Festival season gets underway in downtown Knoxville

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – March officially kicks off festival season in downtown Knoxville and that means a big boom for local businesses. Shops and restaurants are expecting to see large crowds this weekend at the Shamrock Fest.

If you take a stroll down Market Square, it’s hard to miss all of the green decorations and shamrocks everywhere. They mark the sign of yet another festival coming to the city.

“It doesn’t stop. From here until the end of the year, it just keeps going,” said Scott West, a business owner in Market Square.

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will be taking over downtown on Saturday and Sunday, but there’s a whole calendar of events scheduled for the rest of the year.

LIST: Knoxville 2017 festivals

Judith Foltz is the director of special events for Knoxville. She said, “We’re seeing as the city keeps developing and creating more and more activities down here, that our participation in these festivals have grown immensely.”

You can enjoy music at Big Ears, browse the work at Dogwood Arts, or grab a bite to eat at the Biscuit Festival. Those are just a few of the events planned for 2017.

“We found that Market Square, as unique as it is, is a huge draw for people from other cities,” said Foltz.

Nathan Sadowski and his son are from Oak Ridge and they plan on visiting Knoxville more when family-friendly activities are happening.

“It gives you a good reason to come downtown,” said Sadowski. “I think that’s a great magnet for out-of-towners and locals.”

With thousands of people coming to Market Square for festivals, Preservation Pub expects all of those people to come through their doors and spend some big bucks.

“They can choose to eat at one of the restaurants, they can chose to have a beer at one of the bars, they can choose to buy a souvenir at one of the shops. So it’s great for business because the event is free and everyone wins,” West added.

West owns several of the places in Market Square like Scruffy City Hall. He says every business profits when big crowds roll in from a festival.

The St. Patricks Day festivals start on Friday in Market Square, with the heading down Gay Street at 7 p.m. WATE 6 On Your Side will be a part of it as well.

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