Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Tansi Smoke Signals

June 25, 2014

Lake Tansi celebrates Memorial Day in a big way

CROSSVILLE — Memorial Day is a time to reflect upon those of our fallen troops who gave their lives to preserve America’s values and freedoms. To those soldiers and their families we give our greatest admirations and deepest appreciation. Knowing what Memorial Day is about gives reason to pause, to pray and to share in those hard won freedoms with family and friends.

Lake Tansi celebrated Memorial Day by inviting the community to partake of the pancake breakfast, come to the craft fair, enjoy the beach, paddleboat, peruse the car show, and listen to live music.

The pancake breakfast took place at Lake Tansi Community Church to benefit the Cumberland County High School track team. Military veterans ate for free as thanks for their service. The Men’s Group holds a pancake breakfast every first Saturday of the month for mission outreach and fellowship.

“We appreciate the people of Tansi and the men who have been so faithful and have come since we started the breakfast,” said Jeff Monday, Lake Tansi Community Church pastor. “Memorial Day is a day to pause and reflect. I love the saying ‘All gave some, but some gave all.’ I think that is the best way to describe Memorial Day.”

“I remember when it was Decoration Day and we used to go visit all the graves,” said Terry Mullins as he and Jeff Monday talked about later plans to visit and decorate the gravesites of some of their fallen.

Many vendors showed up for the craft show. Artists and artisans, crafters and creators brought their wares from as far as Alabama to set up shop at Lake Tansi’s Memorial Day Craft Show.

John E. Cole, sculpture and painter of Lazy Arts Studios, had his signature pieces of pottery, ceramics and bold, oversized paintings that make the ordinary nothing short of glamorous.

Seasons of Blessings crafters, Kathy and Jessica Obenberger, are a mother-daughter team that offers crocheted, knitted, quilted, and sewn items from baby booties to sweet, little sweaters. Jessica Obenberger learned at a craft show how to knit from a lady at a nearby table and subsequently taught her mom. She contributes to the crafts when she has time and handles the photography and their website on Etsy.

Leana Graves, of Grimy Girl Bath & Boutique in Dayton, TN, showed her bouquet of handmade soaps, bath bombs and hydrating mists. Her friend and business partner, Stacey Blevins, created their special line of Grimy Girl candles scented to match the soaps. Valerie Leasure, her daughter and granddaughter of Quilts by Tammy, are three generations of crochet artisans specializing in beautifully designed blankets and other sewn crafts.  

Jennifer Watts brought her coveted Jewels by Jenn pieces from necklace and earring sets to hair clips and bracelets. The Owl’s Nest, handcrafted goods by Roy and Laurie Vickers, showed imaginative little felt owls, crocheted figurines and handy wall-hangers. Ashley Elizabeth’s art graced the tents of the craft show with her showpieces of ethereal and cunning depictions of space and more. Julie Matthews takes orders for custom sewing projects and handmade jewelry. But her adorable pillowcase dresses, which are quite literally made from chic vintage pillowcases and embellished with ribbons, appliques and buttons, are an eye catcher. Suzann Griffith and her mother, Betty Castillo, brought along their Tennessee Made Quilts, specializing in machine quilted pieces and tops.

Roger Pearson hoisted his handmade windings and whirligigs. Roger’s Rigs and Rigamarole sales garden art in the form of wind catchers and water fountains all by Pearson’s imaginative design. Marla Ranae Designs brought personalized, embroidered and handmade women’s accessories, including an infallible design for lady’s scarves that were a big hit at the craft fair.

Bill Hargis created a line of unique, custom pens made from antlers and gun shells. Dave and Sherry Alloway of Dash Designz create therapeutic magnet jewelry. Dave Alloway, a proud Vietnam veteran, sported his veteran ballcap and urged, “Let all the veterans hang on together. We’re going to make it.”

Full Moon Crafts are Paul and Vicky Kennedy’s handiworks of fine wood turned and sewing crafts. It is just a hobby for them, but they enjoy the artistry and creativity that comes with crafting. Paul Kennedy is a member of the Cumberland Woodturners Association and invites anyone who is interested, no matter what skill level, to come to their meetings. He creates delicate, wood-turned bangles, bowls and platters, among other decorative items.  

Joyce Sapp is a novelty when it comes to recycling and repurposing items into creative wall art. She creates chip-carvings from scraps of wood and paints them, making them into beautiful art. She always tries to create some sort of Americana art, because like she explained, “My husband is a veteran and I always like to try to do something to commemorate that and make [veterans] feel better. I can always tell who is a veteran because when they walk by my paintings of American flags and airplanes, they always stop.”

Florabel Creations brought grandma style goodies including cookies, truffles and other delicacies. Also available at the craft show were sand art, homebrewed iced tea and Hawaiian Ice stands.

The Cruise-In brought in oldies but goodies in the form of fully restored “Texas Cadillac” Suburbans, ’57 Chevy’s, Mustangs, and many more.

Dick Campbell showed his 1965 fastback Mustang at the Cruise-In. Campbell served in both the Navy and Army for a combined 10 years of service to American armed forces. Campbell said, “Make no mistake. Without veterans, I would not be standing here making this quote.”

Soulfissh played a two-hour set for the entertainment on the grounds while families and friends gathered to listen and others enjoyed the music from afar while enjoying other activities.

Lori and Jim Letourneau visited with their good friends, Gloria and Gene Keene, at the Lake Tansi Memorial Celebration. Sitting in the shade at a picnic table enjoying each other’s company, they reminisced. Gene Keene is a Vietnam veteran who served in the Army National Guard. Keene said, “Veterans need to be taken care of better than they are.”

Danny and Joanne Beard brought their sons, Luke and Tony, all the way from Wisconsin for family time on the lake. They happened upon Lake Tansi searching the internet for a house to rent on a lake and it was their first time visiting Lake Tansi. Driving 12 hours to get here, Joanne Beard, who served in the Army National Guard for seven years, said, “It is really nice here and we have enjoyed it so much.” 

“It has been a nice way to spend the holiday, have some family time and enjoy nature,” said Danny Beard. Fourteen year old Luke Beard came in from a squirt gun fight with his brother on the beach, chimed in, “Beautiful. It is beautiful.”

Aside from serving food, the Quack Shack had begun its summer movie nights on the beach and planned to show “Blue Hawaii” at dusk.

As the eventful day wound down, the Memorial Day scene at Lake Tansi was just as it ought to have been. Children swinging in the playground, friends splashing each other in the lake, families gathering at picnic tables and sitting down to eat together; a few of the many freedoms bought by American soldiers who protected them.

Memorial Day Craft Fair Quick Reference Guide:

Seasons of Blessings, homemade knit and crocheted gifts by Kathy and Jessica Obenberger, (931) 787-2971,; Grimy Girl, bath and boutique, Leana Graves and Stacey Blevins, (423) 799-0027,; Arbonne consultant, Diane McClaran, (931) 607-3576,; Quilts By Tammy, crocheted blankets and sewn gifts, (615) 587-1702; Jewels by Jenn, custom jewelry by Jennifer Watts, (931) 787-0413,; Ashley Elizabeth art,; Julie Matthews, custom sewing projects, jewelry and clay, (931) 210-8923,; Roger’s Rigs and Rigamarole, copper garden art by Roger Pearson, (931) 788-5445,; Marla Ranae Designs, embroidery and women’s accessories by Marla Raye and Robbie Ranae, (865) 228-3122,; Bill Hargis custom gun shell and antler pens, (931) 484-7703,; Full Moon Crafts, woodturned and sewn gifts by Paul and Vicky Kennedy, (931) 788-2711,; Florabel Creations, grandma style goodies by Shelbie Dickinson, (865) 243-6404,; Joyce Sapp, repurposed artistry and paintings, (865) 466-1144, Cumberland Woodturners Association can be found at More information about Quack Shack events or movie nights on the beach contact owner Sheere Britt or Chuck Himelrick at (931) 337-0337.

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Tansi Smoke Signals
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