RW&B Jam

Inaugural retail event at West End Center draws 1,100

Threat of rain did not hinder hundreds of people from turning out for the inaugural Red, White & Blues Jam in West End Center, where bands played and 28 businesses opened their doors and set out booths to greet attendees.

“The businesses already want me to do it again,” said Stephen Krempasky, executive director of Shop Farragut/Farragut Business Alliance that put on the event. He estimated about 1,100 attended the Saturday, July 8, Jam. “The majority came between the 7 and 8 p.m. time frame, with 600 on site at the peak.

The rain came down about two hours prior to the free event. Winds blew away trash receptacles and blew down tents and lightning hovered over the “giant” 40-foot-wide tent.

However, by the event’s start at 4 p.m., the sun was out and jazz music replaced the winds.

“We got rained on for a few minutes before everything started, but we’re hoping for a good turnout. The music is fantastic,” said Gretchen Wilkerson with Farmers Insurance.

“People [from the businesses] are happy with the traffic they have had, the atmosphere and opportunity to talk to customers,” Krempasky said.

“By 6 p.m. 400 to 500 people were here, and they keep coming in,” Krempasky said. He anticipates having another event next year but probably at another shopping center.

“We plan to move it around, but if merchants want it back, it’s something to consider,” he said.

Jean Tavenner of Farragut said she attended the Red, White & Blues Jam because “I just thought it would be something fun to do with all the bands and music.”

Six bands entertained the crowd. Attendees heard from Terraplane Drifters, Mighty Blue, CrawDaddy Jones, Mystic Rhythm Tribe, Few Miles On and Mystic Miles.

Knoxville attendee Shonda Brinkley said she came out to support a friend who was playing with Terraplane Drifters.

“I love music,” she said.

“The music is great and the weather turned out good, too,” Lenoir City attendee Jackie Lawson said. “It’s not too hot.”

Lawson said she saw the event advertised in a newspaper, looked it up online and she and her husband, Scott, decided to attend.

“I always enjoy hearing music when I can,” she added.

“It’s a nice promotional event,“ said LaToya Bryson, manager of The UPS Store, one of the event’s participants. “I think with the rain finally over, it’s gong to be a nice event.”

“It seems pretty nice for the whole family,” Greyson Baranowsky, an associate of The

UPS Store, said. “It’s a nice time to sit, take in some sun, enjoy some music and smell some barbecue.”

“It’s a nice event so far,” said Jonathan Dzermejko, who works with TDS Telecom [one of the sponsors]. He decided to bring out his family to Red, White & Blues Jam.

“It will be a beautiful evening,” his wife, Jennifer Dzermejko, said. “I look forward to seeing what it’s got.”

“I thought we would come out and see what’s going on,” said T.C. Williams, who attended with husband, Farragut Alderman Ron Williams.

“It looks like it will be a good event,” Ron Williams said.

While some of the business representatives manned tents, offering samples in the parking lot, others remained in their businesses and greeted guests there. The following businesses that had tents set up were SouthEast Bank and TDS Telecom, sponsors of the event; Don Delfis Pancake House & Restaurant, which served tacos and beer; Buddy’s Bar-B-Q, which served barbecue; Fruition Café, which served smoothies, pasta salad and chicken salad; Echelon Bike Shop, which had a bicycle course and served beer; Dance Center West; 9Round Kickboxing; Goodwill, which provided face painting; Heidi’s Gym; The UPS Store; Thrive Chiropractic; Farmer’s Insurance; Aurora Pools & Spas; Silo Cigars; Smart Home Fix; Spero Coffee; Honeybee Coffee; Health Markets; Pinnacle Home Improvements and Beauty Counter.

Additionally, businesses that had storefront displays were McEntire & Mays Interiors; Clean Eatz,; The DW Designs, Salon 1551, Edward Jones Investments, Studio 135 and Exit Realty.

“It’s so exciting. It’s wonderful,” Grace Gault, owner of Fruition Café, said, adding she thought the event took place in a good location.

“It’s so convenient and open,” she said. “It will help a lot of people realized this shopping center has new businesses and will make people see my place. I’m so happy about it.”

“[The event is] a good way for people in the area to get to know the businesses and get a little insight about the businesses that have been here for a while that people don’t know were here,” Bryson said. “We’re excited to be a part of the event.”

“I think the event will draw traffic to this part of Farragut,” said Alison Pruitt, licensed insurance agent for Health Markets’ Farragut location.

“It’s a zoo,” Kelly Hamm, co-owner of Echelon Bikes, said about the crowd in his business during the Jam. Along with having a bicycle course for Jam attendees, his business served beer during the festival and had a Crafty Bastard Beer event at Echelon Bike Shop.

“I enjoy [the event],” said Joseph Clayton, director of marketing and client relations with Smart Home Fix. “It’s a good turnout. ... The response we’ve gotten so far has been fantastic. We do a lot of word of mouth, so events like this are great for us.”