By Alex Gladu, IWS Content Team
Every city has its Main Street, and every Main Street is known for something. Whether it’s the local cuisine or the talented street performers, a community’s charm and identity can always be found in its historic downtown district of shops, restaurants and parks. This summer, Main Streets across the country will host festivals, concerts, parades and more to celebrate what makes the community unique. These events are usually free and open to the public, and they’re always an annual favorite for locals and visitors alike.
Blue Plum Festival
June 6-8, 2014
Johnson City, Tennessee
Named for a rural post office that served the area in the 1800s, the Blue Plum Festival actually has nothing to do with fruit. Rather, it’s a 3-day outdoor music and arts event that showcases the continuing improvements made to Johnson City’s downtown area. The event is free and open to the public, and it features live music, urban art competitions, roller derby and more for its more than 80,000 attendees. Find out more at www.blueplum.org.
Salem Arts Festival
June 6-8, 2014
A quiet, New England town once known for its mysterious witches, Salem is home to a growing downtown district filled with vibrant places, people and entertainment. The up-and-coming atmosphere of downtown Salem is the work of Salem Main Streets, a publicly funded association that hosts the Salem Arts Festival each year. The festival showcases local artists of all ages and all mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, writing, film, poetry, dance and more. The event caters to professional artists, long-time art patrons, families and children of all ages, and it typically draws crowds of more 4,000 visitors.
Lebanon Country Music Festival
June 14, 2014
Although it’s about 300 miles north of Nashville, Lebanon, Ohio, boasts a rocking country music scene for local residents. The Lebanon Country Music Festival (pictured) is a day full of performances by local country musicians, including members of the Lebanon Grand Opry House. A second stage will hold kid-friendly activities, like a karaoke Country Idol Competition and a country line dancing demonstration. For the adult crowd, the event will include a beer garden and a mechanical bull. To see the full lineup and schedule of events, visit www.historicdowntownlebanon.com.
Billings Strawberry Festival
June 14, 2014
The Billings Strawberry Festival celebrates the transition from spring to summer with all things strawberry. The day starts with a pancake breakfast and continues with all-day entertainment, shopping, food and children’s activities. The grand finale features the making and cutting of a giant strawberry shortcake, making this one event you won’t want to leave early from. Stay updated about the event by visiting www.downtownbillings.com.
June 18-22, 2014
AthFest in downtown Athens, Georgia, is all about the kids. Held every year by a local nonprofit called AthFest Educates, the weekend-long event raises money for music and arts education programs in local schools. The festival features music by local bands and an artist market showcasing local artwork. This year, AthFest will release an album of the musical performances exclusively on vinyl. As a fundraiser, the event does charge an admission fee, but tickets and vinyl albums can purchased online at the AthFest Educates website.
Whether you live on one of these Main Streets, or you’re looking for a new stop on your annual road trip, these festivals are sure to bring out the best in the community. In case you can’t make it, be on the lookout for more information about Main Street festivals to be held in July!