Christmas in the City 2011

Ice Skating on Market Square, Knoxville

It’s hard for me to believe it’s here, again. Thanksgiving seems to have become a small blip on the radar with Christmas seeming to have bled past Thanksgiving on its way to Halloween. It’s craziness in many ways. I’m not big on the commercialization of every holiday. I noticed at the Fantasy of Trees there were sponsor notes on every mirror on the Merry-Go-Round and on most of the horses the children rode. Of course our downtown event has the word “Regal” with a capital “R” attached to it for a reason.

Fantasy of Trees, Convention Center, Knoxville, November 2011


Family Photo-op, Fantasy of Trees, Knoxville Convention Center

But enough humbug, there is still plenty of joy in the city for the child in us all. It officially starts the day after Thanksgiving and it started slowly for the crafts persons on Market Square and Krutch Park. There were people walking about, but nothing huge. Krutch Park extension was empty, but ready for bigger things. Ice skaters trickled onto the rink.
I wandered into a few stores and business looked good. Later I talked to several and their faces ranged from smiles to really big smiles, so I’m guessing some of that shopping madness at least mad it into the stores of the good guys and didn’t all go to Walmart, Best Buy and Toys R Us.

Fantasy of Trees: Doesn’t that look like an exploding Sunsphere atop that tree?


Flamenco dancers at Christmas?


Carousel, Fantasy of Trees, Knoxville

Ginger Bread Houses, Fantasy of Trees, Knoxville


“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”

Polar Bears Rockin’ Christmas! Knoxville Convention Center, 2011

The Fantasy of Trees was busy, but it was only about half as crowded when the family went last year. Aside from the sponsor material I mentioned above, it is a great experience for young children and it seemed they had more activities for them than ever before. The music while we were there didn’t particularly seem seasonal, but it was good. There were gingerbread houses, photographs with Santa (who must have quickly slipped over to Krutch Park for his other event of the evening), and scenes to illustrate the “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” theme. 

The gang is gathered on stage, the crowd awaits!

The lighting of the Christmas tree drew a large crowd, though again, maybe not as large as last year. A woman whose name I did not catch sang a great version of “O Holy Night,” and then a series of people took the stage before the main event. Mayor-elect Rogero was as smooth and polished as ever and went out of her way to make people of all faiths welcome, which is such a breath of fresh air in our part of the country. I just really feel we are in for a great era in Knoxville history with her leadership and that of the others who joined her on the city council.

The tree lights, the fireworks explode, Knoxville 2011

Santa, Ms. Claus, Reindeer and, of course, the Chic-Fil-a Cow crowded the stage and Santa did the deed and the tree lighted much to the delight of the crowd. It also set off a barrage of fireworks that was cool, but also extremely loud for some of the younger children present, not to mention for the residents of the Holston Building. 

The WDVX Ho Ho Ho Down, Market Square Stage, Knoxville 2011

Market Square was packed with ice skaters, families and shoppers. Bluegrass music rang from the Market Square stage as the WDVX Ho Ho Ho Down helped everyone get their groove on. The lights on the trees were beautiful. By all appearances it was a great kick-off to the season. It’s only the start, of course. Friday night (Dec. 2) the Christmas Parade starts at 7:00. The next weekend (Dec. 10) is the Jingle Bell Run, which is fun to watch even if you aren’t a runner. And then, there is the Tour de Lights bike ride (Dec. 15).

So, come to the city. Bring the family and have fun. As for that matter of shopping, it’s been decades since it was this good. With the advent of the downtown gift card you can easily get something for everyone on your list.