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Annual downtown festival to encourage environment-friendly fun

Jennifer Sprouse • May 14, 2012 at 10:05 AM

While our Plum festival is usually Blue, this year organizers said they’re going green.

With its title sponsor, Blue Moon, providing biodegradable festival cups, the Blue Plum Festival has taken another positive environmental step forward by encouraging those attending the festivities to break out their bicycles and pedal downtown this year.

David Pennington, Friends of Olde Downtown executive director, said while they are trying to get back to the grassroots of festivals and hope to make people more environmentally conscious, biking to the event does have its perks for willing participants.

“You get a free T-shirt if you ride in on your bike,” Pennington said. “The JC Bike Party, which is one of our organizations with Friends of the Olde Downtown ... they’re involved in helping organize it.”

The Blue Plum staff has set up a tent area strictly for bike parking behind the Main Street Stage near the intersection of Tipton and Buffalo streets.

If you’re worried about how safe it is to park your bike at the festival, Pennington said the bikes will be looked after. “We’ve designated a secure area within the festival,” he said. “There will be eyes on that area all the time.”

For those coming from out of town, there’s still an opportunity for them to participate in the biking festivities.

Pennington said the Johnson City-Washington County-Jonesborough Chamber of Commerce gave the festival organizers permission to use the General Mills Building on West Walnut Street as a parking lot for festival-goers who would like to ride their bikes into the festival, but live too far away to ride in.

The newly built State of Franklin Bikeway/Greenway is now available for those interested in riding their bikes from General Mills on to the festival.

Pennington said they are expecting around 100 people to be rolling into the Plum festivities on their bikes, and said he feels as though people are embracing the idea of using alternative transportation this year.

“Everybody that I’ve talked to has had nothing but positive remarks about it,” Pennington said.

For more information about the “My Blue Plum is Green” initiative or about the festival, visit www.blueplum.org.

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