Lumberjacks and classic cars are on their way

Published 6:36 pm Thursday, April 28, 2022

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Seeking to draw people from the community and beyond to downtown Franklin on Saturday, May 7, will be two major events — one new and one familiar.

The day will feature the inaugural Lumberjack Festevent and the eighth annual Franklin Cruise-in Kickoff.

Liz Burgess is president of The Franklin Experience Inc., which is the nonprofit putting on the Lumberjack Festevent, and she noted that the festival is really about highlighting Franklin.

“I just think that people need to come see what a great community we have,” she said. “That’s what this is all about.”

Mike Smith is an organizer of the Franklin Cruise-in Kickoff, and he echoed Burgess’ focus.

“Our goal is to bring people downtown and to showcase the businesses and the growth that we’re doing downtown, which I think is amazing here in the last few years,” he said. “We’ve teamed up with The Franklin Experience to try to make this a really, really huge event.”

Blackwater Community Events is the nonprofit putting on the cruise-in kickoff.

The Lumberjack Festevent, which will run from 9 a.m.-10 p.m., was inspired from the city’s history with lumber.

“This is kind of the backbone of what Franklin really started out with,” Burgess said.

The festival will be a free event for spectators, with some activities that will have a fee for those who desire to participate in them, including ax throwing, a cornhole tournament and kayaking, with Blackwater Outfitters putting kayaks on the water.

Spectators will have the opportunity to see a chainsaw carver at work; take in a professional lumberjack show; and watch a melodrama about Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack that describes as a “mythical hero of the lumber camps in the United States.”

The Franklin Farmers Market will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and there will be vendors elsewhere downtown during the festival as well.

The Franklin Department of Parks and Recreation, in conjunction with Ruth Camp Campbell Memorial Library, will be providing kids activities.

Raffle tickets will be for sale, and organizers will likely raffle some of the chainsaw carver’s work.

At night, the festival will feature a band, and organizers will put fire pits on the water at Barrett’s Landing, bordering the edge of the walkway.

“We hope it’ll be a really cool ambiance,” Burgess said.

She noted that the three key locations where the Lumberjack Festevent will have a presence include the farmers market, Barrett’s Landing and the big lot found where South Street and South Main Street intersect.

This festival has been in development since 2019, and though the COVID-19 pandemic significantly delayed its inauguration, Burgess said organizers are hoping the Lumberjack-themed event could become an annual gathering.

Though the Franklin Cruise-in Kickoff will technically be a separate event May 7, it will overlap with the Lumberjack Festevent in time, running from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and it will also be in the same general downtown location.

Smith said the cruise-in will be centered in the parking lot right in front of Serve Restaurant and Taphouse.

“We will go from Barrett Street to 2nd Avenue along Main Street,” he said. “We’ll have vehicles in the parking lot in front of the fire house and a small portion of 1st Avenue but primarily along Main Street and then the parking lot, and our overflow is into the farmers market parking lot.”

The event will be free for spectators, and there will be a small fee for those presenting vehicles.

Smith noted that typically the cruise-in kickoff features 200 to 300 vehicles.

“You’ll see everything from really high-end cars to projects that are in the works,” he said.

The cruise-in will also have a DJ on hand, and T-shirts will be available.