Event-Filled Weekend Includes Road Closures, Crowds

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
[email protected]
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Event-Filled Weekend Includes Road Closures, Crowds

Posted: 03/27/2023
Several events that residents and visitors wait all year to attend – and then some – are happening this weekend in and near downtown Knoxville. 

Between Thursday, March 30, 2023 and Sunday, April 2, 2023, the city plays host to the Big Ears Festival, the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, Dogwood Arts’ Chalk Walk, the Smoky Mountain Regional Robotics Competition, a youth basketball tournament, The Eagles in concert, and the second home match of Knoxville’s new professional soccer team One Knox Sporting Club. 

City officials and partner agencies have been working together for weeks to plan for event-related road closures, detours, driving routes and parking capacity challenges. 

“This is a great time to live in and visit Knoxville,” says Mayor Indya Kincannon. ”Anyone in downtown and the University of Tennessee campus this weekend should anticipate crowds and delays. My advice is to plan ahead and leave plenty of time to park and get to your destination. It’s going to be a fun weekend.”

General Information


Parking in City-owned garages and surface lots is free after 6 p.m. weeknights and all day on Saturdays and Sundays.

This includes: 

• State Street, Locust Street, City County Building and Market Square parking garages

• Surface lots on W. Jackson Avenue, between Gay Street and Broadway, and on Magnolia Avenue, between Gay and N. Central streets

• Old City parking lot between Patton and E. Jackson, except during staging of the Big Ears Parade, see below.  

• Additional free parking on nights and weekends is available in the Dwight Kessel Garage. Find a map of parking lots with real-time availability at DowntownKnoxville.org or by using the Parkopedia app. 


Watch for road closure signage. Some roads will be fully closed for the duration of the event; others, like for the marathon, will be partial closures, with open lanes available for drivers to carefully pass runners on the route. 


Drivers downtown are encouraged to use extra caution and be aware of pedestrians, cyclists, e-bike and scooter riders. The Big Ears Festival footprint extends across downtown, with festival venues including the Knoxville Civic Auditorium, Bijou Theatre, St. John’s Cathedral, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville Museum of Art, and Jackson Terminal, among others. 


Knoxville Area Transit buses and trolleys will run regular schedules this weekend. Visit KatBus.com to plan your trip or download the Transit App. 

Event-related closures, in chronological order


Closure: 8 a m. Friday, March 31, to 10 p.m., Saturday, April 1

Road closures begin at 8 a.m. Friday, March 31, in preparation for the Big Ears Festival Parade and Street Party. Depot Avenue between Williams and N. Central streets will be closed Friday and Saturday to accommodate events at the Southern Railway Station and The Mill & Mine. Events include a parade featuring festival performers, larger-than-life puppets by Cattywampus Puppet Council and many local community and youth organizations (see below). Learn more about the festival, parade and free street party events at BigEarsFestival.org.  


Closure: 7 a.m. - 6 p.m., Saturday, April 1, 2023

The Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk sets more than 300 artists and creative teams to work creating masterpieces on the grounds of Market Square and nearby sidewalks. The event is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an awards ceremony held on the pavilion stage at 7 p.m. 

These roads will be closed to vehicular traffic prior to and during the event:

• Market Street between Union and Church avenues
• Union Avenue between Walnut and Gay streets
• Clinch Avenue between Walnut and Gay streets

These are the same roads closed during the Market Square Farmers’ Market, which is on break until its 20th season begins Wednesday, May 3, 2023. Visit DogwoodArts.com/chalkwalk for more information.


Closure: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 1, 2023

The Big Ears Festival Parade will step off at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 1, from the staging area at Willow and Patton avenues, under James White Parkway.

Roads and on-street parking will be closed along the parade route. The New Orleans-style second line procession will move west on Willow and turn right on N. Central Street, turn left on Jackson Avenue through the old City, turn right on Gay Street, proceed over the bridge, turn right on Depot and disband into a street party at Depot Avenue and Ogden Street.

Depot between Williams and N. Central streets will remain closed until 10 p.m.

For more information about Big Ears, including the free performances being held Friday and Saturday at the Southern Railway Station, visit BigEarsFestival.org/parade


4-8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, 2023

World’s Fair Park serves as the marathon staging area for all marathon events, so these roads will be closed most of the weekend: 

• Clinch Avenue between Henley Street and World’s Fair Park Drive

• World’s Fair Park Drive between Clinch and Grand avenues

Course maps for all Covenant Health Marathon events are available KnoxvilleMarathon.com/course-maps

Marathon participants can park in the 11th Street Garage at the corner of Cumberland Avenue. Those traveling from I-40 can use the Henley Street exit and proceed through Western Avenue to the garage. Additional parking options include the Blackstock lot (exit I-40 at 17th Street) and the Market or Locust Street garages, accessible via exits to downtown. 

The Kids’ Run starts at 5 p.m. on Clinch Avenue, goes north on World’s Fair Park Drive, south on 11th Street, makes a loop on Clinch, and circles back to the park.

The 5K race begins at 7 p.m. and takes runners from World’s Fair Park on Clinch Avenue through the Fort Sanders neighborhood, utilizing mostly White Avenue for the westbound path and Forest and Grand avenues for the return trip. These roads and those that cross the race route will be closed to through traffic, including 17th Street, which the route crosses twice. 

Drivers in the area during this timeframe should expect to be stopped at intersections that cross the route; KPD officers positioned at road closures will allow cars to cross when there’s a break between runners. Everyone is encouraged to plan their travel with the race route in mind to avoid delays and frustration, including Fort Sanders residents, Cumberland Avenue business customers, patrons of Clarence Brown Theatre and others. 


7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 2, 2023

Both the half and full marathons begin on Clinch Avenue on the World’s Fair Park, connect to Philip Fulmer Way to Neyland Drive, to Kingston Pike through the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood. The eastbound route goes along Third Creek Greenway, Tyson Park and through the Fort Sanders neighborhood via Forest Avenue to World’s Fair Park. The half marathon ends there, while the full marathon continues through the Old City into the Fourth & Gill neighborhood, takes a loop through East Knoxville including E. Fifth and Washington Ave and crosses Magnolia Avenue at N. Bertrand. The route picks up Martin Luther King Jr Avenue to E. Summit Hill behind downtown to E. Hill Avenue and James White Parkway, with a turn through South Knoxville via Island Home and Sevier avenues before heading back to World’s Fair Park via Gay Street through Market Square. 

Knoxville Police Department officers working security for the event will block intersections on the marathon route and allow vehicles to cross with caution during breaks between runners. Closures along Kingston Pike will be limited to one lane, allowing residents attending churches in the neighborhood access to driveways. 

Events on UT campus on April 1

The events below don’t involve City road closures, but they will bring a lot of people to the University of Tennessee campus and surrounding neighborhoods around the same time, which coincides with Knoxville marathon 5K closures in the Fort Sanders neighborhood. 

GPS may automatically direct drivers with on-campus destinations to Neyland Drive, however UT parking officials remind visitors there are numerous options to enter campus, including Joe Johnson Drive, Phillip Fulmer Way, Volunteer Boulevard, 17th Street, and Cumberland Avenue. Check your navigation system before you leave home to avoid road closures and be aware of where back-ups may occur before and after events. 


Saturday, April 1
Gates open at 5:30 p.m. 
Kick-off is at 7 p.m. 
Regal Soccer Stadium, 2317 Stephenson Drive

Limited parking is available near the Regal Soccer Stadium, located off Neyland Drive via Joan Cronan Way. Parking on Stephenson Drive near the stadium is available for $5, payable by credit card only. Alternatively, fans can park for free on the Agriculture campus visitor lot near the intersection of Joe Johnson and E. J. Chapman Drive and ride a shuttle to the stadium. 


Saturday, April 1, 7:30 p.m. 
Clarence Brown Lab Theatre

Parking for Clarence Brown Theatre patrons is available in Lot 23 and in the McClung Tower on Volunteer Blvd. In addition to the Saturday performance, the show will go on Friday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 2, at 2 p.m. Attendees of the Sunday matinee may encounter some remnants of the Knoxville Marathon, which is expected to conclude by 2:30 p.m.   


Saturday, April 1, 8 p.m. 
Thompson-Boling Arena 

Parking in the lots and garages nearest Thompson Boling Arena are $20, cash only. Parking in the lots and garages nearest Thompson Boling Arena are $20, cash only.  Free parking is available on the Agriculture campus starting at 4 p.m., and the shuttle, which includes wheelchair access, departs from River Drive to go to the arena beginning at 6:30 p.m. 

Concert attendees should pay attention to their route and avoid Fort Sanders during the marathon’s 5K race, which begins at 7 p.m. Road closures include 17th Street; see list of other affected roads closures above and at KnoxvilleMarathon.com/course-maps.

Also in town:


March 29 - April 1, 2023
Knoxville Civic Coliseum

Parking in the garages across from the Knoxville Civic Auditorium/Coliseum costs $10 per car. 


Friday, March 31, through Sunday, April 2, 2023
Knoxville Convention Center 

Youth compete in a weekend-long, stay-to-play basketball tournament. Parking garages and lots closest to the Convention Center are likely to be busy.