Christmas in Blount

Holiday happenings are plentiful as December arrives

The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas have hit Blount County, and there is more to do the first two weeks of December that most calendars can bear.

While what follows is no doubt incomplete, these are the events sent to us for our calendars. For your convience, we put the ones happeing this weekend and early next week all together to help you plan your holiday traditions.

Hometown Christmas continues with 2 final events

The third and fourth events of Blount County’s Hometown Christmas will wind up this week with the Hometown Christmas at the Courthouse tonight, Thursday, Nov. 29, at the courthouse, and on Monday, Dec. 3, with the Hometown Christmas for the city of Maryville.

Hometown Christmas at the Courthouse will feature the Festival of Trees, with tree lighting to begin at 6:30 p.m. tonight on the courthouse steps. There will be performances of holiday music by the Hometown Choir, the Mary Blount Bell Choir and Janice Cunningham.

Train rides, visits with Santa and refreshments will follow.

On Monday, the City of Maryville features the lighting of the trees at Pistol Creek Station, near the Blount County Public Library, at 6:30 p.m.

The location is different from last year’s event at Theater in the Park to better showcase the trees, said Cookie Crowson of Parks & Rec, who, with Blount Today, are sponsors of the four Hometown Christmas events.

At the city event, Foothills Intermediate School and East Maryville Baptist Celebration Choir will provide musical entertainment. There will be a candy hunt for the children, a visit by Santa and the reading of the Christmas Story.

All events are free and open to the public.

Nutcracker is ‘on pointe’ at Civic Auditorium

The Appalachian Ballet Company’s presentation of “Nutcracker” began for school children today, Thursday, Nov. 29, with presentations for area schools, retirement homes and other groups.

The public performances are Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2, at the Civic Auditorium in Knoxville.

Olivia Miller plays Clara in this timeless ballet. Dancers from all over East Tennessee, plus a few adult “guests,” perform in the company’s winter production.

In addition to Miller, senior Appalachian Ballet dancers from Blount County performing in “The Nutcracker” are Kristin Palacios, Megan Bledsoe, Kimmy Allen and Emily Isaacs, Alexandra Bowen, Megan Baker, Sarah Dickinson, Jennifer Cardwell, Emily Pickett, Anne Souder, Caroline Anglim, Emily Corgan and Kendall Powell.

Tickets are available at the Appalachian Ballet Company office at 215 W. Broadway or through the Civic Auditorium box office (865-656-4444 or toll free at 877-995-9961) or at any Tickets Unlimited Outlet.

Prices range from $20 to $40 for advance purchase.

Keith McDaniel will play Warbucks in SKIT’s “Annie”

Southern Kids in Theatre (SKIT Productions Inc.) is welcoming a guest artist to play the part of Daddy Warbucks in the upcoming production of “Annie.”

The featured guest artist is Keith McDaniel, who has appeared on stages in East Tennessee for the past 30 years. Since 1990, he has been in more than 30 productions at the Oak Ridge Playhouse, including “Smoke on the Mountain,” “The Boys Next Door,” “Oklahoma,” “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “Annie” and many others.

The production will premier at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, at the Pellissippi Performing Arts Center in Knoxville, and will be followed by a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. and a Saturday night performance at 8 p.m.

McDaniel is an East Tennessee native who began his theatrical career as Hysterium in the 1977 Roane State Community College production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” He continued in stage productions at Carson Newman College, where he earned a BA in Communications/Theatre. Today, Keith McDaniel is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and owner of Secret City Films in Oak Ridge. His latest film, “The Clinton 12,” narrated by James Earl Jones, has screened in film festivals across the United States and has won numerous awards. It will be broadcast on PBS in 2008.

For tickets, visit online at or call 865-621-0216 or 865-982-0600. SKIT is located at 507 Ellis Avenue on Maryville.

Broadway Baptist Church presents ‘Christmas Festival’

Broadway Baptist Church will mix humor with tradition next weekend with its Christmas Festival. The Celebration Choir is presenting the festival on Dec. 14, 15 and 16 at the church, with performances beginning at 7 p.m.

The traditional story of Christmas ends the program, which begins with a humorous presentation full of Christmas music and carols. For more information, call 865-982-6012. Broadway Baptist is located at 2329 E. Broadway Ave.

Heritage Center to host Christmas memories event

The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center will host its second Smoky Mountain Christmas Memories event Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 at the center in Townsend.

“We look forward to celebrating the Christmas season with our visitors and volunteers,” said Bob Patterson, center director. “We welcome everyone to enjoy these beautiful period decorations, live music, refreshments and the center itself throughout the weekend.”

Blount County garden clubs will decorate the center’s main lobby and two of the outbuildings in styles reminiscent of the 1800s. Tuckaleechee Garden Club will decorate Cardwell Cabin for the second year in a row, and Sunrise Garden Club will again decorate Montvale Station. Alcoa Garden Club is participating for the first year and will decorate the lobby in the center’s main building. Smoky Mountain Garden Club is donating poinsettias.

The center will host a member-only event on Friday, Nov. 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will include live music and special appearances by Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Refreshments will be available.

During the day on Friday and Saturday, Inez Adams, a Maryville resident who was born in Cades Cove, will show visitors how to make paper flowers.

On Saturday, Southern Kids in Theater (SKIT) will present a workshop for children ages 8 through 18. No theater experience is necessary. There will be an on stage performance by workshop participants. The workshop performance will be followed by a special presentation featuring SKIT members. To participate in the workshop and performance, call Kathy Prince at the Heritage Center at 865-448-0044 or e-mail

Activities during the three-day event are free to the public, including the children’s theater workshop. The Friday evening event is limited to members of the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center. For more information, including times and a schedule of music performers, visit the center’s Web site at

First Baptist’s Living Nativity comes to Greenbelt

First Baptist Church of Maryville seventh annual Living Nativity Scene is Saturday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 2 at the Greenbelt Amphitheatre. A cast with live animals will present shows on the half hour beginning at 6 p.m. both evenings. The last show each night will begin at 8:30 p.m. The celebration features free admission, free parking, free seating, and free refreshments. All who attend will receive a free gift as well. Come join the celebration of the Savior’s birth.

For information, call the First Baptist Family Life Ministry at 865-982-5531.

‘Joy to the World’ is First Baptist Alcoa presentation

“Joy to the World” is the theme of the multi-media production by First Baptist Church of Alcoa on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2, at the church, 810 Gilbert St. The presentation features more than 120 members in the choir, orchestra and drama group.

“Joy to the World” is open to the public. Times are 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2.

Pellissippi Holiday Spectacular adds show

Due to a history of standing-room-only crowds, this year Pellissippi State Technical Community College will present two performances of its Dec. 4 Holiday Spectacular.

Bill Brewer, director of the annual Holiday Spectacular musical event, says community response in the past few years has been phenomenal.

To meet the demand, two showings of the Ninth Annual Holiday Spectacular are scheduled. One show will be at 6 and the other at 8 p.m. Each show will last about an hour and 20 minutes.

The event will take place in the Performing Arts Center on the Pellissippi Campus on Hardin Valley Road.

The 135-member Holiday Spectacular cast is made up of two student choral ensembles and a faculty-staff choir, a brass ensemble, a guitar ensemble, a harp ensemble and a jazz band, along with a dance class at Pellissippi State.

The concert is free. Donations will be accepted to the Music Scholarship fund. For information, contact Bill Brewer at 865-694-6701.

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