TN Valley Fair Sweetheart Contest | Cheryl and Roy

Last month, we were a part of the Tennessee Valley Fair Sweetheart Contest! Couples from across East Tennessee submitted their favorite memories with their sweetheart at the TN Valley Fair, and Cheryl and Roy won the contest!

This couple has an amazing fair story! As the winners of the contest, they received a photo shoot the opening night of the fair, and we had a ton of fun with them! Cheryl and Roy are a super-sweet couple who are totally in love and have been since they met at the fair 32 years ago…..but, I’ll let them tell their story.

Oh, and as a side note, the candied apples that Fairview United Methodist Church sells at the fair are absolutely THE best candied apples we have EVER had! We can’t wait for the fair next year so we can get another one!

Here is Cheryl and Roy’s love story:

My husband Roy and I met at the 1978 Fair.  I was selling candied apples for the Fairview United Methodist Church.  Roy was working in a cotton candy booth right across the way.  This was in the area near the tunnel, where the old Fair office used to be.  The cotton candy booth was directly under the big tree that still stands there.

tennessee-valley-fair-knoxvillehad been going over every day, all week, to buy cotton candy.  On Wednesday of that week, I made my usual run.  The young man working there looked quizzically at me, and said (are you ready for this?), “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”  No, it wasn’t just a line.  All week, the crowds had been large around his booth, and there were always several people behind and in front of me.  This time, it was just him and me, and he was sure he’d seen me before.  I pointed across the street, and told him I was working over there.  We started to talk, and I found out Roy was a local guy working the Fair, just like me.

Later that evening, he took a break.  Sitting on the stone wall around that tree, he caught my eye, lifted his coke cup, and cocked his head.  “Want some?”  and I nodded.  He came over and offered me a sip, then we talked some more.  When he started back to work, he said, “Do you want some more of this?”  I answered, “No, thanks.  I didn’t really want any to start with.  I just wanted you to come talk to me.”  He did a double-take, gave me a big grin, and went back across the street.

That evening, he asked if he could take me home.  The other church members, who were working in the booth with me, were scandalized.  “You can’t go with him!  He’s a carney!  You don’t know anything about him!” said my friend Nancy.  But I went, anyway.  Roy took me home, and we sat on my front porch and talked the entire night away.  My father, coming out at 5:00 am to get the paper, found us laughing in the porch swing. 

We continued to talk and visit during the rest of the week, and he continued to give me rides home.  My church friends were having a very hard time with this guy, and I couldn’t convince them that he was a nice, local gentleman.  But he took care of that himself.  The Fair ended on Saturday night, and on Sunday, Roy showed up for worship service at the Fairview Church.  He’s been there ever since.  (He and Nancy are good friends, now.)

We were married on September 5, 1980.  It was the first Friday of the Fair that year, and we spent Saturday at the Fair, wearing shirts that said “Just Married.”  We still celebrate our meeting and marriage every year by going to the Fair;  this year will mark our 32nd anniversary.  We always stop under that tree where everything started for a kiss, a photo, and a loving memory.

 Oh, and we’re still selling candied apples!  2012 marks the 60th year for this project!


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Hi! We're Joe and Kathleen, and we're a husband and wife photography team specializing in weddings and elopements for adventurous couples in the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, and East Tennessee.


Celebrate in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, by the river, on top of the mountains, or in a cozy cabin...wherever adventure takes you, our job is to take photos you'll love for years to come.

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