Storytelling, fireworks, funnel cakes, five tons of sand and a bounty of bluegrass music will set the stage for the 43rd annual Jonesborough Days festival, to be held July 5-7 in the heart of Tennessee’s oldest town.
This year’s festival will kick off Friday, July 5 with a performance by rising country artist Logan Murrell at 5 p.m. on the 104.9 Great Country Main Stage. He’ll be followed at 7 p.m. by the old-school rhythm and blues band JV Squad and its “mountain soul” music.
Friday evening’s Chili Pepper Eating Contest, which begins at 7 p.m. in front of the courthouse, is one of several contests to be held throughout the weekend, including pancake and watermelon eating contests on Saturday and the new SweetFrog Ice Cream Contest, set for noon to 2 p.m., Sunday in the parking lot behind Mauk’s. Entry fee is $5 per team. Winners will be announced at 3 p.m. on the Courthouse Square. That’s when winners of the town’s inaugural Art Walk, featuring artwork display in shops throughout the town’s downtown area, will also be announced.
Festival-goers 21 and older can enjoy a cold beer from Jonesborough’s own Depot Street Brewery from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and from 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday at the beer garden on Storytelling Plaza.
Friday also kicks off three days’ worth of performances of Jonesborough Repertory Theatre’s popular “1940s USO Show,” which takes audiences back to the 1940s with classic hits like “Route 66,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”
Show times are 7:30 p.m., Friday; 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m., Saturday; and 2 and 7:30 p.m., Sunday at JRT.
Tickets are $14 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors, and may be purchased at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center.
Saturday’s events will kick off with a parade beginning at 10 a.m. Spectators are encouraged to camp out along Boone and Main streets for the best view of the parade’s patriotic floats.
Music will begin at 11 a.m. on Doc’s Front Porch, located on the plaza of the International Storytelling Center, and continue throughout the day. Scheduled to perform are Sound Traveler, Senior Express, the Old Timers Band, Larry and Gayleen Kelley, the Nolichucky River Band and storytellers Guerry McConnell and Mountain Man Bob.
Mark Kroos, one of the only touring double neck guitarists in the world, will perform at 5 p.m., Saturday on the main stage, followed at 7 p.m. by Nashville-based bluegrass artists Martha and Eddie Adcock.
Free historic tours of downtown Jonesborough will be offered beginning at noon on both Saturday and Sunday.
Fireworks will light up the sky at 10 p.m., Saturday just off Main Street. After the fireworks display, visitors can kick back for a free showing of the film “Goodbye Miss Fourth of July” in front of the Lollipop Shop.
Sunday’s entertainment lineup includes performances by the Crosspoint Church Praise Team, Adam Larkey Band, Jonesborough Yarn Exchange and Larry and Gayleen Kelley, beginning at noon on Doc’s Front Porch.
Throughout the festival, children will be able to have their faces painted, shovel through five tons of sand, play games and romp around in inflatables in the First Tennessee Children’s Area, located behind the Courthouse in the Stephenson Parking lot. They will also be able to tour downtown by train beginning at the festival entrance at the corner of Fox and Main streets.
For more information, call (423) 753-1010 or visit www.historicjonesborough.com.