Crowds gathered throughout the day Saturday at Lenoir City Park to celebrate summer with music, food and fireworks during Rockin’ the Docks.
Food vendors opened at 1 p.m. and music began at 5 p.m. with the Ethan Vincil Band taking the stage first.
People filed in by land and water throughout the afternoon before a fireworks display capped off the night.
“Everything I’ve heard so far was good,” Zack Cusick, Lenoir City Parks and Recreation Department program coordinator, said. “Everybody enjoyed it. It helped out that we had great weather for it. … It was a great weather day for that kind of event. … The crowd got there early and stayed pretty much for the whole time. We had a great crowd toward the end for the last couple bands and the fireworks.”
Cusick estimates about 10,000 attended on land and water, noting crowds came earlier than usual, with about 500 on land by the end of the first band’s performance.
“It went smooth,” he said. “We didn’t have any major problems pop up or anything. We had a good crowd and everything seemed to go pretty well.”
For some, Rockin’ the Docks is an annual tradition. Such is the case for Tina Spears, who pushed one of her daughters on a swing as music played in the background.
“We’ve been here since day one and we’ve just come to love it,” she said. “Our girls love it and they beg for us to come. We just love the music and the fellowship and everything.”
As school wraps up for the year, Spears sees the event as a way to celebrate the arrival of summer break.
For Scott Deering, Saturday was a first.
“I’ve lived here for quite a while. I’ve always seen the signs and wanted to come out but just never really had the chance,” he said. “My wife mentioned it and I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s go and bring the kids.’ They’re doing their thing and we’re watching the band.”
Deering watched as his children played on inflatables next to the playground. While still early, the event was living up to expectations.
“You’ve got your place for food, stage and just a lot of people walking around having fun,” he said.
Family friendly activities are great for the community, Deering said.
“I’ve always appreciated that,” he said. “We do the Christmas parade and have participated in the soccer league, stuff like that, all the community-sponsored activities.”
Bringing families out to enjoy the day is one focus for Lenoir City, but honoring the Memorial Day holiday is important as well.
“The biggest thing for our Memorial celebration is to remember all the veterans and those that served and ended up giving the ultimate sacrifice,” Cusick said. “We’re doing this, yes for the fun and family, but we still want to bring attention to everyone that served.”
Saturday was the first of two Rockin’ the Docks events for the year with another scheduled in celebration of July 4th. The next event will be 1-10:30 p.m. June 29 at the park.
“It will be a little bit different,” Cusick said. “The biggest thing that’s the biggest difference is the fireworks show. It will be about a 20-minute show and will be themed to patriotic music.”