KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A special Great Smoky Mountains’ summer event is making its way to Market Square.

The Downtown Knoxville Alliance is creating a new light installation this spring and summer called Firefly Nights. The installation will mimic the synchronous fireflies that attract thousands of visitors to Elkmont each spring.

More than 12,000 lights will flash from sunset to sunrise through the end of June in the square.

Every year in late May or early June, thousands of visitors from across the country gather to observe the naturally occurring phenomenon of Photinus carolinus, a firefly species that flashes synchronously, at the park. However, COVID-19 restrictions put the popular viewing event on hold last year.

“With warm weather and longer days, Downtown Knoxville is the perfect place to find spontaneous fun for the entire family,” said Michele Hummel, executive director of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance. “People are excited to be getting safely out and about again, and we hope the creation of Firefly Nights can make being downtown even more special for them.”

Visitors are asked to use the #fireflynights hashtag so photos can be shared and found on social media.

Visit to explore restaurants and shops by category, such as “Outdoor Seating” or “Pet-Friendly Patio.”