Twinkling lights and the sound of jingle bells will be the festive sensory backdrop in downtown Knoxville when Christmas in the City begins Friday, Nov. 24, with the kick off of Regal Celebration of Lights and the opening of the Holidays on Ice skating rink.
In preparation for the season, the City’s Public Service Department workers have wrapped and draped downtown trees and lampposts with more than 100,000 holiday lights. Mayor Madeline Rogero will electrify those lights along with the 42-foot animated Christmas tree located in the Krutch Park extension during a ceremony that begins at 6 p.m.
“Downtown truly feels like a Christmas village,” said Judith Foltz, the City’s Special Events Director, offering up compelling evidence like the train rides, hot cocoa by the Salvation Army, photos with Santa Claus, marshmallow roasting, face painting, balloon animals, and a marketplace with vendors offering an array of “make and take” or “buy and give” items.
Also, the super-sized AT&T Snow Globe returns to the square for DIY family photo opps, which may be ideal for your 2017 holiday card. Bring your own camera; volunteers will be on site to help you snap the perfect pic.
The Christmas in the City kickoff festivities mark the beginning of a most wonderful season in downtown Knoxville, with additional annual traditions in the coming weeks, including the WIVK Christmas Parade on Friday, Dec. 1; the Knoxville Community Band’s free Christmas Concert, presented by City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department at the Bijou Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 3; two free showings of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” presented by Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union at the Tennessee Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 10; and Tour de Lights bike ride on Friday, Dec. 15.
All Christmas in the City events and updates will be listed on the City of Knoxville’s website: www.knoxvilletn.gov/christmas.
Here are additional details about some of the major Christmas in the City events for 2017:
Regal Celebration of Lights – Friday, Nov. 24
Market Square, Market Street and Krutch Park Extension, 6-9 p.m.
n Wild Things will perform live music starting at 5:30 p.m. in anticipation of the 6 p.m. lighting ceremony for the Christmas tree in Krutch Park Extension;
n Guy Marshall and Night Colors co-headline the WDVX Holiday Ho-Ho-Hoedown beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the Market Square stage, after the Market Square stage tree-lighting ceremony;
n Sponsors include the City of Knoxville, Regal Entertainment, Pilot Flying J, WDVX, WATE Channel 6, 93.1 WNOX, Home Depot, the Knoxville News Sentinel, Salvation Army, and Cheerwine.
Knoxville’s Holiday on Ice, presented by Home Federal Bank – Nov. 24 – Jan. 7, 2018
n The rink will be open daily, weather permitting, except for Christmas Day;
n Admission is $11 adults, $8 children 12 years and younger, and that includes skate rental and sales tax;
n Holidays on Ice mascot Peppermint Panda will join skaters during the week, and additional theme nights will present special guests and opportunities to save on admission;
n For more information, including rink hours, visit KnoxvillesHolidaysOnIce.com or call 865-215-4423; and
n Sponsors include the City of Knoxville, Home Federal Bank, Pilot Flying J, Regal Entertainment, AT&T, WBIR Channel 10, B97.5, the Knoxville News Sentinel, and Holston Gases, and Knoxville Ice Bears.
WIVK Christmas Parade – Friday, Dec. 1
Gay Street, 7 p.m.
n The annual parade, featuring floats, bands, decorated vehicles, dancers, twirlers and other performers, is a Knoxville holiday favorite; there’s even a special appearance by Santa Claus!
n Sponsors: City of Knoxville, WIVK, WVLT Channel 8, 865 HVAC and the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Christmas at Chilhowee – Friday, Dec. 8
Chilhowee Park and Exposition Center, 6-9 p.m.
n This public event showcases a forest of lighted trees floating on the lake, pictures with Santa Claus, marshmallow roasting, face painting, balloon animals and more – and it’s all completely free!
n Help build gingerbread houses with the Austin-East Culinary Arts Department;
n Train rides for children of all ages will be offered;
n Park will be open for nightly self-guided driving tours Nov. 24 – Jan. 1, 2018;
n Sponsors include the City of Knoxville, Chilhowee Park and Exposition Center, WVLT Channel 8, the Knoxville News Sentinel, 93.1 WNOX, The Muse Knoxville, Sam’s Club, Bojangles’, and Knoxville Ice Bears.
Tour de Lights – Friday, Dec. 15
Starts at Market Square
Judging begins at 6 p.m.; the bike ride begins at 7 p.m.
n Tour de Lights is a fun, free, casual five-mile bike ride for participants of all ages and abilities that starts at Market Square and tours downtown, 4th and Gill, and Old North Knoxville;
n After the ride, prizes are awarded in several categories, including Best-Decorated Bike, Best-Decorated Person, and Best Group Theme;
n Mast General Store and Three Rivers Market provide hot cocoa and cookies for participants;
n Helmets, white front lights and red rear reflectors are required;
n Get more information at www.ibikeknx.com.
New Year’s Eve on the Square, presented by Lloyd’s Electric Service – Sunday, Dec. 31
Music starts at 10 p.m.; Ball Drop at Midnight
n Christmas in the City concludes with a free, all-ages New Year’s Eve party on Market Square, complete with fireworks and a ball drop at midnight;
n Live music from Bicho Brothers begins at 10 p.m. on the Market Square stage; bars and restaurants downtown will be open, some offering live music and other festivities;
n Sponsored by the City of Knoxville, Lloyd’s Electric and WNOX 93.1 and WATE Channel 6.