First Friday: The Rest of the Story

500 Block of Union Avenue, First Friday, June 2011

To be fair to all the people and businesses who planned something special last Friday, I should probably call this post, “A Tiny Bit of the Rest of the Story.” I never made it to the 100 Block where I know there were art openings, or into the Old City where I bet things were great at Remedy, Crush and Old City Java as well as all the bars later in the evening. I never made it to the Art Gallery, Morelock’s Music (which I know had music until late), nor did I check in on the drum circle in Krutch Park as I enjoy doing. I know there were other events, as well, including one at the East Tennessee History Center and, of all things, The Hotel Oliver held open house and I missed it.

500 Block of Union Avenue, Runners prepare for Downtown Dash

So you could correctly say I missed most of the events on First Friday and yet, I did as much as I possibly could. As I mentioned yesterday, I enjoyed the majority of my time on Market Square at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, which was a bit disappointing, but fun, nonetheless.

Pamela Schoenewaldt at Union Avenue Books

Happy readers shop and mingle at Union Avenue Books

I did leave that event to take  a large sweep of a few other events I knew to be happening. I started with the Daylight Building on the 500 Block of Union Avenue. I tried to make it to John Black Studio for the music there, but missed it. I did catch Pamela Schoenewaldt at Union Avenue Books. She read from her great novel, When We Were Strangers. It was the first reading in Union Avenue Books and I think it was that night that many First Friday revelers discovered they had opened. Of course they had wine and books and other interesting people which is pretty much what you need in life.

The Happy Envelope, Reruns and other businesses in the Daylight Building

Ready to run: Number 500

Next door, Just Ripe was packed with hungry shoppers and many people who are just now discovering they are open. The same was true at Reruns. It’s been fun to listen to the conversations there and on the square as people realize they have moved. That night they featured “One of a Kind Konane,” according to the sign Breanna (I think I remembered that correctly) wrote for the front of the store. By the way, she told me I look better in person than on the blog, just in case you wondered. I’m not sure that’s too much to get excited about since apparently she thought I looked pretty lousy online.

They’re off! Downtown Dash, 500 Block of  Union Avenue, Knoxville

Finish line for the Downtown Dash on Market Street at the Square

The biggest event of the night on the block was the downtown dash which is a one-mile race featuring serious runners and the much less than serious runners. It starts in front of Pete’s Coffee Shop and ends on Market Square and is sponsored by City People.

It was simply nice to see the block full of people having fun after walking through and around construction equipment for more than a year after I moved downtown. Except for the last half-block on the Gay Street end, Union Avenue is now walkable and safe from one end to (nearly) the other. It’s been a long time coming and I’m happy for the residents and the new businesses. Now we need a name for that section of town. I think it is technically in the Market Square District, but it needs something to distinguish it. Any ideas?

ZZ Top Tour Buses, Knoxville, June 2011

Security was tight for ZZ Top. He looks serious.

I caught some of the finishers as they crossed into Market Square and just had to go over and check out the tour buses for ZZ Top who were playing their sold-out show. With so many great free activities I didn’t consider attending, though I might have otherwise. I saw them in 1977 and they were absolutely astounding for three guys playing instruments. I think I paid $6.00. I believe they’ve raised their ticket prices since then.

Bill and Jake on Gay Street, Knoxville, June 2011

French Market Jazz, First Friday Knoxville, June 2011

I passed Bill making his music on Gay Street with his faithful companion, Jake. A little further down Gay Street at the French Market a couple of guys were laying down a little light jazz. On a typical Friday night, just to sit at an outside table at the French Market, enjoy a crepe and some jazz while watching people in Krutch Park would be enough to set my heart aglow. Sometimes I think I miss little pleasures like that as I scurry about trying to hit too many things in too little a time, because really it’s those quiet times spent with friends or family in the city is what I love the most.