Knoxville Christmas Parade 2017

Merry Christmas to you too, fire department!

Article and Photographs by Megan Venable

When friend and colleague Alan Sims asked to help him out with a couple of columns, I was happy to pitch in. Not to be super helpful, or overly benevolent – I was planning on attending the events he asked about anyway, and am excited to share the joy of the season with his readers.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I love Christmas. I do. My home has been bedecked with 200+ Santa figurines since November 1, and anything that has the word “holiday” or “ho, ho, ho” or “Christmas” in it already has my attention. When Alan asked I document the WIVK Christmas parade, I eagerly accepted.

HVAC gingerbread house float

home sweet home to me

The parade stepped off promptly at 7 PM. I know, because when I stepped outside on the middle of Gay Street at 7, the parade was already in motion. The weather was perfect for a parade – chilly, but not cold, and therefore packed tight with spectators and hard to swim through the throng.

As a former Disney World employee (cast member, to those in the know) I am quite familiar with parades. And the stepping off time doesn’t necessarily indicate the time the parade will actually process by your location, so trust me when I tell you, this sucker started off PROMPTLY.

Clogging was the first career aspiration I ever had, and I am still envious of talented cloggers.

and enough local flavor to remind me that i live in a great part of the country

“sweet to trust in Jesus.” I love you, east Tennessee.

I had to scamper quick like a bunny and still missed the Sports Animal van, one of the very first floats to pass, and didn’t have the chance to get a good photo of it. It was going at a good clip, so the Sports Animal crew must have been in a big hurry. I have no idea why though…. Football season is over, and basketball hardly begun, so it isn’t as if anything big is happening in athletics…. Oh well. Missed them by a hair.

As a veteran of many parades, I can tell you on good authority that the WIVK Christmas parade keeps things interesting with a good mix of big fancy vehicles, floats, marching bands, dancers, and the like.

Clogging was the first career aspiration I ever had, and I am still envious of talented cloggers.

South Doyle marching band

gingerbread man and his tasty-looking home

Akima Club dancers

Friends brake for friends in parades. Kristina Howard in the Knoxville tva employees credit union join us join us now bug

One Life Church guys rocking out

an old timey power t truck

A singing santa claus operation

Frosty atop a rig airing a charlie brown Christmas special

Also pea green with envy of sequined outfits and candy cane accessories.

After the parade was about halfway over, I began to feel lonely, so I made my way back down toward the river. I made my way back up the elevator in the Phoenix building, to the place I’ve watched the WIVK Christmas parade for the last five years.

And I spent the second half of the parade there, watching with friends and family. Laughing over cocoa and wine, bowls of chili, with hugs and kisses. After all, isn’t that what the season is all about?


My mother kept an eye on my stepdaughter Ella (behind the curtain) while I was out taking photos.

Friend Sharon Deaver’s Gay Street condo.

confetti was everywhere


And there you have it. The WIVK Christmas parade kicked off the beginning of an amazing holiday weekend for me, which included a Christmas tea hosted at Colonial Heights Methodist Church, Historic Old North Knoxville Home Tour (more on that later) and a Christmas jaunt on the Three Rivers Rambler – all in one weekend.

Santa bringing up the rear of the parade, two stories above Gay Street.

And I still managed to find time to clean the house.

If you celebrate Christmas, I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas season. If you ring in the New Year with any joyous celebration, I wish you the finest holiday of your choice. If we meet during this festive season, please say hello and share a holiday hug. I can pretty much guarantee I’ll be in a jolly mood.


  1. Greg – Couldn’t agree more about the confederate element, I was disgusted to seem them in the parade, and boo’ed as loudly as I could to let them know!

  2. Sharon Deaver says:

    The second photo is of South-Doyle (definitely a Knoxville high school). I would encourage everyone who is wondering where the marching bands are to donate to your local high school’s marching band. Band is EXPENSIVE. It is expensive to transport the students, they have to meet at the high school to collect the instruments; teachers must volunteer their time to escort the students throughout the parade.

    Instead of complaining where they are…lets celebrate South-Doyle for participating! Go Cherokees!

  3. Candyce Goschy says:

    I agree with Ronnie! Where are the Knoxville High School bands???

  4. Ronnie Collins says:

    Nice parade, but where were all the bands. I think Karns High was the only local one. Too many politicians. Too many company vehicles. Some with no decorations.

    • Alan used to do awesome snarky commentary on the worst things in the Christmas parade (many many things compete for that title of “worst”). I miss those snarky/funny old days.

      The politicians who campaigned in the parade do not deserve to be elected. They clearly demonstrated a total lack of judgement.

      I agree that undecorated trucks in the parade should be banned. What a bunch of Scrooges!

      Anyway, kudos to the bands that did march!

      • PS — the dress-up soldiers waving Confederate flags deserve a lifetime ban from the parade. What the f did that have to do with Christmas? Clowns.

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