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Concord Presbyterian Church hosts Concord block party

Concord Presbyterian Church in old Concord celebrated its inaugural community-wide fall festival Saturday, Oct. 16.

Kelly Negus, who has been pastor of the church located at the corner of Clay Road and Second Drive for six years, said the festival is a “celebration of the people and the community.”

“We have games for the kids, baked goods, music and arts and crafts,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get together and enjoy the day and each other.”

Negus is originally from upstate New York. He and his wife Lisa have three sons, Gaelen and Gabriel, who are four-year-old twins and Graeme, who is two. All of the boys were dressed in matching striped polo shirts and jeans.

Negus said he and his family have been very happy at Concord Presbyterian.

“We looked all over the southeast for a church that would be right for us,” he said. “Concord Presbyterian was the most fun, so we moved here.”

The festival activities were scattered among the streets of old Concord and folks of all ages enjoyed the fellowship and fun. Antique cars were parked at the entrance to the festival and hand-made quilts were on display in the sanctuary.

David Bianconi brought his “hobby blacksmith” materials and gave demonstrations while fashioning curtain rods for his home.

Nineteen-year-old Stephanie Johnson was helping with the “Bozo Buckets” game in the children’s activity area. She is a member of the church and said she was enjoying watching the children play and helping her church.

Farragut resident Dianne Hafer brought her dog L.B. and her ’66 teal-colored Mustang convertible to the festival.

“I am the original owner of this car and I like to take it out whenever I can,” she said.

Bob Switzer, who was accompanied by his dogs, Bonnie and Kuma, said he is the owner of what used to be the general store in Concord. A barber shop and theater were next to general store.

“The general store was built in 1890 and closed to the public in the ’50’s,” he said.

The building now houses a research laboratory.

The Village of Concord was added to the list of Historic Districts in Knox County in 1987. Set on the banks of Fort Loudoun Lake, the community encompasses 400 acres and approximately 50 buildings.

Concord Presbyterian Church was built in 1798 and is one of three churches in the community.

Negus said the demographics in the community have changed considerably since he and his family arrived.

“We have about 117 active members in the church and when we first came here 50 percent of our members were over 50 years of age,” he said. “Now we have 13 three-year-olds in the preschool program.”

He also said many young families wait patiently for homes in the Concord community to go on the market. He and his family currently live on the outskirts of the community and they too are hoping to purchase a home in Old Concord.

Farragut residents Alicia and Dave Galbraith brought their ’72 MG to the festival. Dave is the original owner of the car that has only 43,000 miles on it. He said he has fond memories of Old Concord and spoke of the original telephone company located at Turkey Creek and Concord Roads and how telephone service has changed throughout the years.

“I remember having an eight-party phone line in our home,” he said. “When someone in your party got a phone call, everyone’s phone rang. It was kind of like not having a phone at all. You could never use it. Someone was always on it.”

Negus said when all of the expenses incurred from the festival have been paid; the remaining money will be allocated to various organizations in need.

“Anything that we recoup will go to humanitarian causes close to home and around the country,” he said.

The community of Concord has a homeowner’s association called the Old Concord Residents Association that meets at the church on a monthly basis. Negus said the association does a good job of keeping residents informed as well as organizing functions such as the festival to continue the sense of community in Historic Old Concord.

Negus said the approximately 600 people that attended the festival exceeded his expectations.

“We will have a special session this week to decide where the money will be allocated,” he said.

He said the festival was a lot of fun and a huge success for their ‘little community church.’


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