A Day Trip to Knoxville

Last Monday I joined my parents on a day trip to Knoxville, Tennessee’s three-time former capital and the biggest city in the eastern half of the state. My parents travel to Knoxville (about an hour away) every eight weeks or so for Target and Publix runs, and this time their destination was a high-end international grocery store called Fresh Market.

Fresh Market is a stone’s throw from downtown, so when they asked me to tag along, I suggested adding on a visit to the East Tennessee History Center, with the caveat that we could grab lunch somewhere near Market Square, a center of pedestrian activity and a gathering place that is flanked by sidewalk cafés. (Market Square also plays host to countless Knoxville festivals, including the annual “HoLa Fest” that celebrates Latin food and culture. I attended HoLa Fest last year and blogged about it here.)

East Tennessee History Center 51

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A Taste of Latin America…in Tennessee

September is Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. Two weeks ago I attend “HoLa Festival,” Knoxville’s annual celebration of the food, music, and culture of Latin America. For two days each fall, Market Square and adjacent Krutch Park are transformed into pedestrian malls with kiosks and booths selling food, drinks, arts, and crafts from various Latin nations, including Spain and the Caribbean.

My mom joined me for the day. She was most interested in seeing the costumes and watching the “Parade of Nations;” I was most interested in tasting the food. Krutch Park is a small green space in downtown Knoxville dotted with modernist sculptures and park benches. Market Street, which runs along the west side of the park, was closed to vehicles and turned into an open-air food carnival, similar to the Taste of Chicago and other venues that I am familiar with. Two drinks tents operated on a ticket system – one sold bottled water and soft drinks, while the other sold cervezas y margaritas!

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