published Monday, June 30th, 2014

Get Off The Couch: Soccer, concerts among options for celebrating 4th

BARRY COURTER: Lisa, can you believe Christmas is almost here? I’m kidding, but it is stunning that the Fourth of July is Friday. And it’s become tradition to have a bunch of events for July Fourth Eve (I just made that up). The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera will present its annual Pops on the River concert Thursday at Coolidge Park, which means the Chattanooga Theatre Centre will be hosting its party next door as well.

For people who have not been, Pops on the River is one of the truly cool things our city has to offer. How often do you get to have a good old-fashioned picnic with a blanket, pickin’ food and great music in such a great venue?

LISA DENTON: And fireworks. Don’t forget the fireworks. The Dismembered Tennesseans will be the special guests for the evening, and Kayoko Dan will conduct.

The Chattanooga Lookouts will be winding up a home series against the Birmingham Barons that night, and there’ll be fireworks at nearby AT&T Field, too.

BARRY: Oh. I hope they don’t have a repeat of a couple of years ago when the Lookouts’ fireworks went off and the symphony crowd thought someone had messed up. I spoke to some folks to see if the two events had been coordinated in any way and was told there really isn’t a way to make that work. So essentially, folks downtown will get two fireworks shows. It’d be cool if the AT&T fireworks just happened to go off at the end of the CSO’s “1812 Overture.”

Pops will also feature a flyover this year, and I was asked to remind people that food, beer and wine will be sold on-site — oh, and that Coolidge Park does not allow dogs.

LISA: The competing fireworks shows are Chattanooga’s version of friendly fire, I guess. But it’s a little discombobulating to have fireworks go off at a time and from a direction you’re not expecting. That first bang startles me every time anyway.

Thursday is also the night for the annual 4th of July concert by the East Tennessee Symphony Orchestra at Veterans Memorial Park in Collegedale. The special guest for that show will be Jordan Otis, who is living in Redlands, Calif., while pursuing a master’s degree in vocal performance. She already has her Bachelor’s of Music Education from Southern Adventist University, so this will be a homecoming party of sorts for her.

BARRY: A lot of people will be off work Friday, celebrating with family and friends. If you are looking for something to do that evening, the Chattanooga Football Club will be taking on the appropriately named Rocket City United at 7:30 p.m. at Finley Stadium. For all those people who just discovered they like soccer because of the World Cup, this is a chance to watch it live.

LISA: And Nightfall is still on Friday at Miller Park. Headlining are The Slide Brothers, four guys who play a mix of blues, rock and soul on slide guitar.

And Soddy-Daisy and Signal Mountain will have their annual Fourth festivals Friday — Soddy-Daisy’s at Soddy Lake Park and Signal Mountain’s at Althaus Park. Both are all-day events ending with …

Fireworks. Don’t forget the fireworks.

Get event details every Thursday in ChattanoogaNow or online anytime at

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354. Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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