Reactions mixed to Boomsday changes

Some changes are coming to this year's Boomsday.

The huge fireworks festival draws hundreds of thousands of people to downtown Knoxville every Labor Day weekend.

Visit Knoxville organizes the event. They say this year will be bigger and better than ever, and will include some extra perks.

"We're going to be having a premium viewing area and that will be a ticketed event. Of course, it's a fireworks show and it's still family friendly, so you'll still be able to watch it from all over town just as you always have, but if you want to come down to our premium viewing area that's going to be between G-10 [parking deck] and Calhoun's. That's going to be a gated area with enhanced programming," said Kim Bumpas, president of Visit Knoxville.

Tickets will be required to get into that premium viewing area, but it will also include additional entertainment, including a big name musical act, and different food vendors. Those specifics will be announced later this year.

Bumpas says the ticket price will be "economical" but they are not releasing the cost yet. Organizers say a big name musical act will also be included with the ticket.

"We're very excited about the experience this is going to make Boomsday for people who are used to it and all of the new visitors who are learning about Knoxville each and every day," said Bumpas.

The news has received mixed reactions from the public.

"It's kind of sad because Boomsday is supposed to be kind of a family, whole Knoxville thing," said Sarah Combee, a student at the University of Tennessee who lives near the Tennessee River. "So it might detract some people from wanting to come down here and see what's down here. I mean, it's a gorgeous part of the city."

Mark Newman also lives near the Henley Street Bridge and has a prime view of the fireworks.

"I think it's a good idea. I think they're going to make a lot of money off of it. It doesn't affect me much since I live up here I can see it anyway," Newman said.

Downtown businesses said it is too early to tell if the changes will affect sales.

Server Kathryn Miller with Dazzo's Pizzeria on Gay Street said Boomsday is always a good business opportunity. She does not expect this year to be any different.

Miller mentioned Boomsday drives traffic on Gay Street saying, "Especially since we're not located in Market Square. That's usually where most of the activity is. It's a lot more convenient for everyone to shop and eat there."

Boomsday will take place on August 31 at 9 p.m. along Neyland Drive in downtown Knoxville.


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