Open Streets is This Weekend – And It Is Bigger and Better

Open Streets Knoxville, Central Street, Knoxville, October 2015

Open Streets Knoxville, Central Street, Knoxville, October 2015

Of course, there’s also this other festival on Saturday. I’m going to go ahead and assume that most everyone, including some who live under a rock know that the International Biscuit Festival will happen this Saturday in downtown Knoxville. There will be contests, booths, music and many, many, many biscuits. And that is the perfect prelude to what happens Sunday: Time to walk/bike/zumba and otherwise work off a few of those calories you packed in on Saturday at Open Streets Knoxville brought to you by Bike Walk Knoxville.

It’s the second round of the Open Streets event and it promises to be bigger and better than the first. Whereas the first had around sixty different activities along the way, you’ll find about eighty this time. The route will be stretched just a little, starting at Willow in the Old City (right around Crown and Goose) and flowing straight out Central a block past the Freez-o to Woodland.

Additionally, there will be other changes in response to the first event. A number of people said they needed more food. More food, you will find: Eight, count them, eight food trucks will be strategically posted along the route to ensure you don’t have to walk more than a few blocks without eating. Additionally, there will be a couple of food trucks posted in the parking lot at Hops and Hollers. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s ten food trucks.

Open Streets Knoxville, Central Street, Knoxville, October 2015

Open Streets Knoxville, Central Street, Knoxville, October 2015

Also reflected in the feedback last time was that the time period was too short. At just three hours, about the time people were feeling good about getting their groove on in the street, it was over. Sadness prevailed. This time it will be five hours long, starting at 1:00 PM and ending at 6:00 PM, giving everyone plenty of time to have fun in the street.

And then there is the app. I’ve downloaded mine and I’d encourage you to download yours. It includes map for finding the event. And a schedule. A food list and an activity map as well as “how to get there.” You’ll find a social media section @openstreetsknox and #openstreetsknox. It’s got everything your inner geek could desire.

Open Streets Knoxville, Central Street, Knoxville, October 2015

Open Streets Knoxville, Central Street, Knoxville, October 2015

As for what you’ll find there, if you are unfamiliar with the idea, you’ll learn about the last event here. Beyond that, I can tell you the street will be lined with most every imaginable (family friendly) form of physical exertion. Acrobatics, hooping, martial arts, zumba, Yoga, contra dancing, belly dancing and biking (rentals will be available) and more will happen at every turn along the way. Most all of these are participatory – they expect you to join in.

There will also be music, though not of the loudest sort. There will be multiple performance areas with great local music. Mostly singer song-writers and string bands, I think this will add greatly to the festive atmosphere. You’ll be able to hear The Katts, The Bad Hatt’rs, Plow and one my favorites: The Knox County Jug Stompers. It sounds more festive, already.

Of course, you can bring your own physical amusements, from hoops to bikes, from skateboards to jogging in the street, it’s all cool. And bring the children so they see what it’s like to play in the streets safely. And get involved so they see their parents getting exercise and having fun. It’s important.

Open Streets Knoxville, Central Street, Knoxville, October 2015

Open Streets Knoxville, Central Street, Knoxville, October 2015

And support the businesses along the way. Explore what they have to offer even if you don’t make purchases that day. Many of them are on board as sponsors this time around – and it takes a large amount of money to make this happen. Parking options are listed on the app so you can plug the address into your GPS.

Mostly come have fun. Take back the streets. See your city from a different perspective. The weather will be absolutely perfect. And here’s an announcement: Open Streets are here to stay. Mark your calendars for the third rendition on October 9. Say, “hello,” if you see me. I’ll be the guy with the camera.



  1. Amy Pappas says

    Where can you rent bikes?

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      They are indicated by the green bike symbols on the map. It looks to me as if you can rent them at Central/Jackson, Central/Depot and Central/Baxter (in the bike plaza).

  2. Alan, regarding the initial event, I believe you’d offered the thought that more police were on hand than you’d felt necessary and that this had affected the event’s budget. Do you know whether this has been taken into consideration, for this time around?

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      From what I understand, that requirement hasn’t changed. It is a very expensive event because of that.

      • Kelley Segars says

        We were able to work with KPD to reduce the number of officers. But for public safety, we still have to have a lot there. Same thing goes for any special event with street closures.

  3. Open Streets was my favorite event last year. It seems like such a simple thing, but is pure fun. Bring your bike, skateboard or roller skates and get your roll on. You won’t regret it.

    PS – don’t forget that Makers Donuts is located only about a block off the Open Streets route. Ride, snack, ride, repeat.

  4. Marshall Stair says

    This is a fantastic event! Thank you BikeWalk Knoxville for making this event a reality!! Let’s keep the conversation going about making Knoxville more walkable.

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