By Brad Hicks

This Saturday’s installment of the RISE & Shine series of summer events will feature a little rock and stroll.

The event will begin at 10 a.m. on July 1 at the pool at Rock Creek Park. East TN Rocks will have a tent set up near the pool, and attendees will have the opportunity to show off their artistic touches by painting rocks provided by East TN Rocks.

Members of the East TN Rocks group decorate rocks with ornate designs and bright colors, then place the rocks in different spots throughout the community for citizens to find. Those finding one of the rocks are then supposed to hide the stone in a different location for others to find.

Kristin Anders with RISE Erwin said there are similar rock painting groups throughout the country.

“It is a national phenomenon,” she said. “…It’s just something fun for families to do. It’s geocaching on a much simpler level. Without clues or anything, you’re just always on the lookout for painted rocks.”

Anders said participants in this Saturday’s evening will not be required to bring their own rocks or paint, as supplies will be provided by East TN Rocks.

“All they have to do is show up to paint,” Anders said.

Anders added the East TN Rocks tent set up during the Erwin Great Outdoors Festival was a popular spot for both young and old.

“We had them in the Kids’ Zone, but there were as many adults there painting rocks as kids,” Anders said. “They encourage all ages to come out and paint them.”

Attendees of this Saturday’s RISE & Shine event will also have the chance to participate in a family guided tour starting at the Rock Creek pool at 10 a.m. Anders said attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic and explore all the things to do at Rock Creek Park.

The RISE & Shine events, which are free to attend, kicked off Saturday, June 10, with a free YMCA day at the Unicoi County Family YMCA, which was followed the next Saturday by a volunteer day at Rocky Fork State Park. This past Saturday’s event featured a free bicycle safety check and bicycle safety training conducted by the Erwin Police Department.

Other RISE & Shine events planned for the month of July include a “Touch a Truck” event on July 8 at the Unicoi County Courthouse that will allow attendees to get an up-close look at vehicles used by the military, emergency responders and in agriculture. Other July events will include a book exchange at the Unicoi County Public Library and skating demonstrations at the adjacent skate park, a volunteer day at the Unicoi County Animal Shelter and a fishing day at Erwin’s Fishery Park.