Look What’s Returning! (More Than You Might Realize)

Ice Rink Under Construction, Market Square, Knoxville, November 2022
Ice Rink Under Construction, Market Square, Knoxville, November 2022

A simple walk around the core of downtown will tell you that some of the favorite parts of the season are taking shape. The Christmas Tree on Gay Street is under construction and should be finished soon with lighting at 6:00 pm, November 29. Also in evidence is the beginnings of an ice rink, though at this stage it looks more like a sand box. The rink will be open for skaters from November 25 through January 2.

Christmas Tree Under Construction, Krutch Park, Knoxville, November 2022

But there are a couple of other, less obvious, things that are returning that are worth mentioning.

It’s also time for the Third annual Maker City Holiday Gift Guide and Monday Marketplace, which started last week. What started as a response to the pandemic in December 2020 has turned into an anticipated annual event providing shoppers with “easy access to unique, locally-made gifts. It’s a great way to shop online while supporting local makers and finding absolutely unique gifts.

Maker Exchange Grand Opening, 710 Clinch Avenue, Knoxville, September 2022 (Photograph by Heather Ryerson)

First up is the Maker City Holiday Gift Guide where you’ll find every imaginable gift and some you might not be able to imagine without seeing it first. The guide is a “curated collection from the over 400 artisans and makers of The Maker City Directory. Categories include Wearable Art, Festive, Dwell, Custom Experience, Eat & Drink, Eye Candy, Cozy, and Nature. New categories added this year are Animal Lover, Stocking Stuffers, the Littles and Where to Shop Locally.”

Second, just to add to the fun, The Maker City Holiday Monday Marketplace offers even more fun with a twelve hour bidding period each Monday on a specific set of items. All proceeds go directly to the maker. The auction runs from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm (that’s probably right now!) Examples of what you might find include:

hand-sewn rope bowls from Bowls by Boles; ceramics from Caoyu Studio and D.C. Pottery; jewelry from Blackbyrd Jewelry and candles from Southern Timeless Candles; hand carved black walnut, maple and pear cooking utensils from Carvedian. Katie Romba Studios offers hand-painted pet portrait ornaments, and painter Reem Arnouk will fulfill a custom commission for the home. Many other sellers will be showcased, and sharp-eyed bidders can come away with truly unique gifts for their loved ones.

You can also go directly to a comprehensive listing of all Knoxville’s Maker City makers.

Audience Participation at Kidstuff, Knoxville Welcome Center, August 2012

Also returning this week, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, is what I’ve long felt is one of the absolute finest events for children, as Kidstuff Live returns to the Blue Plate Special Stage in Visit Knoxville this Saturday, November 12, at 10:00 am. Host Sean McCollough, UT Music Professor, member of the Lonetones and all-around good guy serves as host. Children have a great time while learning far more than they realize about great music.

Sean’s guest this week is Josh Lovelace who, according to Sean, “plays in the band NEEDTOBREATHE and also records and performs for kids under the name Young Folk.” His recordings for young people include the recently released “Moonwalking.” Going forward, the live show will be presented on the second Saturday of each month. December’s guest is Kelle Jolly who was the scheduled guest for the show that was canceled in March 2020. January’s guest is the Hominy Mamas.