Mainx24 in Chattanooga's Southside: Tips to fully embrace the 'surprising and weird'

Staff file photo / Kaitlyn Hampton with the Chattanooga Fire Cabaret swallows a flaming baton during the Mainx24 festival on Main Street on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Mainx24 planning committee chair Monica Kinsey has some pretty simple advice for anyone planning to attend this weekend's 24-hour extravaganza, jam-packed with 130 events.

"Don't beat yourself up trying to do everything," she said.

"You're going to miss parts of things because there is so much, but you are also going to run into friends who change your mind and talk you into seeing something else. It's all about having a good time and being open to change."

It's also about embracing the "surprising and weird," she said.

The wide variety of events and activities includes a Mutt Strutt, a parade, adult Big Wheel races, a chili cookoff, lots of food and music and something called a Chromesthesia featuring musician Josh Green. The online schedule describes Green's event, which will take place in a warehouse on Cowart Street, as a "sensorial, psychedelic drumming light show, rounded out with the kaleidoscopic folk lullabies of Joel Harris and the exquisite ambient synthscapes of Luke Pigott, all framed against the grandiloquent HUMANAUT psych wall."

"It's like a 1 a.m. rave, but it's at 1 in the afternoon" on Saturday, Kinsey said. "And it's free."

photo Staff file photo / A man throws coozies from the back of a vehicle in the parade during the Mainx24 festival on Main Street on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The annual 24-hour neighborhood festival celebrates Main Street and included a pancake breakfast at the fire station, music, arts, and caroling.

Mainx24 was originally created in 2006 as a way to show off the cool things happening around the city's emerging Southside area and to let people know Chattanooga was becoming a 24-hour city like some other big cities. That 24-hour thing hasn't exactly come to fruition for the city or the event, but Wanderlinger Brewing Co. co-owners Chris and Mike Dial are doing their part this year to change that.

"My brother has always enjoyed celebrating this event, and he said, 'Nobody does the whole thing, so we should.' We might rethink it next year," Chris Dial said on Wednesday with a laugh.

The restaurant/bar/arts venue will be open from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m Sunday, and in addition to offering its usual assortment of food, college football TV during the day and live entertainment at night, it will introduce three new craft beers as part of its anniversary celebration.

The Taproom inside is family-friendly until 9 p.m.

Courtney Holder, Ben Herrmann and Danimal & Friends will perform from 7 p.m. to midnight and then the Neon Masquerade gets underway with DJs Guest Haus, Dorian, Mystery Box, Sphynxx, Thunderous Bandit and Shapes Crew providing the entertainment.

If you go

There are 130 events or more on the schedule at, so don’t try to do them all. Everything starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, and ends at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4.

And, in compliance with local liquor laws, they will quit selling alcohol at 2:30 a.m. and offer a variety of "recovery drinks" such as Red Bull, mocktails and Power Aid for patrons to imbibe while dancing or listening to music.

A breakfast menu will also be offered starting at 7 a.m. Sunday. Dial said his staff is all-in on making the extra hours work.

"We are kind of a family-type business, so they've said, 'What do you need?' Our sales guy is even doing bar shift Saturday afternoon to help make it work."

Just about every business on Main Street or within a couple of blocks will have something going on. Exile Off Main Street on Rossville Avenue is hosting what it is calling The Sleestack. Nashville-based music producer Harrison Homes will be spinning vinyl records all morning, and the street will host an international market, as well.

Market South will have a brewers festival featuring locally made beers in its parking lot, and Wildflower Tea Shop & Apothecary will offer a variety of teas during the afternoon.

Kinsey said there is a committee of four people who do a lot of the planning and heavy lifting for the event and that hundreds of people like the Dials make it happen.

"We have people who don't own a building or business around Main Street but who want to hold an event," she said. "We find an empty space and match them up and we match up musicians with events."

Among the new things this year will be a stage in the parking lot between Station Street, which will be closed to vehicle traffic, and the Flying Squirrel. The adult Big Wheel races will be held there, as will live music from 3-9 p.m. and a pop-up market with 30 vendors.

If you wanted to pick a spot and hang out for several hours, Kinsey said that might be the area, but she also recommends exploring the entire district and not being afraid to walk into a place that is unfamiliar to you.

"That's the idea. And, you can spend no money or as much as you want during the event," she said. "Just have a good time."

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.