By LISA WHALEY
The party is still on.
Jonesborough’s July 4th Block Party, set for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., will kick off as planned this weekend, with just a few changes, according to Town Special Events Coordinator Melinda Copp.
“It’s still going to be a big push for merchant support,” Copp said late Monday as they worked to finalize event details. “Come downtown and support your favorite businesses.”
The event, set to take place throughout downtown, is not intended to take the place of Jonesborough Days, which has been postponed until next year, but instead to provide a safer atmosphere during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic for residents to support local merchants, according to Copp.
With current challenges, that support is more important than ever, she added.
Still, maintaining an appropriate measure of safety has provided some challenges.
“Cases are rising in our area,” she said. “Everyone is just a little concerned. We’re trying to figure out exactly what we need to do.”
With that in mind, Copp said, some earlier ideas have been discarded, like a water play area for kids and adding more tables to the downtown.
Others, she said, are still on track, with a promise of lots of bargains and fun.
“Throughout downtown you’ll also find street performers, family-friendly activities and other happenings.”
One activity Copp is especially excited about involves old-fashioned sidewalk chalk.
“We are also going to have chalk to hand out to families,” she explained. “We are going to make 10-foot sections (in the street) with one section and one pack of chalk per family.”
Families can have fun together decorating downtown with something patriotic, fun or cheerful, all while maintaining a safe distance as recommended in the Tennessee Pledge.
And don’t forget the first-ever Drive-In Movie Night, kicking off Friday.
“The movies start this Friday night and will continue every Friday in July,” Copp said. Visit the Main Street Jonesborough Facebook page or call 753-1010 for more information.
Other fun Saturday will be supplied by the merchants themselves, as they open their doors, move out onto the sidewalks and, in some cases, even offer up some additional space behind their stores.
“We’re excited about the block party and we are hopeful,” said Gabe Eveland, owner of the new Tennessee Tails Pet Boutique downtown. “We want people to come out and be safe so we are encouraging to do the safe practices that the CDC recommends. We will have social distancing in place for anything we do.”
He promises sidewalk sales and carnival games at Saturday’s event.
Other merchants, like Ben Dean at Jonesborough’s Barrel House is promising sort of a mini-Jonesborough Days behind the Barrel House with vendors and music until 10 p.m.
Other businesses have their own sales, games, and sometimes music planned, according to Copp.
“Each business can do what they feel is best,” she explained. That includes, she stressed, any business that doesn’t feel comfortable opening yet.
“We completely understand that,” she said. “Each business can act accordingly.”
That includes area residents. Supporting local businesses is the key, but if a family isn’t able to come down Saturday, consider shopping online or visiting at a quieter time, she said.
“We have some fun things planned,” Eveland said. “It is certainly no replacement for Jonesborough Days. But I think it’s very positive considering everything that is going on and as long as we stay safe, it’s going to be a great event.”