KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Christmas in the City is coming back this year after COVID-19 prompted delays and eventually cancelations last year. Knoxville’s special events director said the city is going back to old traditions, plus it’s getting a new look.
Last year there was no parade and the skating rink had to be moved, then closed completely. This year’s Christmas in the City is now set to return with all its original festivities. City crews are already busy hanging nearly 150,000 lights as Knoxville prepares for Christmas in the City.
“We are so excited to be back,” said Kyndra Brewer, special events director for the city. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Brewer said the annual event looked a lot different in 2020 than in years past.
“We tried. We had the tree downtown and the tree was lit, but we weren’t able to bring everyone together to light the tree publicly. We opened the ice rink but we were only able to stay open for three days.”
This year’s celebration is expected to bring back many of the old traditions.
“Knoxville is all about tradition,” Brewer said. “We love tradition and Christmas in the City is one of the favorite traditions that Knoxville has to offer.”
The celebration runs from the end of November to January with tons of events in between.
“Activities will start on that Friday, November 26th, in Downtown Knoxville, and it will start with the Regal Celebration of Lights,” Brewer explained. “The Christmas Parade will be the following weekend November 3rd. It’s going to go down Gay Street. After that, we’re going to have the drive-in at Chilhowee [Park].”
While many traditions are coming back, new elements have been added she said.
“With the Regal Celebration of Lights, we chose to really try to encompass a holiday around the world theme. So trying to get a lot of our cultural partners involved and have them come down and explain and show what the holidays mean in their culture.”
The most noticeable change that everyone could see right now is a new logo.
“Here we have the Sunsphere that represents our city, turned into a Christmas ornament so we just couldn’t think of a better way to express our excitement.”
It’s a new element to a timeless tradition to many here in Knoxville. Brewer said they will continue to monitor CDC guidelines. As of right now, as long as you are outside you do not have to wear a mask. She also says during these events try to social distance if you can.