red shorts club:” Bob Marquis, left, and George Ed Wilson.

From left, Lynn Vogel, Susie Wilson, Kay and Larry Leibowitz.

Cheryl Massingale and Rick Fox.

Municipal Judge Tyler and Christy Caviness.

Beautiful shot by Howard Vogel.

Howard took this one, too. Love it.

From left, Victor, Howard Vogel, and Bob Page.

Ken Wise and Barbara Hillard.

Kay Leibowitz, left, and Townes Osborn.

Alan Carmichael, left, and Doug McKamey.

Ambassador Ashe said a short blessing (accompanied by Uncle Sam) before opening the buffet line for dinner.

Suffice it to say that nobody left hungry!

My favorite “bite” of the night was actually a sip — Joan’s delicious and refreshing gazpacho. It was made from a recipe of Knoxville’s beloved former caterer David Duncan. He lives in Florida now.

Dining by the pool was relaxing.

Another eagle cooling off!

From left, Bob Page, Cheryl Massingale, Bob Marquis, and Georgiana Vines.

Another great Howard Vogel pic.

And then they brought out old fashioned ice cream treats!

And talk turned to the noticeable effects of what is known as “shrink-flation!” Barbara’s ice cream sandwich was definitely smaller than the ones of our childhood!

Bob Marquis’ Nutty Buddy was gone before I could get a decent picture of it!

We passed this friendly insect (if there is such a thing!) as we were leaving.

We were the last guests to arrive at our next stop, the home of Bill and Gay Lyons at The Overlook, which is perched beside the Henley Street Bridge where the city’s fireworks display would start at about 9:45. Yep, some of the same guests from the first party! Clockwise around the table starting at bottom left: Robin Thomas, Joey Creswell, Julia Bentley, Bill Lyons, Tyler Janow, Anthony Wilson, Alan Carmichael, Janet Testerman, Gary Bentley, Chris Crouch, and Gay Lyons.

Alan greeting Simba.

I loved Anthony Wilson’s shirt. It was a nod, he said, to the fact that he’s worn eyeglasses almost his entire life.

We kidded Tyler about his haircut from a new barber. We said it was “a reverse Mohawk” because it was longer in the front and short — very short — in the back!

To keep track of when the fireworks would start, we watched WBIR’s live broadcast of the Knoxville Symphony’s free Lawson Family Independence Day Concert at World’s Fair Park. We were waiting for the “1812 Overture” to signal the launch of the explosives.

Love, love love vocalist Evelyn Jack!

It’s fun seeing people you know on TV! Here’s Elizabeth Farr of the KSO.

Anthony and Tyler patiently waiting.

And then . . .

They were awesome!

Thanks to our final hosts — and goodnight!

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8 Responses to A Knox 4th of July: food, fun, friends, and fireworks

  1. Wayne Christensen, on July 8th, 2024 at 12:33 pm said:

    One of the things I like the most about Bluestreak is the current photos of some of my old Knoxville friends, such as Howard Vogel. A big “thank you” to you Cynthia!

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on July 8th, 2024 at 12:40 pm said:

    Wayne: Hello to you all way out west! Thanks for reading. We are continuing to party here in K-Town!

  3. Bill Horton, on July 8th, 2024 at 3:05 pm said:

    What a wonderful way to spend the Fourth of July. The picture of you in front of the beautiful home is fantastic! Your attire is perfect for the occasion.

  4. Gay Lyons, on July 8th, 2024 at 4:24 pm said:

    It was a fabulous, festive 4th with friends! What could be better?

  5. Cynthia Moxley, on July 8th, 2024 at 4:28 pm said:

    Bill: I am kind of shy about getting my picture made. But I agreed this time because of the occasion! It sure was a fun day – despite the crazy hot weather! Thanks for reading!

  6. Cynthia Moxley, on July 8th, 2024 at 4:31 pm said:

    Gay: Agree 100 percent! Thanks for having everyone over. It was a perfect end to the evening!

  7. Diana Salesky, on July 9th, 2024 at 1:27 pm said:

    Your wonderful blog answers the age-old question: Why do we kill ourselves making fancy desserts when a good ole’ ice cream sandwich or Nutty Buddy will do?

  8. Cynthia Moxley, on July 9th, 2024 at 2:45 pm said:

    Diana: Haha! Well, in our case, we were lucky enough to have both! Plus, those classic goodies are getting smaller!

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