If you’ve casually strolled by the displays of holiday decorations in local retail stores and tuned out the Christmas tunes that have been blaring from overhead speakers since late summer, today’s date might have snuck up on you.
It’s Thanksgiving, the unofficial start of the holiday season — which means that after today’s later than normal repast settles, an explosion of area events will take place at breakneck speed leading up to the day of Santa’s arrival. There are literally events taking place across East Tennessee every single day until Dec. 25, and while it’s impossible to list them all, this is a good roundup for everyone looking to get their Yuletide on:
BLOUNT COUNTY EVENTS
• Vendors, crafters and small businesses will take part in the
Downtown Maryville Holiday Craft Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday as part of the nationwide observance of “Small Business Saturday.”
“H.O.M.E. for the Holidays,” the annual celebration of the Hall-Oldfield-Maryville Empowerment community organization, takes place at 6 p.m. Saturday, with a tree-lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m., at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 209 E. Franklin St. in Alcoa. According to organizers, the event will include “family fun and light refreshments. We will decorate the center tree with ‘Memorial and Honor’ ornaments, which will be sold for $1 each.”
Greenback community Christmas celebration takes place at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Greenback Depot, 6736 Morganton Road in Greenback, featuring two living nativity presentations (at 6 and 7:30 p.m.), caroling with Eye2Sky and more. Admission is free.
• The city of Alcoa’s Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, known annually as
“Springbrook Splendor,” will take place at 6:15 p.m. Monday (rain date is Tuesday) in the Upper Fields area of Springbrook Park, where the trails will be lit with luminaria. Following the ceremony, there will be special music, refreshments, visits with Santa Claus and train rides for the children. It’s free to attend.
city of Maryville Tree Lighting ceremony takes place at 6 p.m. Monday at the city Municipal Center, 400 W. Broadway Ave. in downtown Maryville. The program will feature community entertainment, refreshments and visits with Santa Claus. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held indoors. It’s free to attend.
Blount County Festival of Trees, the centerpiece of which is the lawn of the Blount County Courthouse — illuminated with a display of live Christmas trees of all sizes, colors and decorative themes — kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, on the courthouse lawn and will feature entertainment, refreshments and visits with Santa Claus. It’s free to attend.
• The city of Friendsville will hold an all-day holiday event called
“Christmas in the City” on Dec. 7, featuring holiday shopping from 1-5:30 p.m. and the annual Christmas parade at 4 p.m., followed by a Christmas program and official tree lighting. It’s free to attend.
Blount County Public Library, 508 N. Cusick St., Maryville: The Southern Appalachian Study Series features the program “Memories of a Family Christmas” featuring songs and stories by Jill Bond at 7 p.m. Monday. “Christmas with the Knoxville Opera,” directed by Maestro Brian Salesky, will take place at 7 p.m. Dec. 12, at which time guests can “enjoy a cabaret setting while listening to Christmas music.” The Grace Notes Flute Ensemble will perform a “special Christmas concert” at 7 p.m. Dec. 19. Admission to all library events is free.
Clayton Center for the Arts, 502 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway on the Maryville College campus: The Maryville College Division of Fine Arts — including the Orchestra at Maryville College, the MC Concert Choir and the MC Community Chorus — will perform Handel’s “Messiah” at 8 p.m. Dec. 6; tickets are $25 for adults/$20 for seniors. The Air National Guard Band of the South will perform a free holiday concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 as part of the city of Alcoa’s centennial celebration; admission is free. Grammy nominees and Grammy winners will present an evening of original and traditional acoustic music to celebrate the winter solstice at 8 p.m. Dec. 11; tickets are $21.50-$34.50. The Appalachian Ballet Company will present its annual performance of “The Nutcracker” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and 3 p.m. Dec. 14; tickets are $25-$55 in advance and $30-$60 at the door.
LOUISVILLE: The 2019 Louisville Christmas Parade is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, with participants assembling at 10 a.m. at Louisville Christian Church. This year’s theme is “Christmas Traditions Past and Present,” and the route will proceed along Louisville Road to Town Hall. Refreshments will be available at Town Hall after the parade. (Rain date is 2 p.m. Sunday.)
GATLINBURG: The 44th annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade begins at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, traveling from the Baskins Creek Bypass down the parkway to traffic light No. 10 in Gatlinburg. The grand marshal is Alyvia Alyn Lind, the young actress who played Dolly Parton in the made-for-TV movie “Coat of Many Colors.”
KNOXVILLE: The WIVK-FM Christmas Parade takes place at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 along Gay Street, downtown, featuring bands, dancers, lighted floats, characters and Santa Claus.
ALCOA/MARYVILLE JAYCEES CHRISTMAS PARADE: Starts at 11 a.m. Dec. 7 on Joule Street in front of East Tennessee Medical Group, crossing Calderwood Street into New Midland Plaza, through the plaza and turning right onto North Cusick Street to West Broadway Avenue, turning right through downtown Maryville to West Lamar Alexander Parkway, turning right and ending at New Providence Presbyterian Church. This year’s theme is “Songs of
Christmas.” (Rain date: 3 p.m. Dec. 8.)
GREENBACK: The Greenback Christmas parade begins at 11 a.m. Dec. 7 at the old Greenback School.
SEVIERVILLE: The 57th annual Sevierville Christmas Parade takes place at 11 a.m. Dec. 7, starting at First Baptist Church Sevierville, continuing north on Forks of the River Parkway to Main Street, through downtown to Court Avenue and back to its starting point.
VONORE: The parade takes place at 1 p.m. Dec. 7, starting at Vonore Middle School and traveling to the Vonore Baptist Church.
FRIENDSVILLE: The parade begins at 4 p.m. Dec. 7 beginning on Kiser Street, traveling down U.S. Highway 333, turning left onto West College Street, right onto North Morgan, right onto Miser Station Road and ending at Friendsville School. For more information, call 865-995-2831.
TOWNSEND: The parade begins at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 8, leaving the IGA parking lot and traveling down East Lamar Alexander Parkway to the Nawger Nob craft village. This year’s theme is “Coming Home for Christmas,” and the grand marshal is Townsend Elementary School Principal Connie Roberts.
ROCKFORD: The parade will take place at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 14, beginning at Littlebrook Industrial Park and continuing down Old Knoxville Highway to the Rockford Community Park. The grand marshals are the Rockford Midgets football team, recent American League champions.
SEYMOUR: The parade starts at 3 p.m. Dec. 14 at Valley Grove Baptist Church, 9000 Sevierville Pike, traveling down Chapman Highway to the Seymour Kroger. This year’s theme: “Tennessee Christmas,” and the grand marshals are Charles and Donna Temple.
KNOXVILLE HOLIDAY EVENTS
2019 Fantasy of Trees (this year’s theme: “Mistletoe Mountain Christmas”) takes place from 3-8 p.m. today (Thanksgiving), 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Knoxville Convention Center, on Henley Street between Clinch and Cumberland avenues in downtown Knoxville. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 4-12, and proceeds benefit East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. For more information, call 865-541-8385, and go online to www.fantasyoftrees.org for a full list of events.
“Regal Celebration of Lights” kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday on Market Square in downtown Knoxville (and in the adjacent Krutch Park), with the opening of the downtown ice skating rink; the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree and Krutch Park; and the
“WDVX Holiday Ho-Ho-Hoedown” at 6:30 p.m. on the Market Square stage, featuring live music by The Royal Hounds and Tray Dahl and the Jugtime Ragband. The event is free and open to the public.
CHRISTMAS PLAYS: At the Clarence Brown Theatre, 1714 Andy Holt Blvd. on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville, the annual production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” opens Friday and continues with performances through Dec. 21. Ticket prices range from $25-$45; for a full schedule of showtimes and more, visit www.clarencebrowntheatre.com. At the Flying Anvil Theatre, 1300 Rocky Hill Road in West Knoxville, an evening of “bad puns, bawdy malapropisms, naughty double-entendres and witty songs” is on tap for the holiday production of “Scrooge in Rouge,” which will be staged through Dec. 22; tickets range from $22-$24, and a full list of showtimes can be found at www.flyinganvilthe atre.com. The WordPlayers will stage “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15 at the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the campus of Pellissippi State Community College, 10915 Hardin Valley Road in Knoxville; tickets are $15 adults/$12 teens/$8 kids. River and Rail Theatre Company will present the “original folk musical” “The Unusual Tale of Mary and Joseph’s Baby” Dec. 11-15 and Dec. 18-22 at the Old City Performing Arts Center, 111 State St. in Knoxville’s Old City; for showtimes and prices, visit www.riverandrailtheatre.com. Theatre Knoxville Downtown is presenting “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” from Dec. 6-22 at the company’s new playhouse, 800 S. Central St. in Knoxville; visit www.theatreknoxville.com for ticket prices and exact showtimes. Knoxville Children’s Theatre will present “Elf Jr.: The Musical” from Dec. 6-22 at the company’s playhouse, 109 E. Churchwell Ave. in downtown North Knoxville; visit www.knoxvillechildrens
Civic Auditorium/Coliseum, 500 Howard Baker Jr. Ave., downtown Knoxville (visit www.knoxvillecoliseum.com for ticket prices): At 3 p.m. Dec. 1, the annual “Keyboards at Christmas” performance (five pianos with a combination band) will benefit Mission of Hope.Appalachian Ballet Company will present “The Nutcracker” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and 3 p.m. Dec. 8. The Oak Ridge Academy of Dance’s Contemporary Dance Ensemble will present its “Holiday Spectacular” at 7 p.m. Dec. 14. The Nativity Pageant of Knoxville takes place at 3 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15 and 7 p.m. Dec. 16. The annual Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Clayton Holiday Concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and 3 p.m. Dec. 22.
The Bijou Theatre, 803 S. Gay St., downtown Knoxville (visit www.knoxbijou.com for ticket prices): Singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson will present the “Advent song cycle” “Behold the Lamb of God” at 7 p.m. Dec. 7. Singer-songwriter Dave Barnes will perform his “Very Merry Christmas” concert with special guests at 8 p.m. Dec. 11. “Naughty or Nice?,” the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus holiday concert, takes place at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14. Pianist Jim Brickman will perform “A Christmas Celebration” at 7 p.m. Dec. 22.
The Tennessee Theatre, 604 S. Gay St., downtown Knoxville (visit www.tennesseetheatre.com for ticket prices): The Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra will be joined by the Knoxville Choral Society for a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. A “Mighty Musical Monday” Christmas celebration featuring Trisha Gene Brady, Ensemble Swing Time band and more takes place at noon Monday (admission is free). The musical “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra “Swingin’ Christmas” concert, featuring guest violinist Regina Carter, takes place at 8 p.m. Dec. 5 and 6. Contemporary Christmas artist Chris Tomlin brings his “Christmas Songs of Worship” tour to town at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7. The band Home Free will brings its “Dive Bar Christmas” show to the theater at 8 p.m. Dec. 11. There will be free showings of the classic holiday film “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 2 and 6 p.m. Dec. 15. Paid screenings of the holiday films “White Christmas” (at 8 p.m. Dec. 20), “Christmas Vacation” (at 3 and 8 p.m. Dec. 21) and “The Polar Express” (at 3 p.m. Dec. 22) also will take place. Finally, Moscow Ballet will present its “Great Russian Nutcracker” performance at 4 and 8 p.m. Dec. 23.