Public safety concerns have prompted town officials to move the popular fundraiser for the Kingston Springs Farmers and Artisans Market to the farmers market lot on Park Street, across the railroad tracks from the end of Main Street. The event will be held Sept. 24 at 5 p.m.
In the past, Main Street was blocked for the event and diners sat at a long row of tables lined up in the middle of the road in downtown Kingston Springs.
This location required more than a dozen people to handle road closures, detours and traffic control for the event. Most of these people were firefighters or police officers. If there were an emergency somewhere else, these first responders would have to leave their Dinner on Main posts.
The town had “a very, very close brush” with an unsafe situation last year as Dinner on Main was wrapping up, said City Manager John Lawless. A car caught fire at one of the motels near Interstate 40, and some of the Dinner On Main traffic control volunteers had to leave to respond to the blaze.
Fortunately, “we were at a point where we could remove our detours and quickly open Main Street,” Lawless said. “However, this event reinforced thoughts of the position we would be in if something happened in the middle of Dinner on Main and we were unable to safely keep Main Street closed. We investigated hiring a traffic control company, but at a cost of several thousand dollars we looked at other options.”
That led town officials to decide to hold Dinner on Main at the farmers market location.
“The unique experience of dining in the middle of the street will be gone, but we’ll still have the same great chefs and great food, and our plans will still make this a unique experience and the class event it always has been,” Lawless said.
Most of the cooking and final prep will be done at the farmers market site this year, he said.
Chefs for this farm-to-table dinner, which features locally grown produce, include local residents Hal Holden-Bache, executive chef and co-owner of Lockeland Table in Nashville, Deb Paquette, Amy Davis-Bruce and Mike Turpin.
Despite the location change, Dinner on Main is still a hot ticket. All 110 tickets, priced at $150 a pop, sold out in just over 24 hours after going on sale July 21.
Also, in case you’re wondering, the decision to move Dinner on Main doesn’t mean the town will no longer close Main Street for Halloween trick-or-treating or the library’s Christmas tree lighting.
“While those events take as many volunteers to work the road closures, if something happened and we needed to open the road quickly, it would be easy to do since it would be a matter of just moving the people off of the street instead of all the moving parts associated with Dinner on Main,” Lawless said.