If the Facebook chatter has not been enough of a clue, Mainx24 is almost here.
The block party on Main Street combines the best of art galleries, live music, food and drink, and parade extravaganzas for a 24-hour marathon.
—Most of the events are free, but cash should definitely be on your packing list for food and registration fees.
—There is a two-hour break between Mainx24 events, beginning at 3 a.m. and ending at 5 a.m., so make sure to plan a way to get back home.
The event runs from 6 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 1 to 9 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 2, and though the party grew out of a love for and need to promote Main Street, it has morphed into an all-out celebration of Chattanooga.
This year, Mainx24 is more than 115 events strong spread over a map stretching from Carter Street to South Holtzclaw Avenue and West 20th Street to West 14th Street.
There are far too many individual galleries, food trucks, retail shops and musical performances to list—check out the Mainx24 interactive website to create your own schedule—but be assured, the program includes more than enough options for every Chattanooga pastime.
The event hosts not one, but three outdoor parades and one indoor catwalk. First, every dog gets his or her day with the Mutt Strut, which marches down Main Street from 218 E. Main St. Simultaneously, parents and kids will be converging at the corner of Rossville Avenue and Washington Street to show off their pimped-out strollers and decked-out costumes.
Both parades will head in the direction of the main event, which begins at 11 a.m.: the EPB Southside Parade. Think marching bands, ART120 art bikes, the Chattanooga Roller Girls, the double decker bus, vintage cars, floats and Santa.
Later in the day, fashionistas can feast on true art house fashion at the Mainx24 Fashion Show in the Chattanooga Choo-Choo’s garden. Collective Clothing, blogger Chelsea Duble of Jank is Swank and Zombi Candi Boutique present Married to Art, a lineup of reworked wedding dresses.
Chatta-shopper and arter
This is the ultimate epicenter for local holiday shopping, as well as a way to peruse a slice of the local art scene in one day. Galleries such as H*Art Gallery, Cynthia Stroud-Watson’s Studio, Front Gallery, Fiberworks Studio and Ashley Hamilton’s Studio will open their doors to the public, while public art projects like a PPRWRK wheat paste mural installation and a preview of the sculpture fields by The Mill bring the art outside.
For those looking for a reason to forgo the Black Friday tradition and stock up on local and global meaningful gifts, the Rossville Holiday Market, the 11th annual Chattanooga Holiday Market, the Made in CHA Market and Merchants on Main have inventories full of local artists and crafters. Shops like Planet Altered, Mountain Music and the Persian Rug Company—which is running a 20 percent off special on Dec. 2—will host open houses.
GetBuilt Chattanooga CrossFit has been holding down the fitness fort for Main Street since taking over a nondescript building across from La Altena. For Mainx24, it will be a hub of activity for the physically active and their supporters. The third annual Main Street Mile kicks off the schedule at 10:30, following the pump-up music concert provided by local high school drum corps—starting at 9:30—and will bestow awards for fastest mile and best costume.
For a little courtside action, the gym is also running a three-on-three basketball tournament in the afternoon. Competitive types can flex their dribbling skills, or if team sports are not your thing, the adult big wheel championships down the street at 1 p.m. may be more your style.
The more laid-back recreationalists can opt for the Southside Cowart Place Neighborhood Association cornhole tournament at 2 p.m.
One of the prime aspects of the 24-hour event are the live performances. There’s jazz, bluegrass, acoustic, rock and even street busking—enough to offer the variety of a large music festival, but in smaller, more intimate venues.
The Camp House will host a live stage and the King of the Southside Battle of the Bands. The Folk School will put on a proper square dance and invite performers of all kinds—jugglers, snake charmers, living statues and fiddlers—to try their luck at earning the best street performance award. Miss Griffin's Footlong Hot Dogs will pair vegetarian food with pickin’ music.
Finally, Mainx24 culminates in a concert at Track 29 featuring the Dirty Guv’nahs and The Black Cadillacs.
Mainx24 has created a food lovers paradise, an event that you can literally eat your way through. Start the day off with a pancake breakfast, then move on to Link 41 for lard fried doughnuts and $3 Cafe du Monde coffee and beignets.
Amp yourself with coffee demonstrations and a latte art competition at The Camp House. Remember why ZarZour's remains a Chattanooga lunchtime tradition. Make your own new tradition with La Altena’s $4.99 tamale lunch platter. Stop by the food truck court. Refill with Big River brews at the Keg by the Fire.
Sample the culinary tastes of gastropub fare at the Budapest Ruin pop-up. Satisfy the late night cravings with The Terminal’s drunk and hungry late-night menu. Finish off the 24-hour cycle with a breakfast finale at H*Art Gallery.