"October Sky" showing to headline first day of SouthFest

"October Sky" showing to headline first day of SouthFest

Posted:
The festival will take place April 12-13. The festival will take place April 12-13.
"It will bring people out here and see what we have to offer. Emery 5&10, we have a lot of tourists coming in. We have a lot of fun things people drive from Knoxville to see," owner Ron Emery said. "It will bring people out here and see what we have to offer. Emery 5&10, we have a lot of tourists coming in. We have a lot of fun things people drive from Knoxville to see," owner Ron Emery said.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Organizers are sharing new information about an event aimed at helping struggling South Knoxville businesses.  

SouthFest is being organized by Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and will take place April 12-13. There will be live music, a car show and activities for children.

With just two weeks before the event begins, officials are hoping to get the word out that South Knoxville is open for business, despite the closure of the Henley Bridge. 

The mayor's office has been planning the event for months; Mayor Burchett refers to SouthFest as, "one big cash mob." 

As of Thursday, there were just 15 days until the beginning of SouthFest. It's a countdown Ron Emery, the owner Emery 5&10, is looking forward to.

"It will bring people out here and see what we have to offer. Emery 5&10, we have a lot of tourists coming in. We have a lot of fun things people drive from Knoxville to see," Emery said.  

The event was created to encourage people to visit South Knoxville and the businesses there, but with the latest idea, Mayor Burchett and his staff hope to bring in more people. 

SouthFest will now feature an outdoor screening of the movie October Sky. The 1999 movie has a local tie - it was filmed in Knoxville.

The movie will be shown at 8:30 p.m. March 13 in the parking lot adjacent to the Knox County Public Library's South Knoxville Branch.

"It's a movie that was filmed here. It's about a kid wanting to be an astronaut. A lot of locals here, I even met the stars when they came here," said Mayor Burchett. 

South Knoxville merchants say they've been meeting weekly to help plan the event.

"Hopefully, we'll make this an annual event. We will try to go from one event to another to try to create publicity for this area," said Fathi Hussain, the co-owner of Wee Care. 

SouthFest is trying to capitalize on other efforts to help business struggling by the bridge closure. The city and county recently paid to help market the business.  

The city worked with TDOT to install eight signs on nearby roadways to direct drivers to the South Knoxville business district.

Fathi Hussain, the owner of Wee Care, says the signs have guided several customers to his store.

"They say, 'We see new signs put up, we just wanted to drive and see what was going on'," Hussain said. 

It's not just government helping out. Lamar Advertising is displaying SouthFest advertisements on its electronic billboards at no cost.

"We appreciate any help from anybody," said Emery.

The music headliner is yet to be determined, but the county mayor's office says there will be a big music announcement made on live radio on Monday morning.  

State Sen. Becky Duncan-Massey says she met with Gov. Bill Haslam last week about help for South Knoxville businesses.  

Massey says Haslam was responsive to providing help, and she is confident the business will get some help from the state before the end of the legislative session, perhaps through a state marketing grant.

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