• What: Park(ing) Day.
• When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today (downtown, Southside); 11 a.m.-7 p.m. today (Frazier Avenue).
• Where: Thirty locations downtown, on the Southside and on Frazier Avenue.
• Admission: Free.
• Website: parkingday.org.
Don't look now, but a festival just popped up next to your car.
That's what might happen if you're downtown today in the midst of the city's fifth annual Park(ing) Day.
The international event, according to local organizers, challenges people to rethink the way streets are used and reinforces the need for broad changes to urban infrastructure.
In the place of several parking spaces downtown, on the Southside and on the North Shore, performers will sing, food will be sampled, books will be read and pets will be adopted.
Site hours downtown and on the Southside will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours on Frazier Avenue will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Locally, said coordinator Buddy Shirk, "We want to bring awareness to the need for more public open areas."
He said the mini-festival sites, or parks, have grown from fewer than 20 in 2011 to nearly 30 this year, plus pop-up vendors. Sites have been added along M.L. King Boulevard, Rossville Avenue, Cherry Street and Chestnut Street.
The event was invented in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio.
Shirk said there is no charge for businesses or organizations to be a part of Park(ing) Day. The city has agreed to bag the meters downtown and on the Southside, and CARTA has consented to code off the parking spaces it regulates on Frazier Avenue.
Since international rules prohibit items from being sold in the spaces, he said, it's attractive for area businesses on the perimeter.
People who visit the spaces, Shirk said, "may wander in the business and purchase something. Merchants need to see it as a benefit and not a deterrent."
Among the activities in the spaces, he said, T-Ran Gilbert, a former Chattanooga Christian artist who now lives in Los Angeles, will perform on Market Street in front of Waterhouse Pavilion; volunteers at the Read 20 bookmobile will read to children and give away books at Folk School of Chattanooga, 1800 Rossville Ave.; McKamey Animal Shelter will offer pets for adoption at the fire station on East Main Street at Rossville Avenue; DeBarge Winery will offer a free wine tasting in front of their business at 1617 Rossville Ave.; and Cooking Live will offer food samples and recipes in front of CWC Office Furniture, 631 Broad St.
On the North Shore, Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga will host a performance park in front of Winder Binder Gallery & Bookstore, 40 Frazier Ave. Winners will receive prepaid gift cards.
Contact Clint Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.
Park(ing) Day Sites
• 1617 Rossville Ave.: DeBarge Winery wine tasting.
• 1800 Rossville Ave. (in front of Folk School of Chattanooga): Read 20 bookmobile.
• 218 E. Main Street (fire hall): Firehouse Subs with fire hats for children, fire engine cherry picker demonstrations.
• 218 E. Main Street (fire hall): McKamey Animal Center pet adoptions.
• Main Street (at corner of Market Street): Mountain Music.
• 215 E. Main St. (Niedlov's Breadworks): 35.85 Guild art park.
• 61 E. Main St. (in front of Area 61): Chattanooga Parks & Recreation games park.
• 55 E. Main St.: Co.Lab.
• West Main Street (a block south of the corner with Market Street): Chattanooga Zoo (2-5 p.m.).
• 200 E. M.L. King Boulevard (in front of Bessie Smith Cultural Center): Bessie Smith Foundation and Chattanooga Music Council.
• M.L. King Boulevard (between Broad and Market streets): Lon Eldridge-BeardNooga.
• M.L. King Boulevard (at 827 Broad, Porter's Steakhouse): Robin Burk on the pan hand drums.
• 1270 Market St.: Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga ice cream giveaway.
• Market Street (at corner of M.L. King Boulevard): Dr. Jean Howard-Hill's Lady J's Giveaway.
• 850 Market St. (in front of Waterhouse Pavilion): T-Ran Gilbert/22Visionz.
• Market Street (across from Waterhouse Pavilion): Blood Assurance bloodmobile on hand for donations.
• 417 Market St. (near Jack's Alley/Panera Bread): Chattanooga Songwriters Association (11 a.m.-2 p.m.).
• 631 Broad St. (CWC Office Furniture): Cooking Live food samples, recipes.
• Broad Street (adjacent to CWC Office Furniture): Hunter Museum of American Art.
• 701 Broad St. (in front of Chattanooga Symphony & Opera office): Charcoal sketching by Alex Loza.
• 709 Broad St. (Tivoli Theatre): Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Youth Orchestra (11 a.m.-2 p.m.).
• Broad Street (next to the Tivoli Theatre): Kate with Art 120 Art Car & Bikes.
• 810 Broad St.: Eclipse Spa & Salon.
• 811 Broad Street (in front of Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce): Scenic City Dance Center.
• 714 Cherry St. (office of architect David Barlew): Beach-themed park.
• 40 Frazier Ave. (in front of Winder Binder Gallery & Bookstore): Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga performance park.
Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...