October 29, 2008 -
The City of Knoxville's Christmas in the City celebration will be bigger, brighter and better than ever in 2008 including roughly 100 different events and attractions on a calendar stretching from November to New Year's Eve.
Mayor Bill Haslam unveiled the 2008 Christmas in the City lineup featuring dozens of offerings ranging from dazzling displays of lights to outdoor ice skating on Market Square to concerts, dramatic performances, Christmas services and a parade during a late afternoon press event at Krutch Park Extension.
"There is something here for everyone no matter how young, old or young at heart they are," Haslam said. "This is a celebration that focuses not only on our older traditions, like the Christmas parade, but that also makes room for new ideas and events. It's a great time for all of us in Knoxville and it just keeps getting better."
The City of Knoxville, community organizations, artistic groups, businesses and churches sponsor the individual events that make up Christmas in the City.
The city's Office of Special Events coordinates the celebration.
Several of the participating groups attended the press conference which included a performance from the Knoxville Symphony Brass Quintet.
Christmas in the City takes place during both November and December but swings into high gear with the Regal Celebration of Lights, which serves as something of an unofficial kickoff event.
The Regal Celebration of Lights - which always takes place on the night after Thanksgiving - is set for 6 p.m., Friday, November 28, at Krutch Park Extension. It features the lighting of the First Tennessee Foundation Christmas Tree accompanied by thousands of lights decorating Krutch Park, the extension and Market Square.
The event will also officially throw the switch on Up on the Rooftops, which includes hundreds of brightly lit Christmas trees adorning the roofs of buildings downtown and across the city.
The Regal Celebration of Lights also offers WDVX's Ho-Ho-Hoedown concert on Market Square.
As always this year's Christmas in the City is a mix of longtime traditions like the Fantasy of Trees and events that are fast becoming traditions like Comcast Christmas at Chilhowee Park and skating at Knoxville's Holidays on Ice in Market Square.
There are some new features this year including:
New Christmas lights and decorations in the Old City
The WIVK-Fowlers Furniture Christmas Parade route includes the Old City
There will be a block party on the 100 Block of Gay Street after the parade
The 2008 edition of Christmas in the City will conclude with First Night Knoxville 2009, a family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration on Market Square featuring music, dancing, storytelling, artists, children's activities, food and much more.
Christmas in the City began in 1978 with a few holiday performances in the lobby of what was then the United American Bank on Gay Street.
A complete schedule of Christmas in the City events is available at www.cityofknoxville.org/christmas.
Free parking is available in city parking facilities downtown, including the Market Square Garage, after 6 p.m. and on weekends.
Some Christmas in the City events include:
Regal Celebration of Lights 6 p.m. Friday, November 28, in Krutch Park Extension. It's followed by the WDVX Ho-Ho-Hoedown at 7 p.m. on Market Square
Knoxville's Holidays on Ice - open-air ice rink opens, Friday, Nov. 28 (thru Jan. 4, 2009) at 10 a.m. on Market Square
WIVK-Fowlers Furniture Christmas Parade 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 5, on Gay Street and in the Old City. Julianne Hough is the Grand Marshal
Comcast Christmas at Chilhowee Park 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 12 (nightly driving tours through the park from Nov. 28 Jan. 1, 2009
First Night Knoxville 2009 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 31, in Market Square