Weekend Events You Don’t Want to Miss

Bike, Boat, Brew & Bark, Photos by Visit Knoxville, June 2023
Open Streets Knoxville, October 2017

You could say many things about Knoxville, but boring isn’t one of them. This weekend is a prime example of so many things to do and not enough time to do them, but that will not keep me from trying to fit it all in!

Friday, June 2

First Friday ArtWalk

We begin the weekend with the monthly First Friday ArtWalk. This regular happening can be as fast or slow-paced as you would like. From 5:30-9, enjoy extra doses of art, music, and the occasional street performance as you walk the city and enjoy the beautiful weather we are predicted to have. I take advantage of these nights to see galleries and studios that I might typically miss on any other given day, introduce myself to new artists, enjoy new sounds at places like Scruffy City Hall, or revisit a personal favorite, Evie Andrus, at the Knoxville Visitors Center.

First Friday ArtWalk (Photo by Downtown Knoxville)

Click HERE to see the event locations for this month.

Friday, June 2-Sunday June 4

Rhinestone Fest, For the Love of Dolly

For its 3rd year, this weekend also brings us the Rhinestone Fest, formerly the Dolly Fest, hosted by the Historic Old City. It overlaps and compliments the First Friday ArtWalk and gives you a 2-for-1 experience! The Rhinestone Fest brings us all things Dolly. You can sing karaoke to your favorite Dolly tunes, buy all the Dolly merch your heart desires, vote for your favorite Dolly costume or show yours off, enjoy a coloring contest, and hear multiple musicians on their main stage.

Jolene’s Coming to Brother Wolf (Photo Courtesy of Brother Wolf)

If food and drinks are more your thing, there is no shortage of Dolly-themed drinks and food specials around town. Brother Wolfe is turning into a pop-up bar called Jolene’s. It’s part celebration of Dolly, part fundraiser for her Imagination Library, and 100% fun. “Conjuring an Appalachian saloon, it celebrates the “Patron Saint of the South” with craft cocktails, cowgirl chic décor and music inspired by the queens of country. You can enjoy drinks like the Cup of Ambition, Parton My French, I Will Always Love Dew, Neon Cowgirl and more. The pop-up continues through June 19 and will feature a “Big Gay Hoedown” on Monday, June 12, 2023, a country & western Pride event that raises money for Positively Living, a Knoxville LGBTQ charity.

Awaken Coffee will have Dolly drinks and special desserts. Show up to Kaizen fully dressed as Dolly and earn yourself 10% off all food and drinks (excluding alcohol). This is just a start! Head to Fin Two, Jacks, Merchants of Beer, Post Modern Spirits, Old City Java, Old City Sports Bar, Urban Bar, and Wagon Wheel.

Wall of Dolly in Rala, Dolly Fest, Old City, Knoxville, June 2022

Friday brings the beginning of the art contest at Rala, Bonner Black at Boyd’s Jig and Reel, The Dolly Party at Mill and Mine, Pole Dance Performance at Sheer Inspiration Pole Fitness, Dolly Karaoke at Dr. Jane Health and Wellness and Live Music at Awaken Coffee.

Saturday boasts multiple performances on the main stage, more karaoke, comedy at Pretentious Beer, music at Barley’s Tap Room, The Not Dolly Party at Mill and Mine, Bubbles and Blowouts at Lox Salon ($40 blowout and a glass of bubbly!), and more!

Sunday closes out the Rhinestone Fest with a special edition Rhinestone Fest Market on W. Jackson Ave. and multiple venues for live music. See the full schedule of Rhinestone Fest Events HERE.

Are you really a Dolly fan if you don’t attend the Rhinestone Fest?

Saturday, June 3

Bike, Boat, Brew, & Bark

Bike, Boat, Brew & Bark, Photos by Visit Knoxville, June 2023

Saturday brings us an event that I have some big feelings about; the 2023 Bike Boat Brew & Bark. Why do I have big feelings about it? This will mark the 1-year anniversary of my friendship with our beloved Knoxville Urban Guy and my journey to get to your inbox and social media feeds. What a great year it has been! Speaking of this fella, he will be hosting one of the activities again this year, and that is a walk around downtown discussing developments and changes over the last year. It is free but does require registration.

From the Visit Knoxville website:

“Bike, Boat, Brew, & Bark celebrates the outdoor adventurer, the dog lover, the craft beer enthusiast, the local and the tourist looking to discover a secret in Knoxville’s urban wilderness. This annual event has become popular with visitors and locals alike – after all, Knoxville is a bike, boat, brew, and bark-friendly city!

It’s a place where you can ride your bike, bring your dog and explore Knoxville in a new way on this special day! Then live it, experience it, and continue to explore it all year long! We’ll show you how at Knoxville Adventure Collective on the Tennessee River!”

Bike, Boat, Brew & Bark, Photo by Visit Knoxville, June 2023

This event also coincides with the weekend we recognize TN Statehood, and you can visit multiple locations FREE: Blount Mansion, James White Fort, and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Booths will be set up at the Knoxville Adventure Collective at 900 Volunteer Landing Ln. from 10-3, and many of the activities will also launch there. You can ride a pontoon shuttle boat, do some yoga, take a guided hike in Morningside Park, try out stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, or an e-bike, take a history tour with Jack Neeley, disc golf, explore the Urban Wilderness, go on a guided hike with the Young Williams Animal Center, take a slow ride to some of the local breweries and so much more.

Check out the full list of activities HERE, but do it quickly, as many require registration.

For those wanting to sign up for the walks or rides, you’ll find the links here:

Over the Edge

This one is a new one for me. It is a fundraiser for ARC Knox County, which supports the rights of individuals with a disability to achieve their highest potential. You can rappel down the 16-story Trotter Building to raise money to support the organization’s mission. If you are like me and rappelling down a building sounds akin to death, you can still support them by donating and attending the block party.

Over the Edge, Benefiting ARC of Knox County

Visit Knoxville describes the event like this.

“This year, we will be rappelling 16 STORIES down the side of the beautiful historical Trotter Building in Downtown Knoxville located at 625 Market Street – adjacent to Krutch Park and Market Square – hosting the most thrilling fundraiser event to ever hit Knoxville, and we want YOU to join us! Additionally, we will host a Block Party in the parking lot connected to The Trotter Building with a full entertainment lineup with bands, DJs, dance teams, fire spinners, magicians, AND MORE!”

Are you tired yet? Get some rest because Sunday continues the weekend fun!

Sunday, June 4

Open Streets

Open Streets Map, June 2023

Open Streets brings together community groups and local businesses, allowing people of all ages and abilities to walk, bike, hula hoop, and more in a safe and fun setting. This event, like all the others, is free to attend. It will have road closures, so make sure you check this before heading out. They will have booths from multiple vendors, 9 food trucks, and several live performances during the 4-hour event from 2-6pm. Some of the fun you can have is swing dance lessons, sidewalk chalk, interactive performances from Clarence Brown Theater, dress-up fun from French Fried Vintage, dog training demos, cycling and fitness activities, a human scavenger hunt, healthcare screening games, corn hole, Japanese music, arts, and demos and so much more.

Open Streets (Photo by Bike Walk Knoxville)

Marble City Market will host Pups on the Patio, and the Mill and Mine will have an open house with yard games to play. For a complete list of booths, vendors, and performances, click HERE.

All of these events are FREE and family-friendly unless otherwise noted on their websites.

Which events will you attend?