Christmas in the City Kicks Off on Friday, Nov. 27

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Christmas in the City Kicks Off on Friday, Nov. 27

Posted: 11/18/2015
Christmas in the CityThe holiday season is approaching, and in downtown Knoxville that means it’s almost time for Christmas in the City! The lights and decorations, the skating rink on Market Square and the annual calendar of holiday events create a festive atmosphere for all ages.

This year, holiday revelers can look forward to two updates to Christmas in the City favorites — a new 42-foot-tall tree with synchronized LED lighting and Market Square’s first open-air ice rink in a decade.

“There have been a lot of requests from Market Square business owners and the public to remove the tent to help open up the ice rink, so this year, the Special Events team decided to give it a try,” said Judith Foltz, Special Events Director for the City of Knoxville. “With the tent gone, we hope the ice rink can become Knoxville’s own Rockefeller Center.

“And of course, we can’t wait to light the newer and bigger tree at the Regal Celebration of Lights on Friday, Nov. 27!”

To help you keep up with the dozens of Christmas in the City concerts, movies, bike rides, community events and other happenings, download the City of Knoxville’s Special Events app, available for free for all smartphone and mobile devices. Search for “Knoxville Events.”

All Christmas in the City events and updates are also listed on the City of Knoxville’s website:

Christmas in the City officially kicks off with the free Regal Celebration of Lights at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27, on Market Square and in Krutch Park, when more than 100,000 holiday lights will be turned on. The new 42-foot-tall tree has multi-colored energy-efficient LED lighting, and the lights can be synchronized in different patterns.

The kickoff also features live music through the WDVX Holiday Ho Ho Hoedown, carolers, train rides, pictures with Santa, face painting, marshmallow roasting and more. Local businesses will offer crafts with children. And families can stop by Home Depot’s Little Elves Workshop to make a toy or a card to be sent to U.S. soldiers with American Red Cross “Cards for Heroes.”

Regal Celebration of Lights sponsors include Regal Entertainment Group, Pilot Flying J, WDVX, WATE Channel 6, WNOX 93.1, Knoxville News Sentinel, Home Depot, The Salvation Army, Krispy Kreme and Cheerwine.

Holidays on IceAlso kicking off on Friday, Nov. 27, is Holidays on Ice, presented by Home Federal Bank. Enjoy skating under Christmas lights and winter stars!

Over 52 days, through Jan. 18, accomplished and first-time skaters alike will enjoy the tent-less open-air ice rink on Market Square. (The rink is closed only on Christmas Day, and it offers extended hours on weekdays from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3.)

Inclement weather may close the rink, so before you head out to strap on your skates, check the skating rink’s Facebook page at

Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for children 12 years and younger, and that includes skate rental and unlimited time on the ice.

For more information about Knoxville’s Holidays on Ice, call 865-215-4423 or visit Waivers are available online if skaters prefer to print and fill them out before arriving.

Holidays on Ice sponsors include Home Federal Bank, Regal Entertainment Group, the Central Business Improvement District, WBIR Channel 10, B97.5, Knoxville News Sentinel and Go Knoxville.

Also starting Nov. 27 is the annual light show in Chilhowee Park and Exposition Center, with a total of 78 lighted trees, plus 20 lighted trees floating on the park’s lake. Motorists touring the park through Jan. 1 can drive through the lighted tunnel.

Here’s a rundown of other Christmas in the City events and ways you and your family can better enjoy the festivities:

‘Window Wonderland’ Decorating Contest

Once again, downtown businesses are participating in the “Window Wonderland” holiday display contest. Some are choosing their favorite holiday décor, and others are illustrating this year’s theme, “How the Grinch Stole Knoxville.”

Cast your vote for your favorite display through the Knoxville Events app or at the City’s Office of Special Events Facebook page,

Share the good cheer!

The Special Events Office loves to share images of merry-making families on the City’s social media sites. Help spread the holiday good cheer – use the hashtag #christmasinthecity on your photos.

Share the most festive window displays, or boast on your home’s amazing light display. Snap photos of “Up on the Rooftops” Christmas trees, which will be adorning the tops of buildings across the city. And if Knoxville has a white Christmas, send a picture of your own Frosty the Snowman. 

WIVK Christmas Parade

Christmas ParadeThe 43rd annual Christmas Parade steps off at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, and marches up Gay Street with a mighty assortment of bands, floats, dancers and Santa Claus.

The parade begins on Church Avenue at Hall of Fame Drive and will continue from Church to Gay Street, Gay Street to Jackson Avenue, then Jackson Avenue to Morgan Street. This year’s WIVK Christmas Parade is presented by the Smoky Mountain Air Show.

Knoxville Community Band Holiday Concert

Don’t be a Scrooge; get into the holiday spirit with the Knoxville Community Band, which will perform a free holiday concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6, at the Bijou Theatre.

The Community Band is made up entirely of volunteers who play because they love music. Anticipate a range of tunes from Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" to Christmas medleys and carols.

The free event is sponsored by the Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department. 

XFinity Christmas at Chilhowee

Christmas at Chilhowee ParkThis free event from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11, includes a traditional lighting of a tree on the Chilhowee Park and Exposition Center’s bandstand.

Enjoy live music, and build a gingerbread house with the Austin-East Magnet High School’s Culinary Arts Department. XFinity Christmas at Chilhowee also offers train rides for all ages, pictures with Santa Claus, marshmallow roasting, hot cocoa by the Salvation Army, face painting and balloon animals. Stop by The Muse Knoxville tent for a special activity.

Sponsors are XFinity, WVLT Channel 8, 93.1 WNOX, Krispy Kreme, Cheerwine, The Muse Knoxville, Knoxville News Sentinel, Home Depot and The Salvation Army.

Tour de Lights Bike Ride

Tour de LightsWhat could be more fun than touring Knoxville and checking out neighborhood light displays with hundreds of other bicyclists while riding festive decorated cycles?

The free 5-mile Tour de Lights ride starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18, at Market Square, and it tours downtown, Fourth and Gill and Old North Knoxville.

Decoration judging begins at 6 p.m.; prizes are awarded after the ride in several categories, including Best Decorated Bike, Best Decorated Person, and Best Group Theme.

Mast General Store and Three Rivers Market will provide hot cocoa and cookies for participants. Helmets, reflectors and headlights are required, and all ages and skill levels are welcome. For more information, visit

New Year’s on the Square

Say good riddance to 2015 and usher in 2016, starting at 11 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31.

The celebration includes fireworks at midnight, in addition to a ball drop and the singing of “Auld Lang Syne.”

Music on Market Square begins at 11 p.m. and a big screen will be showing events from 2015. The countdown begins at 11:59 p.m., with a ball drop and fireworks at midnight. The Holidays on Ice skating rink will be open from 1 p.m. until midnight. 

Visit for more details.