An increasingly vibrant Southside district was bursting with potential and needed an event to channel that energy and strengthen the neighborhood.
Today, the MAINx24 annual 14-hour festival–featuring food, music and culture–has become one of Chattanooga’s most celebrated local events, with 5,000+ annual participants and over 80 individual events packed onto Main Street every year.
Beginning in the 1980s, civic revival in Chattanooga was underway. But by the 2000s, some of this dynamic energy and innovative determination had dwindles. The city was leaking its talent to other cities once again.
In response, two inspired citizens–Helen Johnson and Josh McManus–started a bold initiative called CreateHere, a nonprofit project to infuse cultural and economic life back into the city of Chattanooga by supporting the arts and creative enterprises–or, more specifically, the people behind them.
One hundred years ago, Chattanooga was the entrepreneurial hub of the South. Located on the Tennessee River near several major Southern cities, it was an ideal place for businesses to launch and thrive. Yet in the 60s and 70s, Chattanooga’s reputation for enterprise faltered after a period of post-industrial decline left the former manufacturing city in search of a new identity.