IF YOU GO
* What: MainX24: A 24-Hour Block Party.
* When: 7 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7-8 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 8.
* Where: Numerous locations on the Southside.
* Admission: Most events are free, but some require an admission or have meals/concessions for sale.
* Website: www.mainx24.com.
For a detailed list and interactive map of the 108 events that make up this year’s MainX24 festival, visit www.mainx24.com/events.
It might take its name from Main Street, but in the seven years since the inaugural MainX24, the all-day community festival has become a celebration of the entire Southside community, from Track 29 to First Tennessee Pavilion, Jefferson Heights to Central Avenue.
From ice skating and lard-fried doughnuts to aerial dancers and parades, the events that make up MainX24 are as numerous as they are varied. This year’s offerings run the gamut from stalwarts, such as the bike derby at Velo Coffee and EPB’s annual parade, to an inaugural pig roast at Enzo’s Market.
Some say they’re drawn to the festive atmosphere and the diversity of the events — a record 108 this year — rather than a single, marquee activity.
“I love the totally free-range, fun, generous and independent spirit of MainX24,” says Mary Barnett. “I like to feel that much creative energy in the air all at once in my city.”
Originally overseen by nonprofit initiative CreateHere, MainX24 now proudly touts its communal spirit as an event organized “completely by residents, merchants and friends of the Southside community,” according to a statement on the event’s website.
That sense of ownership of MainX24 by the community reflects what media representative Joda Thongnopnua says he hopes people take away from attending the festival.
“What’s next is seeing the possibilities of where it can go and to help lead Chattanooga in a specific direction in what we want our neighborhoods to look like,” he says. “That’s not to say that every neighborhood should look like the Southside, but Main Street really did define itself early on through things like MainX24 and local businesses being involved.
“Hopefully, it inspires other community to take charge of their own neighborhoods.”
Contact Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS
Look for more at www.chattanooganow.com
* EPB Southside Parade — 11 a.m.-noon from the corner of Rossville Avenue and Jefferson Street to CraftWorks at the corner of Main and Market streets. Crowds in the hundreds gather on sidewalks to watch a motorized and pedestrian cavalcade that, in the past, has included participants such as Santa — naturally — the Chattanooga Ducks, vintage cars, the Chattanooga Double Decker bus, pedicabs and the Howard School marching band. Watching is free, but for the best viewing, get to your chosen spot early.
* World Heavyweight Chili Championship — noon-4 p.m. at Office Coordinators, 326 E. Main St. In addition to offerings from more than a dozen chefs vying for the title of chili champion, there are performances by local musicians, including Dark Horse Ten, Mythical Motors and Musical Moose. All-you-can-eat tickets are $8. Commemorative bowls are $15. Proceeds benefit the Stillhouse Foundation.
* Adult Big Wheel Championship — 1-5 p.m. at CBR Auto Service Center, 1400 Broad St. Big kids will relive their little kid days on adult-size Big Wheel trikes, which they will race on coed teams in double-elimination relays on a predetermined course. Yazoo Brewery will provide racers with T-shirts and swag bags. Watching is free, but four-member teams can register for $100. Beer will be sold on-site. Drinkers and racers must be 21 and up.
* Bad Art Contest — 1-7 p.m. at 400 E. Main St. The Association for Visual Arts is known for supporting the city’s burgeoning arts scene. Now, the organization is asking for contributions of mediocre to atrocious pieces — found or original — for an installation of the worst art the city can produce. Drop off contributions to AVA, 30 Frazier Ave., by Friday, Dec. 6, for them to be included in the installation. Just don’t expect it back. At 7 p.m., all the pieces will be burned in a cultural-palate-cleansing bonfire that’s sure to make the city’s art lovers breathe a sigh of relief.
* Midnight in Paris — 7 p.m.-midnight at Townsend Atelier, 201 W. Main St. For its second annual costume party, Townsend Atelier is piping in Parisian music and has decorated the gallery in 1920s-appropriate trappings. Food and drink will be available, and awards for the best costumes will be given at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.
* Glow Zoom 5K — 7 p.m.-1 a.m. starting and finishing lines at Wilhoit Street and Rossville Boulevard. Whether you run or walk this 3.1-mile circuit through the Southside, Glow Zoom is an athletic event like no other. Runners are encouraged to wear glow-in-the-dark clothing to best take advantage of blacklight zones along a route full of neon-lit arches, trees and buildings and music provided by DJs.
Registrants also will be admitted at 8 p.m. to the Glow 2.0 (After) Party, which will feature a glow “salon” to properly accessorize for blacklight games, dance floor and a lounge equipped with a fire pit. Race registration is $39.90. Entrance for non-runners to the party is $10 for ages 21 and up; $10 for ages 18 to 20.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...