KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The tree is lit and the lights are up — Christmas has arrived in Knoxville. Over the course of the next month, city leaders have organized many events including a parade Friday, ice skating, and a lot more.

Bebe Vogel helps her daughter run her Old City business, Honeymouth. It opened in September 2020, so many are still finding out about their handmade gifts, bags, and accessories. She says this time of year is great for getting the word out about their relatively new business. “You really have to hope for a good holiday season so that it carries you through the slower months. We’ve been gearing up,” she said.

She says holiday events downtown help bring customers inside. “A lot of people are like, ‘oh gosh, I didn’t know you were here,’ so, anything the city helps you do to help people.”

Vogel remembers a very different Knoxville at Christmas when she moved here in 1982. “There was no place to go after 5 o’clock. You’d get off work and you couldn’t eat out. There were no bars to have a cocktail. It was just shut down completely,” she added.

It’s a very different story today as Market Square, Gay Street, and the Old City are packed with shoppers, families, and kids looking for elves on shelves. “It’s been wonderful to see the growth and commitment everybody has made to Knoxville. We’re just so happy to be a part of it.”

And this holiday season Vogel plans to pass on the holiday joy to other small business owners. “We tell people when they come down here, be sure to go to Rala, go up to Market Square, see the stores there.”