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Winter Work: How the Special Events Office Delivers the Holidays 
Layers. That’s the secret to enduring outdoor work in cold weather with the City’s fall and Christmas in the City events.

Just like City staffers’ wardrobe strategy, there are many layers involved in making these public events successful. City employees played a direct role in 20 events during the holidays, in addition to supporting nearly 100 events by other organizations.

City Communications caught up with a handful of employees that help bring the magic of the holidays to Knoxville.

Special Events team
City of Knoxville Special Events staff (right to left): Kyndra Brewer, Judith Foltz, and Elaine Frank

Position: Office Manager  
With the City since: 2011

The Special Events team - Judith Foltz (Director), Kyndra Brewer (Deputy Director), and Frank – are among the busiest trios in the City. They coordinate approximately 1,100 events annually. This team is also the powerhouse behind the seasonal Christmas in the City.

It begins with plans and sponsorship acquisitions in July. Then there’s the execution of a series of events, through all weather conditions, from November through January. Then, there’s the post-holiday evaluations, and efforts get underway immediately in preparation for the following year.

When asked if they go out for celebratory drinks following major events, Frank laughed, saying, “No! We’re all too exhausted and just head home into bed, but we do usually go out to eat together before a big event.”

The Special Events team has experienced just about every form of weather that Mother Nature decides to throw at East Tennessee – from floods or snow in late October to T-shirt weather in December. Frank recalled an event where the temperature once dropped to a low of 11 degrees. While New Year’s Eve on Market Square tends to be the coldest event of the year, the staff manages to thaw out between events with portable heaters.

“It’s always rewarding, though,” Frank said. “Just watching everyone have a good time…taking photos… making family memories…and knowing that we’re the reason it happened makes it all worth it.”

It’s worthwhile to downtown businesses, too. Christmas in the City brings tens of thousands of people downtown each year, and those patrons often shop and dine when they visit.

When asked to pick her favorite Christmas in the City event, Frank said it is hands down the Regal Celebration of Lights, because of the way downtown is transformed. Frank said the collaboration between City departments around these events has become a family affair.

“We couldn’t do it without our co-workers in Public Service, Police and Fire,” she said. “They’re the ones who do the hard work in the early morning hours to keep everything clean and safe, and they keep a sense of humor through it all.”

Thanks to the City’s Special Events Office for always helping us to celebrate in big ways!

This year's Christmas in the City will kick off on Friday, Nov. 23, at 5:30 p.m. with the Celebration of Lights event in Krutch Park. For more information, visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/Christmas.
Posted by On 20 November, 2018 at 1:38 PM