How to 'discover something new' at Chattanooga's Mainx24 festival, parade

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Welsh Corgis appear to be in pursuit of a dinosaur. The 15th annual Mainx24 EPB Southside Parade and street festival took place on Dec. 4, 2021.

Mainx24 has become Chattanooga's largest neighborhood party because of its scale, duration, variety and level of fun. It has also become a good place for doing some Christmas shopping, trying something new and for supporting local artists, nonprofit organizations and merchants.

"Some businesses make about 10% of their annual profit during Mainx24," planning committee member Kelly Allen said by phone.

"It's also an awesome time to discover something new, whether a pop-up or a brick-and-mortar store or a nonprofit (organization). We just encourage people to try something new."

It's such a popular event, some merchants who don't own businesses in the immediate area find ways to be involved. Jason Bowers owns Bitter Alibi on Houston Street, The Daily Ration on Dartmouth Street and Clever Alehouse on Dayton Boulevard and came up with the idea of collaborating with Basecamp owners Jacob Mundy and Brett Allen for an all-day pop-up event at their new place, the Outpost, on Main Street.

Ben Sutton from Albatross Golf Sim & Bar in North Chattanooga will set up one of his simulators in the space, while representatives from all of the restaurants will take turns making meals in the Clever food truck parked out back.

"We'll be serving cocktails and bloody marys all day, too," Bowers said.

(READ MORE: BlueCross Bowl, Watergate journalist in weekend entertainment mix)

Begun in 2007, Mainx24 was designed to show off the growing and changing neighborhoods along Main Street in the part of town known as the Southside. It's a mission that continues today as an event staged and put on by the area's restaurants and shop owners.

In addition to just being a good hang, it's an event that offers everything from adult Big Wheel races to a chili cook-off, to a parade, to poetry readings. There is also live music, food, shopping and surprises. There are things for the children and things just for adults.

In all, there are more than 120 events planned from 7 a.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday, when Barrelhouse Ballroom wraps things up with Midnight Disco with DJ Mystery Box. The pancake breakfast returns after a hiatus because of COVID-19 and kicks things off again this year at 8 a.m. Saturday at Firehall No. 1, 218 E. Main St. Proceeds go to the Forgotten Child Fund. In addition to purchasing the meal, patrons can donate new coats or toys to adults and children in need as well.

You can see the full schedule at mainx24.com.

  photo  Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Playful Evolving Monster's the Green Man and the Water Goddess delighted the crowd along Main Street. The 15th annual Mainx24 EPB Southside Parade and street festival took place on Dec. 4, 2021.
 
 

Allen said even though last year's event dealt with the pandemic and some weird weather, it was the best attended of the prior 15.

One of the highlights is the EPB Southside Parade on Main Street, starting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. It will start at the corner of Main and Jefferson streets and travel west on Main Street to Broad Street.

Event organizer Monica Kinsey said by phone earlier this week that a record 98 people had already registered to participate in the parade.

"That's just the ones who register," she said.

The World Heavyweight Chili Championship hosted by green|spaces is 11:30 a.m. Saturday at 326 E. Main St.

The adult Big Wheel race takes place at noon and benefits SoundCorps, the local nonprofit organization that benefits live music and musicians. It's in a new location in the parking lot of Architectural Surfaces, and the SoundCorps stage will have live music from noon to 6 p.m.

Hi-Fi Clyde's will host an all-day block party from noon to 2 a.m. with family-friendly live music until 7 p.m.

WanderLinger Brewing Co. will host Scottish Highlands-inspired beer games from 2-5 p.m. Patrons can participate in a keg toss, beer stein hold, sack race and a 1-mile beer run with a $100 prize for the winner.

Fountainhead Taproom will have live music from the Tim Hughes Jazz Quartet from 5-7 p.m., The Comedy Catch at the Chattanooga Choo Choo will host an all-ages comedy show with Mitzie from 5-6:30 p.m.

  photo  Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Three young girls ride a evergreen decorated car in the parade. The 15th annual Mainx24 EPB Southside Parade and street festival took place on Dec. 4, 2021.
 
 

MORE COMMUNITY EVENTS

ATV PARADE -- Chattanooga Valley Lions Club, 265 South Ave., Flintstone, Ga. Benefit for Al Millard Stocking Full of Love with prize to best-decorated four-wheeler, 3 p.m. Saturday. Toy and cash donations requested. walkercountystockingfulloflove.org

CHATTANOOGA HOLIDAY MARKET -- Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza. Chattanooga Market's indoor gift festival, with live music and other entertainment, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (and Dec. 10-11, 17-18. Free admission. chattanoogamarket.com

CHRISTMAS ARTS & CRAFT MARKET -- The Farm at Fiery Gizzard, 687 Dutchtown Road, Tracy City, Tenn. More than 75 vendors, baked goods, hot cocoa bar, drawings for designer Christmas tree and use of venue, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. CST Saturday. 931-409-4357

CHRISTMAS MARKET -- Grit & Grace Market, 445 Church St. SE, Cleveland, Tenn. Eighty vendors and food trucks on Old Woolen Mill grounds next door, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. facebook.com/gritandgracemarket

HOLIDAY GIFTS MARKET -- Ooltewah Farmers Market at Ooltewah Nursery, 5829 Main St. Handmade arts and crafts, fresh and prepared foods, 3-5 p.m. Thursday (and Dec. 8, 15, 22). ooltewahnursery.com

HOLIDAY ON HAMILL -- The Ministry Center, 2929 Hamill Road. Market with more than 100 vendors and food trucks, free photos with Santa, trackless train rides, pony rides, face painting, music, ax throwing, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, rain or shine. facebook.com/holidayonhamill

LAFAYETTE CHRISTMAS PARADE -- Main Street from Ace Hardware, 512 S. Main St., to the town square and ending at Margaret Street, LaFayette, Ga. More than 75 vehicles and judged floats with the theme "A Picture Perfect Christmas," 6 p.m. Friday. After the parade, free photos with Santa at Joe Stock Memorial Park, 208-B N. Main St. mycityoflafayettega.org

LAKESITE CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING -- Lakesite City Park, 9301 Thrasher Trail. Craft tables to make ornaments for the tree, popcorn stringing contest, caroling, storytelling, photos with Santa, seasonal desserts and other refreshments, 5:30 p.m. Saturday. 423-842-2533

MAINSTREET CLEVELAND CHRISTMAS PARADE -- From Bradley County High School, 1000 S. Lee Highway, north on Highway 11, east on Third Street, north on Ocoee Street, around the monument south on Broad Street, west on Inman Street, south on Highway 11 and back to the school. Lighted floats and other vehicles, plus horses, 6 p.m. Saturday. mainstreetcleveland.com

MISTLETOE MARKET -- Creative Arts Guild, 520 W. Waugh St., Dalton, Ga. Local artists and makers selling handcrafted jewelry, decor and other goods, noon-7:30 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, plus Brookwood Elementary School's Christkindl Market (Saturday only). creativeartsguild.org

RED BANK CHRISTMAS PARADE & FESTIVAL -- Red Bank City Park, 3817 Redding Road (festival); and Dayton Boulevard from East Leawood Avenue to Unaka Street (parade). Festival with 40-plus vendors, food trucks, beer garden, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus (after the parade), bonfire to close, 4-8 p.m. Friday. Parade at 7 p.m. redbanktn.gov

SANTA'S HOLIDAY MARKET -- Mountain Heights Venue, 1298 Hendon Road, Soddy-Daisy. More than 20 craft vendors and food trucks, photos with Santa, raffle to win use of venue, 1-6 p.m. Sunday. mountainheightsvenue.com

SODDY-DAISY CHRISTMAS PARADE -- On Dayton Pike from Harrison Lane to Sequoyah Access Road. Judged floats, marching bands, dancers, decorated vehicles and Santa Claus, 2 p.m. Sunday. 423-718-1735

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354. Follow him on Twitter @BarryJC.