Mainx24 Guide No. 1: The marquee events

Authored By seanphippster

For a decade, Main Street in Chattanooga has transformed into an enormous 24-hour block party every December.

And with more than 120 events scheduled, Saturday’s Mainx24 festival promises to be one of the biggest celebrations yet.

Mainx24 is a celebration of Chattanooga’s revitalized Main Street and Southside area. This year’s event begins at 8 a.m. Saturday and continues through 8 a.m. Sunday. Attendance is free, although some charges apply to specific events.

A full overview of the events can be found here. 

But all the activity can be overwhelming. That’s why breaks down the variety of activities/events into digestible guides each year. By no means comprehensive, these guides are meant to offer a sampling of the variety that is Mainx24.

We’ll split the guides into different categories. Later this week, we’ll discuss music, family events and the weirdest activities available (there are plenty).

This first guide highlights the essential, marquee events that are the backbone of the Mainx24 festival each year.

Mainx24 pancake breakfast
The official start of the festival is a hearty pancake breakfast and fundraiser at Fire Hall No. 1. Local firefighters will prepare all-you-can-eat pancakes for a $5 donation to the Forgotten Child Fund. Guests are also encouraged to bring a new toy to donate. The breakfast is presented by Buddy Shirk of Summitt Pianos. Shirk and other performers will entertain diners throughout the breakfast. Click here for more information.

When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 8-10:15 a.m.
Where: 218 E. Main St.
How much: $5

EPB Mainx24 Southside Holiday Parade
Weird and whimsical, the annual Southside Holiday Parade is always a highlight of Mainx24. Expect the unexpected, everything from unicyclists to festive floats, fire dancers, puppets and the customary arrival of Santa Claus to the Scenic City. There will also be the annual Mutt Strut, with the most adorable dogs you’ve ever seen. This year’s festival also includes elements of Wayne-O-Rama and, no joke, a couple who plans to get married during the parade. The parade begins at the corner of Jefferson Street and ends at Cowart Street along Main. Click here for more information.

When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Where: Main Street (duh)
How much: Free

World Heavyweight Chili Championship
Nothing beats a good brew and a hot bowl of chili on a cold day. The annual World Heavyweight Chili Championship has been a tradition for eight years, with local teams competing against each other to become the “heavyweight champion” of Chattanooga chili. It’s hosted by Tennessee Solar Solutions and others. A $15 ticket gets you an all-you-can-eat mug and unlimited chili. Drink specials include $5 Tito’s bloody mary bar and $2 beer. Click here for more information.

When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: 326 E. Main St.
How much: $15 

The Yazoo Big Wheel Championship
Last year was completely nuts. Racers destroyed hedges and each other as they raced around the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Gardens. The annual Yazoo Big Wheel Championships is easily the most interesting spectator opportunity during Mainx24. It’s for a good cause, too. Proceeds from registration will benefit Children’s Advocacy Center. Grab a beer and enjoy the destruction. Want to race? Click here for registration information.

When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 1-4 p.m.
Where: 1400 Market St.
How much: Free

Mainx24 International Food Market
The International Food Market was a new addition to the festival last year, but it quickly became one of the most popular events. For the second year, community members will gather to create a temporary space full of “unique, exciting and perhaps unfamiliar foods.” Have you ever had burek from Bosnia and Herzegovina? What about South African boerewors? Matapa from Mozambique? Or dolmades from Greece? All items are priced below $3 each. Arrive early. This one will sell out quickly.

When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 4-6 p.m.
Where: 55 E. Main St. (Bluegrass Grill)
How much: $1-$3 each item