The Friends of Olde Downtowne announced Monday a new director of the Blue Plum Festival, as well as a new day and time for this weekend’s annual Christmas Parade.
Brandi Woodall, owner of Positive Approach Events and VENUE at the King Centre, will be replacing David Pennington as director of the 14th Annual Blue Plum Festival and First Friday. She will assume her new role at the beginning of January.
“We’re very exited to add a little something the festival, First Fridays. Very excited just to build on that and represent the Friends to the best of our ability,” Woodall said.
Woodall said she plans on seeking more sponsorships for First Friday events and adding more music to the lineup as a way to capitalize on the many positive changes that are happening in downtown Johnson City.
“I think by the end of this year, we were starting to see more foot traffic downtown, so I think the biggest is consistency and, of course, getting the word out far in advance so that people know that things are going on,” she said.
As a downtown business owner, Woodall said she sees her new role as an important part of the revitalization efforts that are underway in downtown Johnson City.
“Events bring people, people spend money and money is what you need to revitalize, so I think if you look at any larger metropolitan area that has truly experienced revitalization they have a very big calendar of events. ... People come to expect that they are a destination and so we have always said that we feel like downtown Johnson City could be and should be a destination and so that’s my goal,” she said.
Friends of Olde Downtowne is responsible for First Friday events, the Blue Plum Festival and the annual Christmas Parade.
The Christmas Parade, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, will be taking place during the day this year as opposed to a night event associated with First Friday.
Washington County Economic Development Council Director of Redevelopment and Friends of Olde Downtowne board member Shannon Castillo said city officials and local law enforcement recommended this year’s parade become a daytime event in order for safety reasons.
“We’re concerned with safety as well and we hope that a lot of people will still come out and enjoy a day parade,” Castillo said.
The new staging area will open at 2:30 p.m. on West State of Franklin Road at University Parkway prior to the start of the parade. The parade procession will move east toward downtown, turn left onto Buffalo Street before traveling through the 200 and 300 blocks of East Main Street.
The parade will end at the intersection of East Main and Legion streets. It will last about 90 minutes.