Wild Blue Yonder sets feet a’patting in Clayton Park

Sandra ClarkFeature, Halls

We did it and there’s no going back.

Clayton Park, 12 acres on Norris Freeway in the heart of Halls, has been under-utilized since its completion. The land was purchased by the community through Legacy Parks Foundation. The park was built by Knox County Parks & Recreation, led by then-director Doug Bataille.

This summer some business leaders formed an ad hoc group called Halls Proud. We linked with Knox County government to co-sponsor a movie night in July and a bluegrass concert by Wild Blue Yonder on Sept. 15. We’ve laid claim to the third Saturday and hope to sponsor free events at Clayton Park each month, starting in the spring.

But wait!

Just as we settled on spring, Steve Petrone from Marco’s Pizza suggested a trunk or treat event for October. My, my. The logistics could be overwhelming.

But the point is to have fun and connect with neighbors.

We estimated 150 to 200 people at Saturday’s concert. And while most sat in lawn chairs or under the park’s pavilion, others ambled through the crowd, renewing friendships and back-slapping.

There are many people to thank.

Jennifer Goodpaster of our KnoxTNToday.com staff was a coordinator, along with Deanna Lowery from Halls Service Center Tire Pros.

Captain Jim Wright from the Sheriff’s Office secured deputies to handle traffic control on Norris Freeway. Clayton Park has 72 parking spaces, and those were quickly filled. Rural Metro Fire provided a shuttle to move folks who parked at the shopping center across Norris Freeway.

Jeff Bagwell from Rural Metro Fire also sponsored an information booth, helped with marketing expenses and donated a great door prize.

Deanna and David Lowery gave away “swag” with the Halls Service Center logo. Chris Mynatt was there from Halls Cleaners. Darren Cardwell from Hallsdale Powell Utility District brought a generator, portable lighting and a flatbed truck for the stage.

Sue Walker from Tindell’s offered free water (she popped pop corn for the movie night).

Wild Blue Yonder gave us a discounted price to perform, and food trucks from Smoky Mountain Kona Ice and Holy Smokin’ BBQ sold sandwiches and cold drinks. Food City, Red Devil Crossfit and Pioneer Heating & Air were sponsors as well.

We may do it next year as Halls Proud or through the Halls Business & Professional Association. We’ll let you know. And anyone who can help us is invited.

How much does it cost to throw a free party for 150? About $1,000 with all-volunteer labor. Think it over, and if you can help this year or next, call me (661-8777) or one of the people mentioned in the story.

Here are the September door prize winners:

  • Charles Allen (37938) won Rural Metro Fire annual membership
  • Wanda Hensley (37938) won Halls Service Center Tire Pros oil change
  • Sue Nipper (37849) won Halls Service Center Tire Pros alignment
  • Hugh Newsom (37938) won Marco’s Pizza free party for 15
  • Mark Clabough (no zip code) won two-pack of Wild Blue Yonder CDs
  • Connie Ellison (37716) won $25 Food City gift card from KnoxTNToday.com
  • Betty Weaver (37917) won $25 Food City gift card from KnoxTNToday.com
  • Betty Weaver (37917) won $50 Walmart gift card from Tindell’s
  • Mariya Tanasov (37918) won $25 gift certificate from Halls Cleaners (It was her birthday!)

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