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Bessie Smith Cutural Center Gears Up For Strut

by Alyssa Spirato

 It's just days now before thousands will strut their stuff down Martin Luther King Blvd.
But just a few months ago, that almost didn't happen, after the Chattanooga Police Department and city officials cited security when they tried to pull the plug.

That's when the Bessie Smith Cultural Center stepped up to the plate. But is it more than they can handle?

"We're working with the fencing company to finalize the fencing plans as the event will be fenced in this year," says Paula Wilkes, Coordinator for the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

That's with the help of Friends Of The Festival.

"We partnered with them, helped them, work with them as a team to create plans and I think it's going to be better than ever this year," says Chip Baker, Executive Director for Friends Of The Festival.

But is it safe? Crews are putting the finishing touches on the three, secure entrance gates. All of this was done to ensure security. Something the Chattanooga police department worried even they couldn't do. But Wilkes says  the planning hasn't gone without it's hiccups.

"There have been times but we've worked through it really well through the details,"says Wilkes.

So how many people will go through the secure checkpoint with bag checks and police? That answer is still up in the air.

"The Kangaroos are still selling, a lot of our merchants here on MLK are starting to pick up, our online sales within the last four days has picked up tremendously," says Wilkes.

Even with the uncertainty of ticket sales, she is confident that the Cultural Center has the safety issue covered.

"The Chattanooga Police Department has worked very closely with us. We've met weekly since we found out we were taking over the strut and actually I think we're going to be quite covered," says Wilkes.

Wilkes says the Cultural Center will still have to rely on ticket sales to cover the event's total cost, after last minute expenses crept into their budget.









Bessie Smith Cutural Center Gears Up For Strut

Saturday, August 3 2013, 05:27 PM EDT

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`DANCING WITH THE STARS'

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It was a perfect night for James Maslow on "Dancing With the Stars." The actor-singer gets the first round of perfect scores from the judges this season. Maslow and pro partner Peta Murgatroyd did a flawless contemporary dance to "Let It Go" from "Frozen" on Disney night. Danica McKellar was just a point shy of getting a perfect score as well. Drew Carey was the low-scorer on the judges' leaderboard. Australian pop star Cody Simpson is the celeb voted off this week. There were loud boos from the audience as the results were announced. Simpson says it's been an amazing experience but adds it's tough getting the boot. His pro partner Witney Carson says people really didn't get a chance to see what they can do.

SOUND:

<<CUT ..001 (04/15/14)>> 00:08 "song, yet effortless"

Bruno Tonioli (toh-nee-OH'-lee)

Judge Bruno Tonioli says James Maslow was outstanding. COURTESY: BBC Worldwide Limited and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT ..002 (04/15/14)>> 00:12 "fantastic, all right (cheers)"

Len Goodman and Tom Bergeron

Len Goodman tells James Maslow and his partner he can be hard to please. COURTESY: BBC Worldwide Limited and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT ..003 (04/15/14)>> 00:20 ""

Announcer and judges

The judges give James Maslow the first round of perfect scores of the season. COURTESY: BBC Worldwide Limited and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT ..004 (04/15/14)>> 00:16 "Cody and Whitney"

Tom Bergeron

Host Tom Bergeron announces this week's results. COURTESY: BBC Worldwide Limited and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT ..005 (04/15/14)>> 00:08 "it is so"

Cody Simpson, celebrity voted off

Cody Simpson says he's a little disappointed. COURTESY: BBC Worldwide Limited and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. ((mandatory on-air credit))

"THE VOICE"

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Team Usher is up next on "The Voice." Usher will be finalizing his selections for the live rounds on tonight's show. Last night, it was Team Shakira and Team Adam's turn. Shakira's selections include Tess Boyer. She calls Boyer "an amazing find." Adam Levine used his last pick on Kat Perkins. The other three judges say she's flawless. Team Blake is already in place for the live shows beginning next week.

SOUND:

<<CUT ..006 (04/15/14)>> 00:29 ""

Kat Perkins, performing "Open Arms"

Kat Perkins performing "Open Arms." COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT ..007 (04/15/14)>> 00:13 "much, thank you"

Usher and Kat Perkins

The other coaches have nothing but praise for Team Adam's Kat Perkins. COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT ..008 (04/15/14)>> 00:12 "huge, thank you (laughs)"

Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Kat Perkins

Blake Shelton says Kat Perkins is too good for Team Adam. COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))

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SOUND:

<<CUT ..013 (04/15/14)>> 00:14 "cool facial hair"

Pedro Pascal

Actor Pedro Pascal says his "Game of Thrones" character, Oberyn Martell, has a very interesting look.

<<CUT ..014 (04/15/14)>> 00:08 "I felt sexy"

Pedro Pascal

Actor Pedro Pascal says playing his "Game of Thrones" character, Oberyn Martell, hasn't been bad for his self esteem.

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SOUND:

<<CUT ..009 (04/15/14)>> 00:09 "she comported herself"

Jennifer Garner, actress

Jennifer Garner says she got to shadow Megan Rogers, the cap specialist for the Cleveland Browns, for her character in "Draft Day."

<<CUT ..010 (04/15/14)>> 00:09 "down a hammer"

Jennifer Garner, actress

Jennifer Garner says she modeled her "Draft Day" character after Megan Rogers, the cap specialist for the Cleveland Browns.

<<CUT ..011 (04/15/14)>> 00:12 "for the team"

Jennifer Garner, actress

Jennifer Garner says she grew up in West Virginia, where high school football was a way of life.

<<CUT ..012 (04/15/14)>> 00:11 "heart and soul"

Jennifer Garner, actress

Jennifer Garner says she became the water girl for her high school football team.

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SOUND:

<<CUT ..016 (04/15/14)>> 00:07 "to link onto"

Jamie Foxx

Actor Jamie Foxx says his new movie "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" will be a great one for kids to see.

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SOUND:

<<CUT ..018 (04/15/14)>> 00:06 "the Marvel universe"

Chris Pratt

Actor Chris Pratt says his his upcoming sci-fi epic, "Guardians of the Galaxy," will be a beautiful action movie.

<<CUT ..017 (04/15/14)>> 00:08 "action it's beautiful"

Chris Pratt

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SOUND:

<<CUT ..015 (04/15/14)>> 00:05 "and good times"

Kevin Dillon

Actor Kevin Dillon says the 2015 movie adaptation of his hit TV show "Entourage" will be worth waiting for.

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