The celebration returns to downtown June 7-8 and will span from Founders Park to Commerce Street. The Ballad Health Main Stage can be found in the same location as last year in the Market Street Lot adjacent to Market and Commerce Streets, while the Wild Wing Cafe Stage will be stationed in the amphitheater of Founders Park.
All arts and crafts vendors will be posted inside the Farmers Market Pavilion, and festivalgoers can visit Commerce Street for all food vendors.
New to the festival this year will be some interactive experiences located along with the kids’ zone on the lawn of Founders Park.
“We have some really fun games and hands-on activities planned this year for both adults and children that we’ve never done before,” said Dr. Caroline Abercrombie, vice president of the Blue Plum Organization and festival director.
“We always want to keep the focus of the festival on the local fellowship, music and arts, but the addition of these new experiences has the potential to attract hundreds more to downtown for the event from all over the Tri-Cities.”
More information will be released to the public regarding those details in coming weeks, as well as the final music lineup.
The Blue Plum Festival originated in 1999 as a street fair organized by the Friends of Olde Downtown and has grown exponentially over time, but the emphasis has and always will be on bringing together the people within the community.
Until the arrival of the new railroad in the 1850s, Johnson City was a small village of 600 known as “Blue Plum.” Henry Johnson, the village postmaster, had the foresight to set up a water tank for incoming trains as well as a post office, lodging for travelers and the first depot in the area.
By 1869, the community had been renamed “Johnson’s Depot,” and Johnson himself had been unanimously elected as its first mayor. His efforts in building along the railroad connected this tiny corner of Appalachia to the rest of the country, bringing in diversity, culture and jobs to the area that otherwise would have slipped past.
“This festival honors what Henry Johnson did for the town and aims to continue uniting its people through the arts and stimulating the local economy,” Abercrombie said.
“We couldn’t do this without the help of our amazing community, planning committee, volunteers and partners, Johnson City Run Club, YPTri and the Johnson City Otters soccer league. With our powers combined, this year promises to be the most innovative and exciting festival to date.”