In Any Event 

Thursday is the new Friday (still)

Thinking about holding your event on a Thursday? Think again. The fourth day of the week has become as crowded with events as Friday and even Saturday.

We used the In Any Event blog space to address this issue on April 1, 2015. We weren’t fooling then, and we aren’t fooling now.

The reception for new Lady Vols basketball Coach Kellie Harper was held on a Tuesday – and it was packed. From left, Daryl Johnson of Johnson Architecture, Polly Fisher, Charis Kraski and Art Clancy. (Blue Streak photo)

Case in point past: Oct. 17, 2019.

There were 10 important events scheduled on that Thursday: Knoxville Museum of Art’s Clayton Award Luncheon; Compassion Coalition’s Community Impact Luncheon; Knoxville Chamber Fall Schmoozapalooza; East Tennessee Community Design Center Awards Gala; Today I Rise: An Evening to Benefit the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking (CCAHT); Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Big Heights Rooftop Crawl; Leadership Knoxville Annual Alumni Homecoming; United Way Reception and Tour at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base; Ta’Vie Fall Fashion Soiree to benefit United Way of Greater Knoxville; and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s Grieg Piano Concerto.

The late Mickey Mallonee was quoted in the 2015 blog – and we miss her dearly. Here she is on New Year’s Eve 2017 with Caesar Stair III at an over-the-top and packed event at Historic Westwood. (Blue Streak photo)

While a few of those events target different audiences and thus would not necessarily affect attendance, several are reaching out to the same people – and thus competing for donations. Also, if an organization is trying to attract new attendees, picking a day of the week that’s not already so full could be beneficial. That day is not event fatigue. It’s event exhaustion.

Case in point future: Nov. 7, 2019.

Four evening events that Thursday will require attendees to choose one: United Way Tocqueville Society Dinner; Women’s Fund of East Tennessee Advocacy Reception; Tennessee Theatre’s Stars on Stage featuring Emmylou Harris; and Childhelp Tennessee 60th Anniversary Reception. These events create overlap issues and can cut into attendance, awareness and money raised.

Meanwhile, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in both October and November have remained relatively empty. Two Wednesdays in November, the 13th and 20th, have nothing on them. (Nov. 27 is empty, too, but that’s the day before Thanksgiving, so no one is picking that date.)

The Knoxville Area Urban League draws a crowd (900+) at its annual gala, which is held on the fourth Thursday in October. This is not an event another planner wants to overlap if it can be avoided. Maria McHale and Lauren Miller, both of Moxley Carmichael, enjoy the 2018 event. FYI: the 2020 event is Oct. 22. (Blue Streak photo)

In some cases, it’s a matter of available venue, and, in the case of Stars on Stage, when a headliner artist is available.

In Childhelp Tennessee’s defense, the organizers were aware of the other events, but couldn’t avoid the overlap this year. Eddie Smith, the new director of development, is selecting dates for events much earlier now and securing venues well in advance.

Smith also sends every new submission quickly to EventCheck Knox, including a luncheon (on a Wednesday!) in April 2020 and Oysterfest 2020, which is moving out of a crowded June lineup and into September with a programming tie to Tennessee football. It seems like a good move. Most events avoid football Saturdays, but this one is embracing it.

It also is a road game at Oklahoma, so traffic and parking won’t be an issue. As we wrote about here, if planning a significant fundraiser on a Tennessee football weekend, pick a road game.

Overlap is sometimes going to be unavoidable, but Thursday is overbooked. Wednesday used to be a no-go, because of church services, but that has changed.

Consider the comments on the 2015 blog entry from two authorities in Knoxville on events – Cynthia Moxley and Gay Lyons.

Lyons: Event planners, how do you feel about Wednesdays? Conventional wisdom used to suggest we stay away from Wednesdays because that’s “church night.” However, several non-profits with which I’ve been associated in the last few years have tested the Wednesday waters & found no negative impact. And then there’s the fact that we have populations – smaller but important – who observe on days other than the Protestant Wednesday & Sunday.

Moxley: We used to shy away from Wednesdays for that reason, but lately, when we’ve had to schedule events on Wednesday for various reasons, we’ve found little, if any, negative impact on attendance. One of our colleagues is very active in his Protestant church and I asked him about this yesterday. He explained that Wednesday church attendance is optional at most churches and, in fact, just 10 to 12 percent of the congregation generally attends on that night. So I guess that explains it.

Those remarks were more than four years ago. Wednesday is waiting.


Maria Cornelius, a writer/editor for Moxley Carmichael, populates the EventCheck Knox calendar. If your event overlaps with Tennessee football, she asks that you provide a large television and ice cold Blue Moon or Miller Lite. She also can’t wait for college basketball to start.


One response to “Thursday is the new Friday (still)

  1. It was amazing the number of events that Thursday. EventCheckKnox is a great tool for planners to use.

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