KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Due to safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the city of Knoxville is no longer hosting its annual Festival on the 4th.
However, the city came up with an alternative way to celebrate Independence Day as a community: the Neighborhood Trails of Red, White and Blue.
The event starts Friday morning and ends on Sunday.
Six neighborhoods across the city will open their roadways to anyone who wants to see patriotic displays and homes or apartments decorated in red, white and blue.
On Saturday at 1 p.m., city officials, including Mayor Indya Kincannon, will head out in a decorated caravan, like a miniature parade, through those neighborhoods and vote on three categories: best decorated home, best decorated neighborhood and most patriotic neighborhood.
One of the grand prizes is a brand new grill.
The city also scheduled a flyover to start at 1 p.m., weather permitting.
With the event just a few days away, some residents were starting to decorate.
Gail Frank, assistant administrator for the Northwest Hills Neighborhood watch, said she was the one who volunteered her neighborhood to participate.
Frank wasn’t finished decorating her home just yet, and not too many homes in her neighborhood were decked out either.
“Hopefully there’s going to be a lot more decorating, but it’s early and we still have a ton to do. We just kind of quickly set this up, and we’re going to decorate at the corner and make it look very nice when the parade comes through,” Frank said.
She said her and her husband hand-crafted most of their decorations, which took them about an entire month to make.
Frank said she was having a blast preparing for the weekend’s parade of judges and Knoxville residents through her neighborhood.
She was happy that the city decided to host some type of event after canceling the Festival on the 4th.
“It’s unfortunate we can’t have fireworks this year, so we’ve got to do something else and just show our patriotism and love of this country,” Frank said.
She knows more neighbors will participate before the weekend.
Some of her neighbors in Northwest Hills already started, including Jessica Allen.
Allen bought most of her 4th of July decorations online, and they only took her and her husband about 30 minutes to set up.
She was also excited about the idea of the community still celebrating Independence Day while staying at a safe distance.
“It will get people out of the house, so hopefully people will want to you know just get out of their house, drive around. They don’t have to worry about being exposed to anybody or anything like that. Just stay in safety of their car,” Allen said.
Frank hopes a good portion of the city will come out to see their handy work and celebrate the holiday.
“I want everybody to know there’s going to be fire trucks and police cars, and the mayor’s coming by and a decorated parade. I mean, please come out and decorate and show the mayor that we love our neighborhood, because we do,” Frank said.
The parade will start at 1 p.m. Saturday at the city’s Safety Building on Howard Baker Jr. Avenue and head to the Riverhill Gateway neighborhood first.
The parade will then travel to 4th and Gill, Old North Knox, Historic Gibbs, Northwest Hills and end at Sherill Hills Retirement Resort in that order.
The city will announce the competition winners around 3 p.m. or 4 p.m.
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