published Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Nonstop action highlights MAINx24

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    Staff Photo by Laura-Chase McGehee/Chattanooga Times Free Press Dec 4, 2010 - Judah Holly, 7, tests out her Hula-hooping skills with Chattahoopers, a troop participating in the MAINx24 busking competition.

Despite cold, breezy weather and some early rain, many came out Saturday to the MAINx24 festival on Main Street.

The event started at 8 a.m. Saturday with games for children and was to end early this morning with music and breakfast.

Long before the music stopped Saturday, 2-year-old Cash Christianson, of Chattanooga, had all the fun he could take. At 3 p.m. he snoozed in a chair outside the Area 61 gallery while passers-by paused to admire his restfulness.

Cash's dad, Chris Christianson, herding 4-year-old Carter and 6-year-old Everett, said this was his first time to the Main Street event, but it wouldn't be his last.

"This has been a whole lot of fun," Christianson said. "I wanted to do something with the kids, and this has been really family friendly."

He said they started their day with pancakes at Fire Hall No. 1 and have been on Main Street all day.

"The plan was to wear them out," Christianson said as he looked down at a sleeping Cash. "It worked."

Performers set up around Main Street for the busking competition sponsored by the Folk School of Chattanooga.

Busking is performing in public places for money. People got to vote for the best performance, and winners took home cash prizes. Guitar pickers, bagpipers and flautists along with visual artists such as a living statue performer and a hula-hoop group were spaced along Main Street.

Christine Burns, co-director of the Folk School, said this is the second year for the busking competition.

"We had a good time last year," Burns said. "I never expected to see so many come out to perform this year."

With nearly a dozen solo acts and performing groups, the competition was fierce.

At the corner of Main Street and Rossville Avenue, the Jack Pine Savages performed.

Gill Sewell sawed on a fiddle while his bandmates strummed out bluegrass and country favorites.

"We've stirred up a pretty good bit of commotion," Sewell said during a break from playing. The music had the crowd dancing, and one group of girls sang with the band, he said.

He hoped to win the competition, but added, "We're having a good time."

Down the street a few blocks, festival attendees sampled chili from the World Heavyweight Chili Championship while listening to live music at the OCI Office Coordinators Inc. parking lot.

Matthew Adams and Harry Hartman, who both live nearby on Jefferson Street, sampled several chilis.

"There are a lot of interesting flavors," Adams said. "I've definitely gotten my fill."

Hartman said MAINx24 was a great event for the community and draws attention to the Main Street businesses.

"It's local and a neighborhood thing," he said. "This is a great way to get people out (to Main Street)."

See pictures from the event.

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