KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Sunday is the beginning of Hanukkah for those who celebrate and the Knoxville Jewish Alliance came together for their “Light Up Knoxville” event.

“It’s so nice to see such a big vibrant community of fellow Jewish people,” Lisa Mayer of Loudon said.

Several dozen people gathered at the Knoxville Jewish Alliance to celebrate the first day of Hanukkah.

KJA President Bryan Goldberg said, “all the Jewish communities have events, but tonight the community gets together and we’ll have a candle lighting ceremony here in a minute, and then we have a silent disco, we got kids crafts, we got Jewish trivia, we got kosher food, we got potato latkes for everyone and we got a bonfire in the back with music.”

Nora Messing said she’s been a member of the Jewish community for over 40 years. She said her favorite part of this event was seeing all the children, “The kids are so special. I have my three grandkids here who are extremely shy.” 

She added, “my granddaughter will be singing.”

Lisa Mayer is also here with her family. She stated, “our son and daughter-in-law and grandsons are members of the Knoxville Jewish community for about ten years.”

Mayer just moved to the area but said, tonight made her feel right at home.

“We sang some songs, we had the lighting of the Menorah for the first night of Hanukkah, and we are eating some potato latkes which are a traditional dish.”

“For Jews, we really like to come together and express our happiness of the season and spread joy and light and so it’s really important and exciting for all of us to be able to gather and celebrate our holiday in the festive season,” Goldberg said.

It’s a fun start to the 8-day holiday and a time to celebrate with family and friends.

“Happy Hanukkah,” Mayer said. “It’s the festival of lights, and I hope everyone is proud of their heritage tonight.”

On Wednesday, the Chabad of Knoxville will have a Car Menorah Parade. It will begin at 5 p.m. and will end at World’s Fair Park. They’ll be having a giant menorah lighting with Mayor Indya Kincannon.

Hanukkah goes through December 26.