You couldn’t call Sunday’s Open Streets event on Sevier Avenue the polar opposite of last October’s version in the same location. It was more like the equatorial opposite.
Organizer Bike Walk Knoxville held a do-over in SoKno and wound up with a beautiful sunny day – just compensation for the wintry-feeling October Open Streets that kept people away with its cold, wind and rain.
Bike Walk Knoxville president Caroline Cooley estimated that attendance was up 50 percent over the October event. Thousands strolled the one-mile course down Sevier Avenue and over to Suttree Landing Park, but the four-hour window and wealth of activity and food stops spread the crowd out so it wasn’t a crush.
Strolling was fine for some, especially little ones ensconced in covered strollers. But many chose to traverse the street on wheels – everything from inline skates and skateboards to regular bikes, recumbent bikes, three-wheelers and bikes pulling kiddie carts.
Biking was big – appropriately, since May is Bike Month. Loaner bikes were available from the Zagster and Pace Knoxville tent, while the Bike Zoo did sales, service and rentals. Echelon Bikes, on Sevier near Jones Street, had its doors open for the curious and the serious. South Knoxville Elementary School led a bike parade to Suttree Landing Park. And kids were able to get fittings and free helmets from AAA – the Automobile Group.
The street was lined with fun activities for kids and food vendors for one and all. Computer Systems Plus hosted a performance stage, and a block away Overhead Door provided both a carousel and a motorized train just for little ones.
Several Sevier Avenue businesses had goods for sale along with games and such, and Honeybee Coffee, South Coast Pizza and the Landing House were open, along with Alliance Brewery.
At least four locations had yoga activities and/or information. WUTK – 90.3 The Rock gave passersby the opportunity to DJ, an offer of which at least one reporter took advantage.
Cold water, shaved ice and frozen treats helped attendees beat the heat, and all appeared to have a good time.
Open Streets will return Sunday, Sept. 30. It will take place in North Knoxville, on Broadway from Emory Place north to Glenwood Avenue.