See hot-air balloons, eat free ice cream, pay no sales tax in Chattanooga area this weekend

·6 min read

Jul. 28—Free ice cream, hot-air balloons and a sales tax holiday highlight the weekend. Here's a look.

— Free ice cream is on the menu Thursday at the Mayfield Visitor Center, 4 Mayfield Lane, in Athens, Tennessee. Mayfield Dairy Farms is celebrating National Ice Cream Month with free single scoops of any flavor from noon to 5 p.m. Other activities include games, face painting and photos with Maggie the Mayfield cow. The plant's public tours, paused during the pandemic, are set to resume Aug. 16.

— The Comedy Catch, 29 Station St., has scheduled extra days to bring the laughs. Thursday is a Ones To Watch Comedy Showcase, featuring up-and-comers from Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville and Los Angeles. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. with a $12 ticket. Friday and Saturday's headliner is Jay Stevens. Catch him at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m.; tickets are $16 and $18. Wednesday is Open Mic Night for regional talents. The show starts at 7:30 with a $5 ticket.

— Nightfall goes high and lonesome Friday as two traditional bluegrass bands take the stage at Miller Plaza, 850 Market St. Chattanooga's New Dismembered Tennesseans will warm up the crowd at 7 p.m. before the headlining Po Ramblin' Boys take the stage at 8 p.m. Food trucks, artisans and family games will be set up across M.L. King Boulevard at Miller Park, and the Lookout Wild Film Festival will play an hour of short adventure films when the music ends, around 9:45 p.m. Free admission.

— Back-to-School Bash: One in a series of fifth Friday street fairs, this event is scheduled 5-9 p.m. Friday in downtown Athens, Tennessee. Most activities will be centered on Washington Avenue and Jackson Street near the McMinn County Courthouse. Kids' activities will include a visit by the Let's Read 20 Bus, games and free ice cream with Mayfield Dairy Farms and a walk-up Mini Olympian Games with competitions in hurdles, shot put, discus and long jump. The band Hardaway Sisters and Friends, with special guests Josh Bragg and Ronisha Walker, will entertain at 5 and 7 p.m. The pop-up theater troupe Shakespeare in a Pinch will present a version of "As You Like It," called "Half As You Like It," in Pocket Park at 6:15 and 8 p.m. Merchants will award door prizes.

— The Arts Avenue, 1800 Rossville Ave., welcomes Emi Sunshine and Parker Millsap in separate shows this weekend. Sunshine, a 17-year-old phenom from Madisonville, Tennessee, was named by Rolling Stone in 2017 among the "10 country artists you need to know." She plays Friday; tickets are $20. Oklahoman Millsap, who plays a blend of blues, country, rock, Americana and folk music, is scheduled Saturday; tickets are $15. Both shows start at 7 p.m.

— Museum Center at Five Points, 200 E. Inman St., Cleveland, Tennessee, has three events scheduled this weekend. Friday features an outdoor screening of "Wild River," which was filmed in Bradley County. The 1960 film, which stars Montgomery Clift and Lee Remick, is a fictionalized account of the Tennessee Valley Authority's efforts to buy land from a reluctant landowner before the valley is flooded by dams. The movie starts at 9 p.m.; bring your own seating and snacks. Saturday opens with Coffee With a Curator at 10 a.m. Tyler L. Boyd will discuss the role his great-great-uncle Harry T. Burn played in the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. Regular admission applies: $9 adults, $3.50 children 4-17. Family Day follows from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with children's activities, storytime (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.) and trunk shows (noon and 2 p.m.). Admission is free for kids, $3.50 for adults.

— Balloon glows: Tethered hot-air balloons will be inflated and illuminated 5:30-9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting, at Camp Jordan, 323 Camp Jordan Parkway, East Ridge. Admission is per vehicle: $20 general and handicap, $50 VIP. Tethered rides are $25 per person. Prices are more at the gate. Bring lawn chairs to enjoy the balloon spectacle, music and other activities.

— Sales tax holidays: Two of Tennessee's sales tax holidays start at 12:01 a.m. Friday. Clothes, computers and school supplies will be tax-free through 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Groceries and restaurant meals will be free of sales tax for a week, through 11:59 p.m. Aug. 5. A yearlong tax holiday, this one on gun safes and safety devices, continues through June 30, 2022.

— Riverfront Nights, set for Saturday at Ross's Landing, 100 Riverfront Parkway, features rockabilly party band Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys as the headliners, with Chattanooga rock/twang duo Rye Baby opening at 7 p.m. Mead is best known as a co-founder of the alt-country band BR-549 and as musical director of the Broadway musical "Million Dollar Quartet" and its companion CMT show "Sun Records." Admission is free.

— The Signal, 1810 Chestnut St., will welcome folk-rocker Corey Smith on Saturday. Smith is a particular favorite of locals for his "Live in Chattanooga" album of 2012. Singer/songwriter Levi Lowrey will open the show at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $30-$60.

— Chattanooga Red Wolves, a men's professional soccer team, will play Wisconsin's Forward Madison FC at 7 p.m. Saturday at CHI Memorial Stadium, 1 Stadium Way. Tickets start at $14.

— Battle of Athens: A parade and festival Saturday will mark the 75th anniversary of this armed revolt of Aug. 1-2, 1946, that drew national attention to McMinn County after returning World War II veterans overtook the corrupt politicians who stole the ballot boxes after a local election. Among the festival activities is a competition in which contestants will leap small hurdles, hit a cornhole target, Hula Hoop and throw an ax for a chance to win $200; sign-ups have a $20 entry fee. Activities are scheduled 5-9 p.m. at Athens Regional Park, 2405 Decatur Pike.

— Sounds of Summer, a biweekly concert series in Athens, Tennessee, will feature Jason Eskridge, a Rockwood, Tennessee, native making his way in Nashville as a soul revivalist. His performance starts at 7 p.m. on the Market Park Pavilion Stage, 106 S. Jackson St. Free admission.

— Chattanooga Lookouts, the Double A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, will be back at AT&T Field, 201 Power Alley, next week, Aug. 3-8, for a six-game home series against the Rocket City Trash Pandas. The first games of the week start at 7:15 p.m. with promotions that include buy-one, get-one tickets with a Food City ValuCard on Tuesday and a Chick-fil-A freebie given away via app during Wednesday's game. Tickets are $6-$11.

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281.

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