Downtown in December is a series of holiday events in the heart of Johnson City. It’s a festive winter experience featuring a tree lighting ceremony, shopping, parties, visits with Santa, and family friendly activities…all surrounded by holiday lights. Most events are free of charge and there is an open invitation for all to attend.
December 2 Christmas Tree Lighting
6: 00 pm at the plaza on Buffalo Street, join us for music and holiday cheer as we revive a tradition for Johnson City. The 26 foot tree is provided by the City of Johnson City. The Indian Trail 6th Grade Chorus, along with a Mayoral Proclamation, Santa and the Grinch will lead us in the tree lighting ceremony, 100 Buffalo Street.
December 3 Johnson City Christmas Parade
The Johnson City Christmas Parade theme is “It’s a Whoville Christmas”. It begins at 11:30 am, travels down W. Walnut Street, to Buffalo Street, turns right on Main Street, to Colonial Way, left on State of Franklin and ends at Legion Street. The Grinch and Cindy Lou Who will be our Grand Marshals. The JC Christmas Parade is sponsored by TVA.
For two hours following the parade, Santa will be at Holidays to allow children to sit on his lap and parents to take their own photos. Holidays is located at 308 E. Main Street.
December 3 Whoville Village
Following the parade, stay downtown to enjoy some great family fun activities. Community organizations will be providing kids activities from 1 pm- 3 pm in the Pavilion at Founders Park. A DJ dance party, storytelling, crafts, games and much more! Bring your camera to take the kids picture with the Grinch or other furry friends. Make sure you visit the food trucks at Whoville Village or one of the wonderful local restaurants in downtown on Saturday. Sponsored by ES Dockery, Mitch Cox Companies and TruPoint Bank.
Pay it forward – bring new gloves, toboggans, or scarves to be donated to those in need. New items only, please. A donation bin will be in the Pavilion.
December 3 Prohibition for the Paws
Guys and dolls, wear your finest 1920’s glad rags at the party of the year, benefitting the Washington County Animal Shelter. Tickets are $60 each or $100 a couple. Enjoy prohibition style cocktails and a 1920’s specialty brew, great hors d’oeuvres from local restaurants, live music with Big Band Theory, silent auction and more. Sponsored by Tennessee Hill Distillery, event begins at 8 pm in the Venue in the King Centre.
December 2 & 3 Insta•Crafty
The event will feature a catered First Friday opening on December 2, 5 – 8 pm, followed by an all day Saturday shopping experience, 10 am – 6 pm. Local crafters will give you the opportunity to purchase handmade items at the pop up shop. Located in the JCPenney building on Main Street.
December 6 Downtown Loft Tours
A self-guided tour of some fantastic living spaces that are available downtown. Check out urban living options from 5 – 8 pm, stop by the lobby of the King Center to pick up your map. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live downtown, this is your opportunity.
December 8 Holiday Stroll
Downtown merchants welcome you on this special evening of shopping. Make it a girl’s night out or grab the spouse and show each other what is on the top of your Christmas wish list. Merchants will be open until 8 pm on Thursday evening. Several will offer snacks or drinks this evening, as well.
December 2 – 10 Shop Downtown, Shop Local
Downtown merchants will have extended hours these days and would love to show you all the unique and specialty merchandise in their stores. Our local merchants have worked hard to fill their shelves with local, hard to find or handcrafted items. We have some wonderful stores, now is the time to explore downtown Johnson City.
Buffalo Street at State of Franklin and the 200 and 300 blocks of E. Main Street
will be closed from 5 pm Friday to 6 pm Saturday. The Northeast State Downtown Center parking garage is open every weekend for free public parking. It is recommended to use the garage on Friday or Saturday.
Downtown hosts several wonderful festivals each year!
Building on our region’s rich heritage in music, arts and food, the Little Chicago Downtown Arts & Music Festival is a great opportunity to bring the community together by filling the streets, celebrating what makes our downtown awesome! We encourage everyone to stop in and shop at many of the wonderful downtown businesses while strolling through and enjoying the festive atmosphere.
This year’s music lineup will host some of the biggest and best regional bands and artists from the Tri-Cities and surrounding areas on two stages flanking both ends of the festival. Local buskers will also be stationed throughout the streets for an eclectic spin on the festivities.
Featured areas of our festival will include local artisans in our arts and crafts area to browse and shop, a wonderful food court area with local food vendors and downtown restaurants, a kid’s play zone, and activities such as a roller derby and car show. The Umoja Unity 5K Race will be held on Friday evening in conjunction with our festival for those who want to enjoy the sound of music on their run or walk.
For more information on the Little Chicago Downtown Music & Arts Festival, please visit us at www.littlechicagofestival.com.
Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza! The annual craft beer festival, held each year in April, welcomes back the Tennessee Championship of Beer, which is a medal competition among commercial breweries as well as a Home Brew Competition. The morning of Thirsty Orange will be the Inaugural Running of the Beers (and Ciders). The run, sponsored by Gypsy Circus Cidery Company will circle the circumference of Founder’s Park over a 10-minute period. Proceeds from the race will benefit HelpUsAdopt.org – an organization which offers grants to individuals and families to help offset the cost of adoption.
Also on Friday night, the Gypsy Circus Caravan Tour is free to the public. The Caravan Tour will feature free entertainment from one of the best Gypsy-style bands in the southeast, The Renosant Rogues.
The Blue Plum Festival of music and art is always the first weekend in June. Musicians have been announced, on both free and ticketed stages. Surprisingly, it’s not a festival about a fruit. The name, Blue Plum Festival, is in honor of the 1800’s rural post office serving an area in East Tennessee that would become known as Johnson City.
The Blue Plum Festival was originally organized by the Friends of Olde Downtowne in 1999. It’s beginnings as a street fair has grown considerably over the years. With this growth came the establishment of the Blue Plum organization who will host the 2016 Blue Plum Festival. This year, folks will converge on downtown Johnson City over the course of 2 days to enjoy music, arts, food and so much fun!
The Fountain Square Criterium is on Sunday, June 5. Plenty of fast sections with high speed corners along with the section of tight corners. Alfresco dinning is available on the course at several restaurants. There will be a separate field for Women Category 4 in the Criterium.
Juniors will race free in the Junior fields since the TBRA is paying their fee. They still need to register online for the TT and CR or can register day of for the CR. The master’s categories in the Omnium will be the same as 2015. They will be the Elite Masters 35+category 1,2,3; the Masters 40+ category 4,5; the Masters 50+ category 3,4,5; and the Masters 60+ category 3,4,5.
Umjoa, our unity festival, will be the first weekend of September this year!
Plus, check out our First Friday and Founders After 5 pages, for even more events that occur downtown.