Knoxville (WVLT) - It's the largest Labor Day fireworks show in the nation, and we're just days away from the 20th anniversary of Boomsday. Organizers say Sunday night's show will be bigger, better, and, of course, boomier than ever.
Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy has more on what's new, but more importantly, how to get there with all the road closings.
Organizers and police say the best tool isn't a map, but your patience, and get there early because there's much new to do.
Boomsday puts fire in sky, but it also lights the fire in Calhoun's kitchen.
"It basically triples our business," Charlie Orr from Calhoun's said.
And it's not just the Taste of Tennessee that packs customers in the seats.
"This is where you want to be. It's the best view, especially when they do the waterfall off the bridge," Orr said.
A riverfront view that brings in around five thousand hungry mouths every year and racks up a three hour wait to meet your server.
"Unfortunately everyone that comes to our door we can't let in because of fire laws. We have to be safe," Orr said.
Around 350,000 spectators are expected to watch the fireworks light up the sky 9:30 Sunday night.
"This is a festival now. You know, it's not just fireworks. We want the people of Knoxville to know it's not just fireworks anymore," said Sarah Malak from Knoxville Tourism.
So for the 20th anniversary, the day of food, fun, and games kicks off at noon.
"Say you have a family of four that's going to come to this festival, you can expect to spend 25 to 30 dollars just on food," Malak said.
But to save some money on games, you can buy a ten dollar wristband. That'll let your kids plan on the inflatable games all day.
So you don't spend all day in traffic, Neyland Drive between Walnut and Lake Loudon Boulevard will be off limits starting Saturday afternoon. So will the Henley Street Bridge, but you can use the Gay Street bridge until 9:15 Sunday night.
When you get downtown, you can park in any of these five parking garages for five bucks. Plus all U-T parking lots except S7.
What about when you leave? KPD says it'll have officers at every major intersection directing traffic, but your trip out of downtown could still take about an hour.
But the traffic in Calhoun's kitchen will be unavoidable.
"There's a lot of sweat involved but there's no disappointment," Orr said.
Because when it's over, there's always next year.
Some new attractions this year include aerial flybys from the Air National Guard and Knox County Sheriff. Also, there'll be a petting zone, a ferris wheel, and pony rides.
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