The third annual Bike, Boat, Brew and Bark, sponsored by Visit Knoxville, will be held this Saturday on the north waterfront and areas all around. As before, there are a number of moving parts and something for almost anyone – whether you love being active or you like to chill in a soft chair with a beer and watch others have fun. And this year it includes an urban hike with a certain Urban Guy.
It all starts with a major event for the city, the Visit Knoxville Powerboat Nationals. It’s the first stop in the summer series that moves to different waterways across the country throughout the season. If you take even a short look at the video below, you’ll get a quick idea of the kinds of boats we’re talking about and the kind of amazing publicity it gives our city as it airs on Fox Sports – in repeated showings – for the next year. So, pull up a chair, if it’s your thing, and watch national-level competition in formula 2 and 4 and Hydro (Jet Ski) categories.
If boats aren’t your thing, there are also all sorts of pet activities, whether you have a personal pet or not. First of all, pets of every sort are welcome and encouraged. It’s a way to highlight, as the event is being filmed, that we are one of the dog/pet friendliest cities in America. You’ll also have a chance to prove what you already know: your pet is the cutest pet in the land. The Pet Photo Contest could be your pooch’s moment to shine.
But what if you love pups but don’t have one of your own? Not to worry. Plan to be amazed by the Smoky Mountain Dock Dogs. The Dock Dogs competitions and coverage have spread dramatically in recent years. These dogs virtually fly over the water. They will line up and do their thing between boat heats from 11:00 AM to Noon.
If you prefer your Saturday to be a bit more active, there’s plenty of room for that, with stops for beer along the way. Visit Knoxville also wants to highlight the ease of cycling and walking in the city. There are probably some of you who would like to walk further afield downtown, but don’t know your way outside of particular areas. Others may want to cycle – particularly with our new PACE bikes all about downtown – but you’re a little nervous about getting started.
For those nervous cyclists or just any cyclist who enjoys riding with a group, there are multiple choices of Guided Annual Brewery Slow Rides on Saturday. You can gather from the name that beer is involved and there will be no cyclist left behind! You do not need to own spandex or have any of those fancy spiky shoes to enjoy these rides. There are eight different rides including many of our local craft breweries. You can select your ride here. The ride is free (not the beer, sorry), but registration is required as numbers may be limited.
So, that covers all the B’s, but wait, there’s more. We’ve got W² with two walking possibilities. If there is anyone who has crushed more shoe leather in downtown in recent years than Jack Neely, I’m not sure who it would be. I’ll happily claim second place, though there may be other contenders (Rick Emmett comes to mind). So, how about taking a walk with one of us?
Jack will be walking along the river starting at 11:00 AM at the Volunteer Landing Towers. There’s enough history along the river to talk for days, covering our uneasy relationship with the Cherokee (and one of the city’s finest sculptures) through the early settlers and a bit of Civil War history. There are also connections to Knoxville authors and those are sure to be discussed. Jack, who now heads the Knoxville History Project, did the research for many of the historical markers you’ll encounter. Register here.
Finally, I’ll be taking what might feel like a long journey across the city to people who are accustomed to long-distance walking. We’ll start in front of the TVA Towers on Market Square, also at 11:00 AM, and proceed to Volunteer Landing for a stop-over. If you don’t know how to walk directly from Market Square to the river, you’ll find out! After a brief stop, we’ll walk back up the bluff and across the Gay Street Bridge to Sevier Avenue with a planned stop-over at Alliance Brewing Company.
After a refreshing adult beverage, should you so chose, we’ll walk through Suttree Landing Park and circle our way back to our original starting point on Market Square. Along the way we’ll talk a bit about downtown development and business. We may even talk a bit about history if I can recall any gems from Jack Neely along the way. I’m hoping to have a congenial conversation all along and I’ll welcome your input.
Like the cycling rides and Jack’s walk, to take a walk with me is free – but is limited to the first people to register, so it’s important, if you’d like to do any of the above, or take a walk with me, it is critical that you register early to be certain to be included. Registration for my walk and and all the others will be found here. Better grab them!