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Erwin holds Elephant Revival Festival to honor Mary the elephant

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UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. - The Town of Erwin is trying to turn a dark day in their history into something positive.

It's been 100 years since Mary the elephant was hanged in Erwin after she killed her circus trainer. Over the past week, they have held their first ever Elephant Revival Festival to remember her.

The festival events included a play by Unicoi High School about what happened to Mary, an antique car show, and a scavenger hunt. Tonight was the low country boil dinner.

Organizers say this festival is going to help heal some of the town's painful history...while also helping other elephants.

"You can go anywhere around pretty much the US and it seems like someone says Erwin, oh that's the town that hung the elephant," said Rylie Scott, one of the organizers. "So we are just trying to really give back and turn this whole negative perspective into something positive, and now we have this huge opportunity with The Elephant Sanctuary."

All the proceeds of the festival are going to the elephant sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee.

"It takes a lot of infrastructure to create a 2,700 acre area for these very, very big intelligent animals," said Todd Montgomery, from The Elephant Sanctuary. "So what this money will do, it will help us provide these animals with the care that we think they deserve."

The festival has raised over two thousand dollars and they expect to raise more over the weekend. Tomorrow is the last day, with a celebration downtown and a glow-in-the-dark parade. The town is hoping to make the festival an annual event to commemorate Mary for years to come.

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