City Employees Contribute Labor, Expertise in Support of Dogwood Arts Festival

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

City Employees Contribute Labor, Expertise in Support of Dogwood Arts Festival

Posted: 04/08/2016
Dogwood Arts FestivalThe month-long Dogwood Arts Festival is in full swing – and that means that, for dozens of City of Knoxville employees, April is a particularly hectic month.

City workers contribute more than 1,400 hours of labor – special-events expertise, muscle and can-do attitude – to help launch and logistically support East Tennessee’s largest springtime festival.

It starts with the painting of the first pink line on the Dogwood Trails and won’t end until the last extension cord is rolled up on May 1.

Tom Cervone, Dogwood Arts Festival’s Executive Director, calls the City’s support “priceless.”

“Without the City of Knoxville, we would be hard pressed to accomplish our goal,” Cervone said. “Those workers come with only the attitude of ‘What can we do to help?’ It’s tremendous.”

Alaine McBee, the festival’s Director of Programs, credited the City’s Special Events team and Civil Engineering staff, as well as the police officers and firefighters who assist in providing a safe environment for large public gatherings, like this weekend’s Rhythm N Blooms music festival and events on Market Square. McBee specifically thanked Alex Neubert and his Public Service Department downtown events team.

Preparation for the month-long Dogwood Arts Festival starts with a City crew installing 48 signs and painting lines, arrowheads and blooms on the pavement to mark each of the 12 trails. The crew of four devotes about 88 labor hours to the painting – a process that can take longer, depending on the weather. Installing 48 trail signs is a multi-step process that the City’s sign fabricator works on for several months.

Once the festival begins, that’s when the work starts for another group of approximately 45 City employees, who assist with everything from equipment and infrastructure set-up to traffic control, electrical power, garbage removal and supply of anything downtown vendors might need during an event.

Chad Weth, the City’s Public Service Director, said the work that goes into the Dogwood Arts Festival is more than worth it.

“A high-caliber event like the Dogwood Arts Festival brings people in from throughout our region and, really, from across the Southeast,” Weth said. “The area’s natural beauty and the festival’s fun events are great draws, and Dogwood Arts further benefits from word-of-mouth testimonials.

“Anytime we can support an event like this, we’re eager to do so. Our employees take great pride in helping to make the Dogwood Arts Festival a success each year.”

The collaboration, Cervone said, is mutually beneficial.

“We try to provide the city with art, culture and natural beauty, and in exchange, City employees eagerly help us accomplish that,” he said.

For details about the festival and a calendar of upcoming events, visit