October 27, 2011 - The City of Knoxville unveiled its Christmas in the City celebration during a late afternoon press conference in the lobby of the Tennessee Theatre today. The theme "It's a Wonderful Life in Knoxville!" featured the Clarence Brown Theatre performing an "old time radio show" to the theme of "It's a Wonderful Life." The actors creatively described the many events for the holidays including everything from a parade and dazzling displays of lights to ice skating, dramatic performances, concerts and church services.
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 Judith Foltz, the city's Special Events Coordinator, who presided over this year's kick-off press event. "We think this year will be the best one yet."
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.
Christmas in the City takes place during both November and December though the number of events picks up fairly dramatically the day after Thanksgiving. The Regal Celebration of Lights - set for the Friday night after Thanksgiving - serves as something of an unofficial kickoff event.
Other events throughout the season 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 25, 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 Unity 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 25, and continues 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 25, with the ribbon cutting to take place at 4:00 p.m. and will be open every day through January 8 (except Christmas Day).
WIVK-Fowlers Christmas Parade - 7:00 p.m., Friday, December 2, marches down Gay Street in downtown Knoxville featuring marching bands, floats and decorated vehicles.
Comcast Christmas at Chilhowee Park - 6 p.m., Friday, December 9, and features a forest of lighted trees decorating the lake and nightly driving tours from November 25-January 1st.
First Night Knoxville 2012 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.