Group supports keeping Strut downtown

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Whether the Bessie Smith Strut remains in downtown Chattanooga or is moved to the Riverbend site might be decided by who will be responsible for it.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that Chip Baker, executive director of Friends of the Festival, which backs the Riverbend Festival, said his group will spearhead an effort to keep the Strut on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Baker said the issue to be resolved is whether the friends group can get liability insurance for the event on MLK.

Mayor Ron Littlefield angered many black residents of the city last month when he announced the celebration would be moved to the RIverbend site and renamed the Bessie Smith Celebration.

The Strut takes place during the longer Riverbend Festival.

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