A handful of local vendors filled the Yacht Club parking lot Friday during the inaugural Summer Days event hosted by the Tellico Village Property Owners Association.
From 11 a.m.-2 p.m., residents could learn more about boating safety from the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, as well as browse campers and RVs presented by the Tellico Roadrunners RV Club.
Other vendors included River Sports, Volunteer Storage, Tic-Toc Ice Cream Parlor, Buddy Gregg RV and Motor Homes and Chilhowee RV Center.
“The first two years were called Lake Days, and we mostly focused on boats, but this year I wanted to (showcase) other summer activities,” Lisa McCray, POA program director, said. “The gist of it is just to connect Villagers with other businesses because most of our Villagers aren’t from this area, so when they move here, they don’t know where to go. If we can bring some samples and some vendors to them at no cost, it’s just a win-win for everybody. It’s a free event, and it connects people.”
This year was a first for the Tellico Roadrunners RV Club, which showcased RVs in hopes of bringing in more members.
The club usually meets at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Yacht Club.
“It’s an event just to show what type of recreational things there are to do around the Village,” Doug Peterson, Roadrunners president, said. “This is the first time we’ve actually taken part, and we’re just trying to get our visibility up in the Village to let people know who we are and what we do. We try to have a rally each month to where we try to go to a place that interests a variety of members of the club. For instance, we just came back last night at 11 p.m. from an RV rally to Washington, D.C. It’s just people with a common interest in RVing.”
Members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary were also in attendance to provide information on boating safety.
“We go through vessel checks, and we go through all the different docks,” Thomas Jumer, U.S. Coast Guard Flotilla 12-2 commander, said. “We’ll go through making sure the horn works and everything the state requires. This is one of the most important things we can do for the community — making sure the vessels are safe.”
A large portion of residents take advantage of Tellico and Fort Loudoun lakes during summer months.
With an influx of boaters, kayakers and paddleboarders, Jumer emphasized the need for Villagers to attend a variety of boating classes.
“Now in Command is a woman-only class and is taught by a woman auxiliarist,” Jumer said. “Most of the time, guys are driving the boats. Well, what happens when the husband gets sick or something happens or falls overboard? What do you do? It’s a basic boating class that’s about using the radio or use the cellphone. It helps you understand what to do with the mile markers out here on the river and be sure to get a mile marker.”
The Coast Guard will hold its largest class of the year Sept. 17 and 19 at the Yacht Club to detail safety measures while boating.
“This is a two-day class, which is about boating safety that goes into everything,” Jumer said. “That goes into fueling your boat, you know, making sure that you don’t use plastic gas cans because it can cause a spark. It’s closing all your hatches before fueling up, properly setting your fenders on your boat, checking when you start your upward motor or your inboard-outboard motor.
“... We customize it for our rivers here knowing that the Little Tennessee River flows the opposite direction,” he added. “The problem is when you read these books and they’re saying, ‘Red, right, return.’ Normally, you think you’re returning this way, but you’re actually on the wrong side of the channel. Pretty much what you can imagine, we cover.”
McCray said plans are already in the works to make next year’s Summer Days even larger.
“We just want to grow it a little bigger next year,” she said. “We want to bring in some more vendors, including motorcycles and golf carts. Originally, it was supposed to be two weeks ago, but it was raining sideways, so some of the people we had planned were open then. We just want to continue to grow it and help the Villagers find what they’re looking for.”