Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Discovery Park

Like most people in Nashville, The WannaBeatles had never heard of Union City, Tennessee. But thanks to the industrious efforts of our resident genius Dennis, we had a gig there August 6. 

That morning, we loaded our trailer and headed west on I-40, turning north to go through Martin. It was another half hour before we discovered a fantastic place called Discovery Park. 

We were impressed with the sign as we entered.
The fancy sign at Discovery Park
Our name in lights...

Discovery Park is an elaborate tourist destination containing educational displays, historic buildings, dinosaur bones, full-scale aircraft, restaurants, and other activities, all centered around a space age architectural marvel that reminded us of the Wizard of Oz.
Welcome to the Land of Oz

We drove around to a tent covered outdoor stage, where a friendly crew introduced themselves and helped us carry our gear to the stage.

This was another outdoor summer gig where rain clouds entered into the equation. It was sunny when we arrived, and set up went like a normal gig.
Unloading the trailer
Dennis and guys sound check
Moving the drum riser: putting some muscle into it
Setting up amps onstage

In the distance we could see a rain cloud heading our way. It ended up hitting us around 5 pm. As it approached, we put tarps over all our gear, then took golf carts to the central building where we had dressing rooms and dinner waiting.
Dennis and Nathan cover keyboard
Pulling the tarp over the drums
Speakers under tarps
Leaving a wet stage
Here comes the rain

On the golf cart ride back and forth between the stage and the magic castle, we saw other features of the park. 
Riding in the golf cart

Passing the log cabins, demonstrating life in the 1800's

Plane on display

Approaching the magic castle, 
also known as Discovery Center
Nathan and David in motion
Dennis during ride, featuring a rare glimpse of his forehead

We learned that a local businessman, Robert Kirkland, had donated the 50 acres and $80 million to create Discovery Park, fulfilling his vision of inspiring and educating children and adults, along with putting Obion County on the map, so to speak. Discovery Park, located along the still being constructed I-69, has attracted a million visitors in its first three years of existence.

Once inside the magic castle, we discovered a multi-story atrium with full scale dinosaur skeletons. 
Dinosaur bones in lobby
More dinosaur bones
Another view of dinosaur

We were served a nice supper by some nice folks at the center, and changed into our stage clothes. Then we took the golf cart back to the stage. 

There was rainwater to remove from the stage. Our sound crew used window washing tools to scrape it off.
Sweeping water off stage
More sweeping water
Sweeping water once more

The rain had come and gone, and a crowd began to show up, bringing their own folding chairs.
Dennis onstage with view of crowd
Dennis and assistant at merch table display

There was still time before the show for a walk around the grounds. 
Just a hint of rainbow
Life-size poster for our show

The staff of Discovery Park helped warm up the crowd with announcements, and by shooting tee shirts into the crowd with an air powered howitzer made from a large plastic cylinder.
Preparing to launch a tee shirt
Shooting another tee shirt into the crowd

This creative use of a plastic cannon reminded us of the verse about beating swords into plowshares.

We had a great time playing for the crowd, and discovering Discovery Park. 
The Land of Oz after the rain

One final gesture of the evening was our signing a barbecue pit with permanent silver markers. It's normal for us to sign CDs and other souvenirs at the end of each show, but this was the first time we had signed a huge metal drum.
Signing the barbecue pit

So one Saturday afternoon, we discovered Discovery Park. We were impressed with what it is, and the people who run it.  We were blessed by the experience. 

We returned to Nashville a little wiser and happier than we were when we woke up that day.

Bloggin’ Bryan 18october2016

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