For 29 consecutive years the Mount Carmel Block Party helped kick off Funfest, but it fell by the wayside two years ago due to a lack of sponsorship funding and volunteers to help organize it.
When Horizon Credit Union located a branch in downtown Mount Carmel, however, CEO Beverly Boling decided to take on the task of bringing back the popular event which packed an estimated 10,000 people along Main street every year.
It may be two years later than expected, but the 30th Mount Carmel Block Party is scheduled for Saturday evening.
"When we opened the old Regents Bank branch as Horizon Credit Union, it's our vision to be a good neighbor," Boling said. "We felt a big thing that had made Mount Carmel famous was their huge, successful Block Party. A promise we made to Mount Carmel when we opened that branch was to revive the Block Party to its former glory, to prove that we would be a good neighbor."
Boling added, "I've heard we should expect 5,000 to 10,000 people because the Mount Carmel Block Party was the largest block party preceding FunFest."
The event takes place Saturday from 4-10 p.m. on Main Street between Hammond Avenue and the old Food City Shopping Center.
Around noon Saturday traffic will be closed to thru-traffic between Independence Avenue and Hammond Avenue, and the roadway will be used for handicapped parking and a the shuttle route.
Parking will be available at the Oak Grove Baptist Church at 311 Cypress Street, with shuttles carrying folks back and forth to the event throughout the evening.
There will be a classic car show in the shopping plaza parking lot, and entries are encouraged to begin arriving around 3 p.m.
There is no entry fee for the car show. All car show participants are asked to drive in from the Englwood Avenue intersection, and the first 250 entries will receive a dash plaque.
Festivities begin at 4 p.m. on the main stage in the Horizon Credit Union parking lot with the presentation of colors by Vietnam Veterans, who will then perform a short skit about honoring our nation's heroes.
Singing of the National Anthem will follow.
Live music begins on the main stage at 5 p.m. on the main stage.
Among the bands performing are "Six String Sundown", followed by "100 acres", and headliner Benny Wilson who will perform until 10 p.m. when the fireworks begin.
The Kids Zone will be located on the grassy lot between BB&T Bank and the shopping center parking lot, and will feature huge inflatable bouncing attractions provided by "Star the Clown."
Children will also have an opportunity to create gigantic bubbles, and receive full face tattoos drawn by professional artists.
The Hawkins County Humane Society will offer pet adoptions at the Horizon Credit Union drive through, and there will be military and public safety equipment on display on Main Street.
All entertainment is free, although there is a fee for the face painting, and food will be sold.
As of Thursday there were 11 food vendors signed up including: Feeding Frenzie, Foodie Fiction, Me and Kay, La Abejita, Fire Brick Oven, Backdraft BBQ, Kettle Corn, Lil' Delights, Bahama Shave Ice, Old Fashioned Country Kitchen and Teddy Bear Corner.