October 28, 2010 - The City of Knoxville unveiled a Christmas in the City lineup that includes everything from a parade and dazzling displays of lights to ice skating, dramatic performances, concerts and church services during a late afternoon press conference at Krutch Park Extension Thursday.
The city's annual holiday celebration - that gets a little bigger, brighter and better each year - features nearly 100 different events and attractions on a calendar that stretches from November to New Year's Eve.
As always Christmas in the City includes a mix of older Knoxville holiday traditions like the Christmas Parade in downtown, the Festival of Trees and ice-skating on Market Square along with newer traditions like the Regal Celebration of Lights – which illuminates downtown for the holidays – and Comcast Christmas at Chilhowee Park.
While there are events across the city, most of them take place in downtown Knoxville.
"Christmas in the City offers something for everyone and we've been very pleased to see more and more people coming out to enjoy it every year," said Mickey Mallonee, the city's Special Events Coordinator, who presided over this year's kick-off press event. "I know we always say this, but it's always been true, we think this year will be the best one yet."
Christmas in the City takes place during both November and December though the Regal Celebration of Lights – set for the Friday night after Thanksgiving - serves as something of an unofficial kickoff event.
The City of Knoxville, community organizations, artistic groups, businesses and churches sponsor the dozens of individual events that make up Christmas in the City while the city's Office of Special Events coordinates the celebration.
Many of the groups that sponsor events attended the press conference which included a performance from an ensemble group from Grace Baptist Church.
Christmas in the City begins in November, though the number of events picks up fairly dramatically the day after Thanksgiving. They range from loud and colorful festivities like the annual Christmas parade to more solemn observances like the Christmas Eve services at Church Street United Methodist and St. James Episcopal Church.
Among the highlights of Christmas in the City are:
Regal Celebration of Lights - set for 6 p.m. Friday, November 26, in Krutch Park Extension which features the lighting of the First Tennessee Foundation Christmas Tree. It also includes the thousands of lights decorating Krutch Park, the extension and Market Square along with a performance by the Grace Baptist Church Choir. In addition the event also throws the switch on Up on the Rooftops, which includes the scores of brightly lit Christmas trees adorning the roofs of buildings across the city.
WDVX Holiday Ho-Ho-Hoedown - begins at 5 p.m., Friday, November 26, and continuing into the evening on the Market Square stage.
Knoxville's Holidays on Ice - the open air ice rink on Market Square opens at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 26, and will be open every day through January 2nd (except Christmas Day).
WIVK-Fowlers Christmas Parade - 6:30 p.m., Friday, December 3, marches down Gay Street and the Old City in downtown Knoxville featuring marching bands, floats and decorated vehicles.
Comcast Christmas at Chilhowee Park - 6 p.m., Friday, December 10, and features a forest of lighted trees decorating the lake and nightly driving tours from November 26-January 2nd.
First Night Knoxville 2011 at Market Square - a family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration on Market Square beginning at 3 p.m. and featuring music, dancing, storytelling, children's activities 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.
More information and a complete schedule of Christmas in the City events is available at www.cityofknoxville.org/christmas.