Johnson City’s annual Blue Plum Festival typically brings an estimated 80,000 people to the streets of downtown to enjoy three days of music, food and fun.
With more than 1,100 parking spaces located in the downtown area around the festival grounds, festival director Brandi Woodall said there will be plenty of parking options for festival-goers this weekend.
Public parking lots that sit on either side of Main Street near Commerce Street will be open, in addition to the Cherry Street parking lot and the Downtown Square parking lot, which was closed last year for the Urban Art Throwdown.
Northeast State Community College also will be opening the parking garage at the Downtown Centre during the festival, adding even more parking spaces for the public.
“We do have some more parking with the addition of the parking garage, and honestly, the parking garage has always been open; it’s just that a lot of people didn’t utilize it,” Woodall said.
The Downtown Centre parking garage will be accessible from Buffalo Street, but Woodall said the facility, which is in the midst of renovations, is not handicapped accessible.
Beginning today at 5 p.m., festival organizers will be closing off much of the downtown area as volunteers begin setting up the various stages for the weekend.
Road closures include portions of Buffalo, South Roan, East Main, Market, Tipton and Spring streets.
Street parking outside the areas that are closed off will remain open, but Woodall said drivers need to pay attention to parking signs, particularly in private parking areas.
“I will caution people if there is a sign that says private parking, adhere to that sign and that warning. If it says ‘don’t park,’ don’t park,” she said.
The festival will kick off at 11 a.m. Friday, and parking is first-come, first-served, so Woodall said the earlier people can find a spot, the better off they will be, especially as the entertainment begins at 4:15 p.m.
“The music on the main stage starts a little after 4, so at 5 o’clock a lot of people will be heading downtown directly after getting off work, so if you can get off work early, I suggest getting down here as early as you can,” she said.