Get out there this Saturday for an even bigger and better Southside party
The turkey’s been eaten and the Best Buy camp-outs are past, officially marking the start of the most wonderful time of the year. Every December, while many cities are hanging their stockings by the chimney with care, roasting chestnuts by that open fire (hopefully with a newly inspected extinguisher nearby), and singing carols in the snow, Chattanooga’s Southside is gearing up for its most exciting holiday event of the year—the annual Mainx24 celebration. Chattanooga’s biggest and only 24-hour block party returns for the eighth year on Saturday, Dec. 6, along and around Main Street.
Founded by CreateHere in 2006, Mainx24 seeks to showcase what a 24-hour city Chattanooga could be and to bring Southside neighbors together with a celebration of the area’s residents, stores and businesses. Each year, individuals, neighbors and local businesses work tirelessly to put on events small and large, from music and art events to storytelling, athletic events, contests and loads of delicious treats all along the way. What started eight years ago as a small community festival with around 20 events on the schedule has now grown into a huge extravaganza of more than 100 events, with offerings attracting families and friends from all over the city.
All the tried-and-true favorites are back this year, kicking off with the Pancake Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. at the Main Street Fire Hall, featuring pancakes, Greyfriar’s coffee, live music and horse-and-carriage rides. Afterward, the family favorite EPB Southside Parade, Mutt Strut and Stroller Strut will roll along, offering loads of excitement and fun for young and old alike.
Also back again is the World Heavyweight Chili Championship, benefiting green|spaces, and the popular Yazoo Big Wheel Championship, benefiting the Children’s Advocacy Center of Hamilton County. Many of this year’s events are free and many over the years have benefited local nonprofit organizations, making the event not only fun, but offering support to many of the organizations that help this city thrive.
Organizer Fernando Martinez, along with co-chairs Amanda Carmichael, Monica and Adam Kinsey, Cat Collier Martinez, Katie Smith and Ken Hays have added emphasis to family and children’s activities this year, including a Main Street Mural project, storytelling time with Mrs. Claus and the Kid’s Main Event, coordinated by Chattanooga Presents, that includes a concert, balloon animals, juggling, bubble machines and more. In addition to all this, many of these family-friendly events include hot cocoa and other treats. “So many more fun and creative activities are in store for families and kids of all ages throughout the day, so everyone in the community is encouraged to come out and join,” said Martinez.
Many new businesses to the Southside, such as The Local Juicery and Grocery Bar, will be hosting events, as well as Main Street staples like Blue Orleans, which will be holding a number of events throughout the day, including Beignets and Coffee, and Mardi Gras on Main St. featuring beer specials and a DJ spinning well into the night. Local restaurants like Clyde’s on Main, Terminal Brewhouse and Taquiera Jalisco will offer food and drink specials throughout the day and night, and Alleia, The Flying Squirrel and Zarzours, typically offering dinner-only service, will open early for lunch as well.
As always, there is plenty of great music to be found, and Carmichael says, “It’s turned into a mini-music festival with plenty of opportunity to hear lots of music throughout the day and long into the night.” From DJs spinning at events like the Double Dragon Dance Party at the Crash Pad or the Silent Disco at Mean Mug Coffeehouse, to live music at events like the Chili Championship, Clyde’s on Main and Track 29, there will be more than enough music to satisfy the tastes of all who attend.
The schedule can be found online at mainx24.com, as well as links to the Facebook page, where you can connect to many of the individual event pages to find out more information.
“It is the most unique and eccentric event in the city,” Carmichael says. “It’s just really cool to be able to explore the Southside and all it has to offer. It’s a day where Jell-O shots and painted faces and Santa Claus and art bikes and adults on big wheels and people vying for a homemade heavyweight chili championship belt are all completely normal.” So, in the midst of holiday shopping, eggnog drinking and fa-la-la-la-las, make room for a little celebrating of this charismatic city and the neighbors and friends who call it home. It’s tradition, it’s fun and it’s most wonderful.