SURGOINSVILLE — Surgoinsville’s Riverfront Festival this weekend kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. with a parade down Main Street that ends at the town’s Riverfront Park on the banks of the Holston River.
Parade participants will meet at the Surgoinsville Fire Department station on Old Stage Road at 5 p.m. for the parade, which begins at 5:30 p.m.
The Dairy Mart Block Party begins at the park at 6 p.m., as does live music including a performance by keyboard player and vocalist Fran Howard, as well as J.B. and the Honeybeans.
There will be a variety of food vendors, and during the block party Dairy Mart will give away free hot dogs, chips and drinks to the first 1,000 attendees. Dairy Mart owner Merrill Graham is also Surgoinsville’s vice mayor and chairman of the Riverfront Festival Committee.
Children’s attractions include inflatables, craft booths and a train, which will be doing laps along the park’s walking trail.
The festival closes Friday at 9 p.m. and kicks off again Saturday at 1 p.m. with a flag retirement ceremony presented by the local Boy Scouts troop.
Military veterans in attendance for the flag retirement ceremony will be recognized, and each veteran in attendance will receive a special award in recognition of their sacrifices for their country.
Following the flag retirement ceremony there will be a ceremony kicking off the event that recognizes the grand marshals of Friday’s parade, Mike and Debbie Smith who own the local Pizza Plus restaurant.
Graham said the Smiths are always willing to volunteer their time and resources toward local events and deserve recognition.
There will be live music throughout the day Saturday with a variety of artists including Fran Howard, Tennessee Skyline, Raising Cane, and a gospel group to be named later.
“Throughout the day we will have a car show, we will have a tractor show, and trophies will be awarded in each of those,” said Graham. “We’ll have horseshoe pitching throughout the day, and awards will be given for that as well. First Baptist Church is taking care of the Kids Zone this year, and there will be plenty of arts and craft vendors and demonstrators. I’m looking forward to a real nice festival.”
Graham added, “This makes our third festival this year including the Doc Lyons Festival and the Fireman’s Ice Cream Supper, and they’ve all been successful. I’m proud of this town for putting forth the effort to hold festivals like this in our town so that people have something special to do — whether they be local residents or visitors. We offer wholesome family entertainment, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of it.”