Hed: Gum Tree festival, race to close some Tupelo streets

If you're planning a trip around the Lee County Courthouse Friday night, Saturday or Sunday, get ready for a detour.

Police personnel and Gum Tree Festival workers will begin putting up barricades early today around certain sections of downtown Tupelo for a 10K race and arts festival.

This is the 25th year for the Gum Tree Festival.

The three-day event, showcasing art from across the Southeast, kicks off Friday with the Gum Ball at 6 p.m. at the Tupelo Artist Guild Gallery. The ball features a silent auction from 6-7:45 p.m., food and beverages.

A dance featuring Tupelo's own blues band The Blues Chillin' will follow the auction. Main Street between Spring and Broadway streets will be closed to traffic at 6 p.m. and will remain closed until Saturday morning.

The fun continues Saturday with a 10 kilometer foot race that will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Front Street. Workers will start blocking off the race route about 7 a.m. Saturday, said Tupelo Police Capt. Russ Witt, public information/crime prevention officer.

Front Street from the Clark Street intersection at the City/County Building to Main Street will be closed for Saturday's run. Front Street from Main Street to Jefferson Street will also be closed.

Traffic will be allowed to flow through Main Street until just before the race. Police will close Main Street at the Front Street intersection about 8 a.m. Saturday, Witt said.

Streets along the entire route will not be closed off. Officers will be stationed at intersections along the 6.2-mile course to direct traffic, Witt said.

For the arts festival around the courthouse, Spring and Broadway streets, where food vendors will be located, will also be closed, Witt said.

Cynthia M. Jeffries

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