ABOVE: The crowds started building early at Saturday’s Main Street Festival, and was soon elbow to elbow as ideal weather brought out both residents of Franklin and visitors alike. // Photo by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
After five of them had driven from Chicago the day before, a group of six women sporting green T-shirts that said Girls Weekend 2019 arrived at the 36th Annual Main Street Festival not long after it opened Saturday in downtown Franklin.
It was the start of another regular gathering the group has stuck with since the six became friends some 21 years ago. Five of the women — two each from Wisconsin and Illinois and one from Arizona — traveled Friday to the Franklin home of Janie Ward, who moved here in July 2018.
Their weekend plans included a visit to Leiper’s Fork Distillery and Arrington Vineyards Saturday, Sunday breakfast at the Loveless Café and then honky-tonking later in downtown Nashville.
But soaking up the sights and sounds of Main Street Festival on a perfect sunny day was the launch of their fun.
“We have been friends since around 1998,” Ward said. “We have gotten together every Christmas for the past 20 years. We try and get together three of four times a year. We’ve gone out to Arizona, we’ve taken trips together. I just moved here, so they all got a van and drove down [Friday] from Chicago. We’ve been there for each other … in sickness and in health. Today, we’re all healthy and here we are.”
In some ways, the group was perhaps a microcosm of the thousands of other visitors to the opening day of the annual spring festival hosted by the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County. Many were visitors from elsewhere, some were new residents of Williamson County getting the experience of the festival for the first time, and some had made Main Street a tradition.
“We come here every year,” said Schuyler Crowe, who was with her husband, Joey Crowe. “We also come to Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas. We just love downtown Franklin.”
The weather was tailor-made for the festival, and disruptions were virtually nil.
“We’ve had one lost child, and his mother located him pretty fast,” said Tim Wait, a Franklin Police volunteer who was working with another volunteer, Bob Selph. “Oh, we might see a couple of dogs get in a fight, but it’s pretty calm otherwise.”
Added Selph: “The main question we get is, where is the closest restroom?”
The Main Street Festival, presented by First Tennessee Bank, continues Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
There is limited parking downtown (no street parking within the festival footprint). Franklin Transit will offer shuttle services to and from Main Street Festival. Shuttle rides are $1 per person each way and will be available both days.
All Franklin Transit vehicles are ADA accessible. No pets (except certified service dogs), non-folding strollers, or food and drink except bottled water are permitted on the trolleys. Franklin Transit pickup locations will be the Park at Harlinsdale Farm on both Saturday and Sunday and Church of the City on Saturday only. For handicap accessible parking, please use the Second and Fourth Avenue garages or Franklin Transit’s Park & Ride service.
Click HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS of the 2019 Main Street Festival.
Sunday schedule of entertainment
11:00 am – Histown Dance Academy
11:30 am – Grassland Dance Academy
12:00 pm – Stage Right School of Performing Arts
12:30 pm – ROOTS Music & Dance Academy
1:30 pm – Rocky Top Revue
2:30 pm – Carly Moffa
3:15 pm – Nalani & Josh
4:00 pm – The Rische’s featuring Lillie Mae
4:45 pm – Dawn Beyer
GSRM Acoustic Corner Stage (Landmark Booksellers parking lot)
11:30 am – Anthony Panagopoulos
12:30 am – Hailey Dawn
1:30 pm – Alayna Carroll
2:30 pm – Anthony Michael
3:30 pm – Kristen Cothron