Knoxville kicks off Christmas: Regal Celebration of Lights

Balloon Santa face, Knoxville

Balloon Santa faces were a big hit at the Regal Celebration of Lights 2014!

So what’s up, Knoxville? Gay Street closes? Families with kids smushed into strollers or perched on daddy’s shoulders move through Krutch Park? And the waiting line for the ice rink in Market Square snakes all the way around the big white tent?

It was the Celebration of Lights sponsored by Regal Cinema — Friday, November 28th — when Mayor Rogero (with the help of Santa, of course) lit the city’s holiday tree kicking off Christmas in the City.

And what a crowd it was! Parking lots at capacity. Restaurants with long wait times. And lines at family-friendly booths confirmed what we suspected — kids love doing as much as seeing.  Like writing letters to Santa (sponsored by Visit Knoxville), designing Christmas cards for the troops at the Red Cross booth, or concocting “reindeer” food with the help of Earth Fare employees.

Busy balloon maker, Knoxville

Busy making Santa faces and reindeer hats out of balloons!

Some folks hopped aboard the train snaking its way down Gay Street . . .

Holiday train, Gay Street, Knoxville

Holiday train, Gay Street, Knoxville

while others just tried to stay warm.

Huddled around the fire in front of Urban Outfitters, Knoxville

Huddled around the fire in front of Urban Outfitters, Knoxville

Strains of holiday sounds from a man playing a saw (yes, really) drew a crowd . . .

Man playing a saw, Knoxville

This guy played a saw for hours at Knoxville’s Celebration of Lights.

as did the Salvation Army players . . .

Entertaining the crowd at Krutch Park.

Entertaining the crowd at Krutch Park.

and this happy bell ringer.

Ringing the bell for Salvation Army, Knoxville.

Ringing the bell for Salvation Army, Knoxville.

A group of exchange students from France and their host families in Oak Ridge loved posing in the midst of the mayhem on Market Square . . . 

Students from Oak Ridge High and exchange students from France pose in Market Square

Students from Oak Ridge High and exchange students from France pose in Market Square

while wobbly skaters packed into the rink on Market Square — some just lucky to be upright!

Ice rink on Market Square

A popular place — the ice rink on Market Square. (Open ’til January 5th)

Bundled-up fans like this little panda on her daddy’s shoulders . . .

Daddy with panda on shoulders

Daddy with a panda on his shoulders listens to EmiSunshine and the Rain performing in Market Square.

listened — amazed — at the grown-up sounds coming from 10-year-old EmiSunshine and the Rain.  (She even yodels!)

EmiSunshine and the Rain performing on Market Square

EmiSunshine and the Rain performing on Market Square at the Regal Celebration of Lights

But the longest lines of all moved cautiously in and around and through Krutch Park beautifully lit with over 100,000 lights as young and old tried to find a place near the stage.

Knoxville's Krutch Park lit for the season.

Knoxville’s Krutch Park lit for the season.

We joined the crowd, grabbing a free sample of Cheerwine from the girls of Rowan County, North Carolina, where it’s made, and then . . .

Free samples of Cheerwine

Who can resist a free sample of Cheerwine?

when Santa arrived, we listened as Mayor Madeline Rogero urged everyone to enjoy what the city had to offer — from decorated windows to the parade coming on December 5th.  The countdown began — 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 — ’til the tree was lit and fireworks shot up toward the top of The Holston!

Lighting of the Christmas tree

And the tree was lit!

Another great Celebration of Lights kicked off Christmas in the City.  Knoxville was officially ready for the 2014 holiday season!

For more information about activities all over Knoxville during the month of December, go to the City of Knoxville website.

Articles on the Regal Celebration of Lights:

“Look past Thanksgiving to ‘Christmas in the City'” by Amy McCrary: http://www.knoxnews.com/knoxville/family/look-past-thanksgving-to-christmas-in-the-city_96084918

“Christmas in the City Kicks Off Nov. 28 with Tree Lighting, Market Square Holiday Ho-Ho-Hoedown, Ice Skating”http://www.cityofknoxville.org/Press_Releases/Content/2014/1113.asp

Facebook pages

City of Knoxville Special Events:  https://www.facebook.com/CityofKnoxvilleSpecialEvents

EmiSunshine and the Rainhttps://www.facebook.com/emisunshinemusic

Mayor Madeline Rogerohttps://www.facebook.com/MayorRogero

Visit Knoxville: https://www.facebook.com/visitknoxvilletn

 

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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9 Responses to Knoxville kicks off Christmas: Regal Celebration of Lights

    • Thanks, Cindy. The crowd was so pleasant. Everyone seemed to be happy, not in a big hurry, and accommodating. It’s nice to go to an event that big and come home to say it really was, as you said, magical fun.

  1. Amy says:

    What a fun celebrations! Beautiful Christmas tree.

  2. Looks cold but fun. Hope the reindeers enjoyed their food. They will need the extra energy. 🙂 –Curt

  3. Pit says:

    Looks pretty up there. Here in Fredericksburg we had a nice ceremony, too, but yours seems to have been more elaborate.
    Have a great week,
    Pit

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