The countdown in East Tennessee happening as we’re less than a day away from celebrating veterans. If you’ve been on Gay Street, you’ve likely seen crews preparing for Knoxville’s 93rd annual Veterans Day Parade.
Participants are set to march as a way to honor those who’ve served our country. We visited downtown businesses to see what kind of traffic an event like this can bring in.
For six weeks now, Gay Street has been home to Knoxville Soap, Candle and Gifts.
“I pulled in this morning and saw all the flags,” said owner Jodi Bowlin.
Bowlin says she’s excited about the Veterans Day Parade because it brings in new faces, “When events happen downtown, it makes a huge impact on retail and I’m just so grateful to be downtown and be part of it. You can see everybody coming out and they’re looking for new places and discovering new shops like mine.”
City leaders say this isn’t just any event, Knoxville’s Veterans Day Parade ranks 10th largest in the U.S.
“It’s just a lot of wonderful opportunities for people to showcase Knoxville and showcase Gay Street and all that we have to offer here,” said Judith Foltz, Office of Special Events Director for the City of Knoxville.
Small businesses say events like this are a big help to the downtown economy. At Frussies Deli and Bakery, they’ve experienced that kind of success over the last four years.
“It’s probably up 25 to 30-percent on a day that there’s a parade or event going on downtown,” said owner Jay Brandon.
He says beyond that, it’s a chance to welcome those who may not usually come downtown, “Part of the reason we moved from South Knoxville to downtown was to be closer to community centered events.”
A headsup to downtown drivers, there will be a temporary parking bans along sections of Gay Street, Church Avenue, Wall Avenue, Market Street and Union Avenue. Cars still parked along Gay Street before 9am will be towed and by 10:30 a.m. the road will be closed to traffic.
The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. on Friday at the Knoxville Coliseum. The route going down Gay Street. WATE 6 On Your Side is a proud sponsor of the parade, if you can’t make it out, you’ll be able to watch it live on our website.