KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The annual Holiday Festival of Lights is back for a 24th year at The Cove at Concord Park.
During the festival, The Cove’s three-quarter-mile greenway trail is decorated with a sparkling light display coordinated to music. Santa Claus will also visit on Fridays, Saturdays and drop in on select dates to collect letters to Santa, tell North Pole tales, and lead Christmas crafts.
An onsite vendor found inside the River Sports Outfitters facility will also have hot drinks available for purchase most nights. The Cove has several fire pits available for guests to warm up or roast s’mores.
One new feature this year is train rides every Monday, an addition that Whitney Fitzsimons with the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department said will make the attraction more inclusive and accessible.
“On Monday’s we won’t have the walkthrough option, but everyone will get an opportunity to ride a train,” said Fitzsimons. “If you’re in a senior living community, you have mobility issues or impairments, all of this allows you to participate with us, which is what we want.”
The festival also helps a good cause. While it is free to attend, it’s encouraged visitors bring non-perishable food items to donate to The Love Kitchen.
“This is the opportunity to do something to refocus on what we already have,” she said. “One of the great things about community events is it’s not about what you spend of what you have or what you don’t have, the purpose is to bring you out and to ground you.”
The Festival will run from 6 to 9 p.m. through Saturday, Dec. 31, excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. It is free and open to the public though visitors are encouraged to donate to The Love Kitchen. The Love Kitchen provides meals, clothing, and emergency food packages for the homebound, homeless, and unemployed.
For the opening night on Thursday, December 1, the event will start at 6 p.m. with Mayor Glenn Jacobs greeting guests and passing out candy “Kanes.”