A few things are new with this Christmas in the City: For example, the Downtown Knoxville Alliance kicked in $26,000 to create the Peppermint Grove.
Red and white lights have been wrapped 30 feet high into the six Market Square trees and on 16 light posts in the area. That’s about three times more lighting than adorned the Square last year. Plus, the bistro lighting on the Square is being upgraded.
The aim is to create an intimate, festive outdoor dining area in the middle of Market Square.
“It’s about creating a memorable space and adding some extra spark to downtown,” says Michele Hummel, the Alliance’s Executive Director.
Anticipate special holiday treats on the menus and shelves of downtown businesses participating in the Peppermint Trail.
The Holidays on Ice skating rink has relocated from Market Square to the Civic Coliseum. The larger rink will allow skaters additional space to practice physical distancing while skating on the same ice where Knoxville Ice Bears play hockey.
Mary Costa Plaza has been newly decked out with lights and decorations.
There’s a new Drive-In at the Midway movie series at Chilhowee Park that features holiday films on two Fridays: “Elf” on Nov. 20, and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” on Dec. 4.
And the Office of Special Events in collaboration with the Office of Neighborhoods is challenging Knoxville’s neighborhoods to show off their holiday fanfare for the first-ever Knoxville Neighborhood Holiday Trails.
Of course, beginning Monday, Nov. 23, downtown Knoxville will be decked out with an estimated 200,000 lights, including a 42-foot Christmas tree in the Krutch Park Extension on Gay Street.
Wait a minute – 200,000 lights?
“That’s a lot of pop, and the display grows each year,” says Chad Weth, Public Service Director. “We start unraveling and untangling the lights in September. To be ready by late November, our crews begin hanging them and wrapping them on Oct. 1.
“It takes 12 City employees the better part of eight weeks to decorate downtown. But if you ask them, or visitors to downtown, or families that enjoy it year after year, they’ll all tell you – it’s worth the time and attention to detail.”
For more details about Christmas in the City, visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/christmas.