Market square is home to various restaurants, shops and unique talent, all of which make it a go-to spot in Knoxville.
Created in 1854 as a regional farmer's market, Market Square has evolved with time to cater to Knoxville citizens' interests, according to Knoxville's website. The community area hosts multiple events, such as Mardi Growl and winter ice skating as well as weekly farmer's markets.
"One thing I really like about UT is that it's so close to Market Square," Landry Austin a sophomore in Asian studies, said. "I really like nights I'm working when there's an event going on and you can see the stuff going on outside or a kid will come into Trio with their balloon. It's nice."
One of the biggest draws is the original talent of balloon artist David Perkins and magician Harley Chapeau.
Perkins has crafted balloons and played clarinet, flute and saxophone for the visitors of Market Square since 2007.
Animals, swords, flowers and much more are born from his balloons and music is played for balloon sword fights, Perkins said. For 20 years, Perkins lived in Jerusalem and has entertained audiences in countries such as Korea, Britain, Italy and Russia.
Perkins accepts gratuities for his balloon-crafting, a trade known as busking. This has been mistaken for vending, causing him to stand up for his right to entertain the people of Knoxville, Perkins said.
"The way I put it is a tour guide to freedom," Perkins said. "When a sword fight with balloons happens [people] break out of the shell of proper behavior that somebody thinks they have to have."
Magician Harley Chapeau adds magic to the balloons, having settled in Knoxville as his central location despite performing in various cities across the Southeast. He has studied magic since he could read and made street performing his full time job four years ago, Chapeau said. He performs magic while incorporating humor based on his audience and surroundings, making each show unique.
"I've worked in bars or restaurants doing magic and I get good responses, but there's something so free and pure about the street," Chapeau said. "[I enjoy] getting that live response. Being able to shake their hand afterwards and them come up and say 'that was excellent.'"
Stretching from Wall Avenue to Union Avenue, Market Square is within walking distance of UT's campus, making it a central spot for students to visit.
"Later in the day when the college crowd comes the feeling is different," Perkins said. "They like to get a little crazy. I actually have a very rude boy bear that get laughs and laughs and laughs. It's a teddy bear and instead of a tail, you turn it around. It works. It's just fun."
Market Square holds events for every season. In winter, an outdoor ice skating rink is set up. On New Year's Eve, a mini ball dropping event is hosted by the square. During the summer, play fountains are available for kids and Jazz on the Square concerts take place twice a week. The Square also sticks to its roots and hosts a seasonal farmer's market.
Whether looking for a place to relax or a good starting point for an exciting night out, Market Square has something for almost every occasion.