GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – You couldn’t have specially ordered better weather for the return of festivals to the region. The 18th annual Wayne Scott Strawberry Festival and 26th annual Iris Festival kicked off Saturday to fanfare after cancellations last year.
“It is exciting to be out of the house and just be able to see people and touch people for a change,” said Iris Festival attendee Shonate Good.
“I think everyone’s having fun, glad to be out,” said Steve Scott of Scott’s Farm Market.
The Strawberry Festival is named for Scott’s Father, Wayne Scott.
The festivals featured a bit of everything, including live music, local vendors and car shows.
Both festivals drew large crowds.
“I have been coming here every year since I’ve moved here and I have never seen it this busy, this big, this big of a turnout, I think people are just really happy that things are opening back up finally,” said Madison Jones, Iris Festival attendee.
“We are absolutely overwhelmed with the size of the crowd today,” said Kathy Bullen, Mayor of Town of Unicoi. “I think what we’re seeing today is the heart of the people that live in our region. They want to be out and be part of the community and participate in something meaningful.”
“We knew, we thought based on social media that we would have good attendance, we didn’t know it was going to be this big. Basing on estimates we’ve had at least 6, 7 thousand people,” said Jeff Taylor, President of CEO of the Greene County Partnership.
Both organizers and attendees alike said they hope this sets the tone for the summer and beyond.
“I hope this is kind of setting the standard for future Iris Festivals and I think with just the amount of turnout people are kind of seeing how big of a community Greeneville actually is,” said Jones.
The Strawberry Festival only lasted one day, but the Iris Festival will be held again on Sunday.