As many locals of the Tri-Cities know, the Blue Plum festival is coming up this weekend. This Johnson City jubilee that started out as a block party has been bringing folks together for over a decade with this year being the 13th annual celebration of arts, music, and local crafts. There are tons of things going on like a 5k, a rugby tournament, corn hole, and the Urban Art Throwdown. However, here at TriCitiesNights.com, we are more concerned with what happens after the sun goes down. For myself, I am mostly concerned that I can walk down the street with a beer in my hand…just sayin’. My tips and top picks for the weekend:
1) Show me the money! Before you make your way downtown, be sure to stop by an ATM. While this is a free festival, most street vendors accept CASH ONLY so bring lots of it! Thank you Caitlin Chapman-Rambo for this tip! Also, Caitlin recommends wearing comfortable shoes and to be prepared to wait in line and make friends with a diverse mix of people. No stilettos for me this weekend.
2) Make your Blue Plum Green! This year the Blue Plum will reward the first 100 bike riders with a free t-shirt and bike lock. Not only will you be doing something good for the environment, but also parking is going to be plum ridiculous with certain parking lots closed and/or blocked off and you don’t want to risk getting your car towed! Also, JC Bike Party and ETSU’s Yellow Bike Program will be hanging out on the grassy knoll by Schmucks to help teach you how to fix common issues with your Schwinn or Mongoose. Speaking of Schmucks, after you burn all those calories from biking, stop in and try one of their Chicago style deep-dish pizzas. I hear the garlic knots are pretty tasty too. Can we say SCHWINNING?!
3) Speaking of food, after the last songs have been sung and the vendors have closed up shop, the party is still not over. Late night sneaky snacks at Mid City Grill are always a good choice for the late night munchies and will stay open until 5am Friday and Saturday. Mid City always has something up its sleeve as far as new tasty treats goes. It is the only place I’ve ever had chocolate covered bacon with jalapenos on a stick… It was interesting, but I like to stick to my usual of biscuits and gravy with home fries. Specials for Blue Plum will include the Pat LaFrieda burger, the Heater, fried pickles, and sweet potato fries. YUMZ.
4) Time is of the essence! The Rotting plum at The Hideaway is always a winner in my book, but get there early. As many of my friends can tell you, I take being “fashionably late” to the next level and thoroughly regretted it last year at Blue Plum when I was only able to enjoy the last couple songs from Cutthroat Shamrock’s set. These rowdy souls will be gracing Johnson City with their presence again this year on Saturday and it is a show you DON’T want to miss. Other acts to check out here are the Red County Gospel and Of Sea and Shore on Friday and Scullsoup who is scheduled to perform after Cutthroat Shamrock on Saturday.
5) Get your second wind along with Folk Soul Revival and The Whiskey Gentry at Capone’s. If one show wasn’t enough, things are sure to get crazy with a double dose of FSR Friday night. The last time I saw these guys play, their “congregation” packed the entire bar and I could barely squeeze my way through the crowd. They are definitely one of the best local bands and bring an awesome energy to every stage they step foot on. One of my favorite bartenders in JC, Travis Mullins, will be keeping things in line while serving up all your favorite summertime beverages.
6) And as always, drinking and driving (or bicycling) is just Plum silly! So after all is said and done, call up your D.D., your mom, or Trinity Taxi, the official Blue Plum taxi service!
Can’t wait to see you all on the streets! Cheers, Nena