Holidays happenings in Blount

Santa's here and Christmas fun has followed

By Lance Coleman
Senior reporter
Blount Today

Ask Dusty Fox of Blount County why he enjoys the Christmas season, and he’ll give a direct answer.
"Santa gets on his sleigh," the 5-year-old said while sitting with his twin brothers Daniel and Dillon at the Springbrook Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony Monday, Nov. 27.

Their big brother Thomas Ridings said being 16 and having younger brothers made the season a lot more enjoyable.

"It’s fun at Christmas time," he said. "I get to wake them up and go and watch them open their Christmas (presents)."
John Morton of Greenback had his four children -- Lauren, Connor, Lily and Blake -- in tow to watch the festivities. "They’re real excited," he said. "It’s a good family time."

The tree lighting at Springbrook Park was the first of the Hometown Christmas events sponsored by Parks and Rec and Blount Today, but it certainly isn’t the only event on the calendar. The holiday spirit is alive all over the county -- from Townsend’s parade to Christmas in Friendsville to events in Knoxville sponsored by Blount County businesses.

Following is a round-up of holiday happenings in Blount County.

Festival of Trees
Thursday, Nov. 30
Blount County Courthouse

The fifteenth annual "Christmas at the Courthouse," a Hometown Christmas event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 30, at the Blount County Courthouse.

The evening will include the official lighting of the Festival of Trees which will be displayed on the Courthouse lawn through Jan. 1.

Other activities during the holiday celebration will include musical performances by the Hometown Choir, the Mary Blount Elementary Bell Choir, a visit from Santa Claus who will arrive on a fire engine provided by the Blount County Fire Department, and rides on the holiday train for children.

According to Parks and Recreation assistant director Cookie Crowson, the program never gets old. "Every year it is different," Crowson said.

For more information regarding Hometown Christmas events sponsored by the Maryville-Alcoa-Blount Parks & Recreation and Blount Today, call 865-983-9244 or visit the Parks and Recreation web site at

House of Santa Mouse
Dec. 1-2
Blount County Public Library

Loris Colborn, treasurer of the Blount County Arts and Crafts Guild, there will be 31 members of the group showing and selling their arts and crafts at the show. Times are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1, and 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 2, at the Blount County Public Library.

Pioneer Christmas
Dec. 1
Thompson Brown House

Everyone is invited to the Thompson-Brown House located across from Blount Memorial Hospital between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Friday Dec. 1 for an old fashioned open house.

The 200-year- old log cabin will twinkle with period decorations provided by the Blount County Garden Clubs. There will be displays of Cades Cove miniature replica buildings and antique tools and toys. A light lunch will be provided for all visitors by the Blount County Historic Trust and Keep Blount Beautiful at no cost.

At noon, a special presentation will be made to honor the contribution of Melissa Nance, former director of the Little River Watershed Association.

According to Keep Blount Beautiful coordinator Kristi Falco, the event started three years ago. For information, call 865-681-4809 or email

Maryville College Concert Choir Winter Concert
Dec. 1
MC Fine Arts Center

Harpist and teacher Abigail Crouch will accompany the 50-member Maryville College Concert Choir during the choir’s annual winter concert, scheduled for 8 p.m., Dec. 1, in the Music Hall of the Fine Arts Center at Maryville College. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Stacey Wilner at 865-981-8151 or

Maryville College Student and Faculty Concert
Dec. 1
First Baptist Church of Maryville

The Maryville College Students and Faculty Concert at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at First Baptist Church of Maryville Family Life Center will include piano works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, Gershwin, and Schumann; a work for the euphonium by Clare Grundman, and an aria by Purcell. Admission is free and the concert is open to public. For information, call 865-981-8152.

Christmas in Friendsville
Dec. 1
Friendsville Community Center

Christmas in Friendsville will be held at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1. The event begins with a tree lighting in Homecoming Circle, and Santa will see youngsters at the Friendsville Community Center. The annual Christmas parade will be at 2 p.m. on Dec. 2 beginning at 1 p.m. at Friendsville Elementary School.

Maryville/Alcoa Jaycees Christmas Parade
Dec. 2

The Maryville/Alcoa Jaycees Christmas Parade will be at 11 a.m. Dec. 2. The theme this year is "Candy Land Christmas." For information, call 865-776-2380 or 865-776-3267.

The parade starts on Joule Street, goes through New Midland Plaza, turns right onto Calderwood Street, right onto West Broadway Avenue and ends at New Providence Presbyterian Church.

Secret Safe Place Breakfast with Santa
Dec. 2.
Alcoa Applebee’s

A Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee will hold a "Breakfast with Santa" from 7 - 9 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, at Applebee’s on Alcoa Highway.

Children of all ages and their families can enjoy pancakes with Santa, as well as participate in table activities. There will also be an opportunity to purchase special Christmas ornaments. Tickets are $5 for adults and children and include pancakes, sausage, and a drink. Tickets are available in advance from the Secret Safe Place Business Office at 865-254-2208 or at the door of the event. All proceeds benefit A Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee.

"This is our first year doing Breakfast with Santa," said chair and co-founder Shawna McConnell. The goal of the organization is to raise awareness of Tennessee’s Safe Haven Law in order to prevent newborn abandonment.

The Nutcracker by Appalachian Ballet Company
Dec. 2- 3
Knoxville Civic Auditorium

The dancers of the Appalachian Ballet will perform Nutcracker at 8 p.m. on Dec. 2 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 3 at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium.

For tickets, call Tickets Unlimited at 865-656-4444 or the Appalachian Ballet at 865-982-8463. There is a $5 discount for seniors and students. Tickets in advance are $35, $30 and $20. Tickets at the door are $40, $35 and $25. Group rates also start at $10.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Dec. 2-3
Theater in the Park

Showtimes for this free Living Nativity scene are every 30 minutes, beginning at 6 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. The admission, parking and seating are free. Presented by First Baptist Church of Maryville. There is a live cast with camels, sheep and burros.

Jesus Is Alive Worship Concert
Dec. 2
Maryville College Voices of Praise

The Maryville College Voices of Praise (VOP) Gospel Choir will perform the worship concert "Jesus is Alive All Over the World" at 6 p.m., Dec. 2, in the theater of the Wilson Chapel/Theatre Complex. Voices of Praise is composed of 50 students and alumni and area musicians.

The performance is free and open to the public. The concert will feature a blend of eclectic gospel styles from traditional, big band and urban gospel.

For information on how to purchase a recording, contact Larry Ervin at 865-981-8222 or

Messiah Community Sing-Along
Dec. 2

The 6th Annual Messiah Community Sing-Along with orchestra and chorus will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 2. The performance provides a unique opportunity for audience members to participate. All are welcome to come and sing along or just listen and enjoy.

This year, it will be held at the Assembly Hall of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Clinton. The black-and-white brick church is located off Miller Road on Hwy. 61 between the Clinton Physical Therapy Center and Love Homes. A special nativity display will also be featured. For questions, please contact director Sandy Wells at

Townsend Christmas Parade
Dec. 3.

The Townsend Christmas Parade begins at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at Nawger Nob Craft Settlement area on East Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend. The theme of the parade is "Christmas Creatures Great and Small."

The Reindeer Run
Dec. 3

Check in is from 12:45 p.m. to 1:30 on Dec. 3 at the Maryville Municipal Parking Garage. This run, which is the third leg of the Ruby Tuesday’s TripleCrown of Running, is a 5K (3.1 miles) and a 1-mile Fun Run/Walk. All participants of the Fun Run/Walk will receive a ribbon.

The 5 Kilometer race is at 2 p.m. and the 1-mile fun run/walk is at 2:30 p.m. Pre-registration through the Parks and Registration Office until 3 p.m. on Nov. 30 for $12 and $15 the day of the race. Online registration available at for an additional fee. Cost includes long-sleeve T-shirt and other giveaways.

City of Maryville Hometown Christmas Lighting
Dec. 4

The Hometown Christmas Lighting will be held at the Theater in the Park, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4. The program will feature music, live nativity, refreshments, visits with Santa Claus and a candy hunt.

Sanitation Santa will also be available at the Illumination of the Greenbelt. Santa arrives on the sanitation truck. Children bring a canned good or non-perishable item and get a free photo with Santa.

Holiday Concert
Dec. 4
The Orchestra at Maryville College and Community Chorus

The Orchestra at Maryville College and the Maryville College-Community Chorus will perform at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 4, in Wilson Chapel. Admission to the concert is free with a toy donation to the local Toys for Tots campaign. Ticket prices are $10 for adults; $7.50 for seniors 60 and up; free to students 18 and under; free to all Maryville College faculty, staff, and students with ID.

Holiday Spectacular
Dec. 5
Pellissippi State

Pellissippi State Technical Community College presents its "Holiday Spectacular" at 8 p.m. Dec. 5. The program will focus on the various cultural holiday traditions. It will be presented by the Pellissippi State Faculty and Staff Ensemble. The event will take place in the Performing Arts Center at the Pellissippi campus on Hardin Valley Road in Knox County. For information about the free concert, call 694-6701.

Santa Calls the Children
Dec. 5 and Dec. 7

Parks and Recreation is now accepting registration for the "Santa Call the Children" program. Registration applications are available at Parks and Recreation, 316 S. Everett High Road with the deadline set for Dec. 1.

Children ages 3-5 will be called on the evening of Dec. 5h between the hours of 5-9 p.m. and ages 6 and 7 will receive calls
on Dec. 7 from 5-9 p.m. For those who have submitted registration for members of their family to receive a call, parents are encouraged to make sure their children are available on the days and times specified.

Parks and Rec assistant director Cookie Crowson said Santa has been calling the youngsters for more than 20 years. The registration process is important because the parents inform Santa of different things he can praise the child for that they’ve done throughout the year.

For more information, call 865-983-9244 or visit

Maryville High School Holiday Concert
Dec. 5
First Baptist Church of Maryville

The Maryville High School Orchestra, the Maryville Singers and Trebelettes will present a Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 in the auditorium of First Baptist Church of Maryville. The concert is free to the public, but donations will be collected for the Mission of Hope. For more information contact Bill Robinson at 865-659-8596.

‘A Sander’s Family Christmas’
Fairview United Methodist Church
Dec. 7

Fairview United Methodist Church will bring "A Sander’s Family Christmas," presented by Cumberland County Playhouse to the church at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 7. Presented by the Cumberland County Playhouse. Tickets are $25 and all proceeds go to support the church’s mission emphasis in Lativia.

Toys for Tots
Through Dec. 7

The Toys for Tots will be collecting toys for less fortunate children through Dec. 7 at the drop off box at Royal Oaks Golf Pro Shop at 3705 Legends Way, Maryville. Toys must have a minimum value of $10. Monetary donations also can be made with checks payable to Toys for Tots and mailed to Sgt. Cesar Munoz, I & I Staff D, Co., 4th CEB, 2101 Alcoa Highway, Knoxville, TN, 37920.

‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’
Pellissippi State

"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" is a comedy about children who could well wreck their town’s annual Christmas play. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8; 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 and at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 in the Pellissippi State Performing Arts Center at the Hardin Valley Road campus in Knox County. For information, call 865-686-1781.

SKITmas at the Palace
Dec. 8-9

SKIT, Southern Kids in Theater, will present their debut performance at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9, at The Palace Theater. According to Debbie Lonsdale with Southern Kids in Theater, the 48 members will be doing a Broadway Christmas Revue. Advance tickets are available at Blount Today for $10 and are $12 at the door. For information, call Debbie Lonsdale, director of Southern Kids in Theater, at 865-621-0216.

A Celtic Christmas
Dec. 9
Palace Theater

Robin Bullock and Steve Baughman are the top American Celtic players in their field and this is their sixth year coming back to the Palace Theater for a holiday concert, said Palace Theater owner Steve Kaufman. The musicians will play stringed instruments such as fiddles, mandolins and guitars. "It’s very enchanting. It’s going to be a great night of family, traditional Celtic music," he said.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door the night of the concert. For ticket information, call the Palace Theater at 865-983-3330 or go to the Palace Café on East Harper Street, Maryville.

Singing Christmas Tree
Dec. 9-10

The Madison Avenue Baptist Church will have a Singing Christmas Tree at 7 p.m., Dec. 9 and at 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Dec. 10.

Holiday Favorites
Dec. 12
Maryville College Youth Chorale and Off Kilter

The Maryville College Youth Chorale and Off Kilter, a small vocal ensemble of the MC Concert Choir, will present the concert "Holiday Favorites" at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 12, at the Chilhowee Club located at 223 Clarion Avenue in Maryville.
The concert is free and open to the public.

Clayton Holiday Concerts
Dec. 15-17
Knoxville Civic Auditorium

The 20th Anniversary Clayton Holiday Concerts with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra is celebrating their special 20th Anniversary of the Clayton Holiday Concerts. To highlight the event, the KSO will perform an all-American holiday event featuring a video tribute of troops serving throughout the world.

Rejoining this year is the Knoxville Choral Society performing Hallelujah Chorus and other holiday classics. The Knoxville Children’s Choir will be featured as well as the Appalachian Ballet with a new rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Show times and dates are as follows: 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 15, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 16 and 3 p.m. on Dec. 17 at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium. For ticket information, call 865-291-3310.

A Walk Through Bethlehem
Dec. 10, Dec. 17
Monte Vista Baptist Church

Monte Vista Baptist Church will have "A Walk through Bethlehem," a live children’s nativity scene at 10 a.m. on Dec. 10 and 10 a.m. on Dec. 17.

Appalachian Christmas
Dec. 17
Fairview United Methodist Church

Fairview United Methodist Church will present "Appalachian Christmas" at 6 p.m. Dec. 17. The program will have bluegrass music, storytelling by Faye Wooden and goody bags for children.

‘White Christmas’
Dec. 21-22
Palace Theater

The classic film "White Christmas" will be shown at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 and 22 at the Palace Theater in downtown, Maryville. Tickets are $5 and children 12 and younger get free admittance. Call 876-983-3330 for information.

‘What Child Is This’
Dec. 22
Pellissippi State Performing Arts Center

The Christmas program "What Child is This?" is a program about the prophecy of Christ’s birth and life. The program will be at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Pellissippi State Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Road campus. For information, call 865-686-1781.

© 2006 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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