Two big, boisterous happenings on Saturday, April 22, will entertain more than 160,000 people. But motorists also should anticipate street closures and unusual traffic patterns due to the University of Tennessee’s Dish Orange & White Game at Neyland Stadium and the Knoxville Opera’s Rossini Festival International Street Fair on Gay Street.
Knoxville Opera offers one of the world’s two Rossini Festivals – and the Gay Street 11-hour festival, now in its 16th year, is the only one anywhere that includes a free-admission outdoor street fair in celebration of the arts. Rossini boasts 1,000 entertainers, 200 artisans and food vendors, and five performance stages. It draws about 100,000 people to downtown Knoxville.
But to put on Saturday’s 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. festival, Gay Street and other downtown streets will be closed for more than 24 hours, starting at 11 p.m. Friday, April 21, to set up for the festival. These streets will be temporarily closed:
- Gay Street, between Summit Hill Drive and Cumberland Avenue;
- Wall Avenue, between Walnut and Gay streets;
- Union Avenue, between Walnut and State streets;
- Clinch Avenue, between Walnut and State streets;
- Church Avenue, between Walnut and State streets; and
- Market Street, between Clinch and Union avenues.
Temporary no-parking zones will be in place on Gay, Clinch, Union, Church and Market beginning at 9 p.m. Friday and on Wall Avenue beginning at 4 a.m. Saturday.
Most streets will reopen at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. Gay Street will reopen at about 4 a.m. Sunday.
Want to avoid driving and parking? Knoxville Area Transit offers convenient bus service into downtown. To plan your trip to the Rossini Festival, visit www.katbus.com and click on the Google Trip Planner button. Knoxville Station is just a five-minute walk up to the Rossini festivities.
Dish Orange & White Game
Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. Saturday, but many of the 60,000 UT fans arrive early to meet the coaches and players and collect autographs on the field. Fan Day will be from 1:30-2:30 p.m., and those attending Fan Day must enter from Gate 7, starting at 12:30 p.m. Patrons not attending Fan Day can enter the stadium beginning at 2:30 p.m.
There is plenty of free parking available in surface lots and garages – but some parking is reserved and not available to the general public. In addition, shuttle service will be offered to and from UT’s Agriculture Campus and to and from the SC40 Kingston Pike Building, located at 2309 Kingston Pike. For further details on Fan Day, where to park and what items can and cannot be brought into the stadium, visit www.utsports.com/gameday/football/.
Phillip Fulmer Way will close at noon, and there will be no access from Cumberland Avenue and Peyton Manning Pass after noon. Vehicles will be able to access the G10 Garage from Lake Loudon Boulevard.
Knoxville Area Transit will NOT be operating football game-day shuttles from downtown or Farragut High School for the Orange & White Game, but KAT will be operating its regular Saturday bus and downtown trolley services. Hop on the Orange Line Trolley on Main Street, or plan your commute from any part of Knoxville to and from Neyland Stadium by visiting www.katbus.com and clicking on the Trip Planner button. Or call 637-3000 and KAT’s Customer Support will assist you.
Meanwhile, please remember that the reconstruction of Cumberland Avenue is continuing between 17th and 22nd streets. The work is a $17 million City commitment to a vibrant Cumberland Avenue Corridor that will be safer, more attractive and pedestrian-friendly when the project is finished by late summer 2017. On Saturday, anticipate game-day traffic and be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to and from the game.
City officials and Cumberland Avenue merchants remind motorists that new raised medians have been installed since last football season. This median is an important new safety feature; it creates an “island” that helps pedestrians crossing the street, while also limiting left turns by motorists to designated intersections. Mid-block left turns are now prohibited.
Additional traffic tips and updates are available on www.CumberlandConnect.com, on the Cumberland Connect Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CumberlandConnect, and on the Cumberland Connect phone app. Or text VFL to 313131 to get text messages on the most current traffic updates.
‘Volunteer Your Dollar’
If your game-day tradition starts with a visit to a favorite eatery on The Strip, the Cumberland Avenue Merchants Association is seeking your help in demonstrating that Vol fans have big hearts. CAMA is collecting donations for the local Ronald McDonald House – and hopes to raise more than $10,000 through the Orange and White Game, with more donations to be collected over the summer and fall.
It started with a game-changing idea 32 years ago: Wouldn’t it be great for families of seriously ill children to have a less stressful, more familiar “home away from home” while the kids undergo treatment at nearby Knoxville hospitals?
Tennessee’s first Ronald McDonald House opened in Knoxville on March 8, 1985. Over the years, the Ronald McDonald House at 1705 W. Clinch Avenue in Fort Sanders has been a blessing to more than 52,000 people from 41 states and 10 foreign countries.
CAMA’s “Volunteer Your Dollar” campaign aims to help the Ronald McDonald House help more families in need – $1 at a time. All proceeds collected from patrons of the participating businesses and restaurants will be given to the Ronald McDonald House of Knoxville.
“For families facing financial struggles and worried about the treatment for their children, the non-profit Ronald McDonald House can really be a godsend,” says Joe Burger, owner of the McDonald’s restaurant franchise located at 1720 W. Cumberland Ave.
“Having this facility available lessens some of the burden that these families are facing. It helps them to be able to focus more solely on getting their children healthy again and not be distracted by having to find a place to live while the kids are in the hospital.”
For a list of merchants participating in the “Volunteer Your Dollar” campaign, please visit www.cumberlandconnect.com.