TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) — With COVID restrictions lifted and many Americans having received the COVID-19 vaccine, crowds are able to gather once again, and it was just in time for the Independence Day holiday.
Across the region, towns and cities hosted celebrations throughout the region, drawing out large crowds of locals and visitors alike. While it was nice to see people gathering in area downtowns once again, it was especially nice for local businesses.
“We were packed! We were packed with families, young people, older people, the fireworks were incredible and you know, I guess we’re all so hungry for that, but it was a fantastic show,” said Anne Greenfield, the owner of High Voltage in Kingsport.
Greenfield said this holiday weekend and throughout the past few weeks, she’s seen a number of new faces at High Voltage and couldn’t be happier. She said with events like the 4th of July celebration and live music downtown, it draws out a demographic that might be new to Kingsport, but after the first visit, they’ll hopefully keep coming back.
Model City Taphouse just across the street from High Voltage opened at 5 p.m. on Saturday to give people a chance to enjoy the parade and fun with their families, but after that, it was a busy evening for manager Shelton Clark.
“It was an awesome crowd; everybody was waiting for the fireworks and of course we had music from Donnie and the Dryheavers, and there was music down on Broad Street; I walked down there for a little bit and there was a great crowd there too,” Shelton said. “It was just a great vibe all around downtown.”
Crowds could be seen across the region from Kingsport to Greeneville. In Bristol, ice cream on a hot 4th of July day was the perfect treat, and a lot of people seemed to have the same thinking and stopped in The Southern Churn on State Street.
“Business was booming following that 4th of July analogy; it just really fit that atmosphere and with the parade going on, there was just a large crowd of people coming in and it was just kind of nice because you get not only locals but people coming from all over the place,” said shift leader at The Southern Churn, Tommy Rivera.
Greeneville Tennessee hosted its 9th annual America Downtown featuring a nighttime parade and fireworks and town spokesperson, Amy Rose, said she believes it was the largest crowd to date.
“I had never seen a crowd that large, especially at our parade; I think it was so nice to see everybody come out and just want to spend time together,” said Rose.
Jonesborough also had a festival that stretched from Friday to Sunday night, full of live music, local vendors, and more. While fireworks were the finale for these events, events, in general, are coming back and organizers say this was just the beginning of the summer.