By Dave Ongie, Managing Editor
If you attended Jonesborough Days earlier this month, you had plenty of company. A heaping helping of summer heat didn’t do much to keep away the crowds of people that flooded into Tennessee’s oldest town for the annual festival on July 1 and 2.
Amber Crumley, Director of Special Events for the Town of Jonesborough, said attendance at the patriotic parade that opens the event and the fireworks show that closes the festival were the largest she’s seen in her 15 years in Jonesborough. “All of our events post-COVID, we’ve definitely noticed an increase of attendees,” Crumley told the News & Neighbor on Monday.
Crumley attributes the tremendous turnout to two factors.
First, absence made the heart grow fonder. When COVID-19 shut down Jonesborough’s traditional festivals and events back in 2020, people realized how much they missed events they may have taken for granted prior to the shutdown.
While Jonesborough Days returned in 2021, Crumley said this was the first year things felt truly back to normal. The traditional kickoff dinner was a sell-out, and events like the Moon Pie Eating Contest and the Watermelon Social were back in full swing as well. “It has come back as it was before,” she said.
In addition to locals flocking back, Crumley has met plenty of newcomers who have moved to our region during the past few years and are getting plugged into their new community by attending the festivals and events Jonesborough puts on throughout the year. Crumley said the Jonesborough excels at putting on community events that are welcoming, and the tremendous partnership between the town and the merchants on Main Street and beyond is a huge key to the success the town’s events are experiencing this year.
In her role, Crumley works hard planning events like Jonesborough Days, and this year she was left feeling a sense of joy and relief as she saw so many people enjoying the event. “It feels good to know you’re doing something to bring the community in,” she said.