I’ll be home for Christmas,” the famous carol says, and, in Blount County, Hometown Christmas brings everybody “home” to the Courthouse, Greenbelt, community center and favorite park.
Hometown Christmas offers all the down-home things that start that warm, holiday feeling in children and parents -- Christmas carols, hay rides, hot chocolate, trees sparkling with homemade and heartfelt decorations, candy canes, train rides and -- Santa!
The celebrations get rolling on Saturday, Nov. 28, with H.O.M.E. for Christmas as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Center. Alcoa lights up with Springbrook Splendor on Monday, Nov. 30, followed by Blount County’s Festival of Trees and Christmas at the Courthouse on Thursday, Dec. 3. The city of Maryville is the grand finale with the Illumination of the Greenbelt on Monday, Dec. 7.
Cookie Crowson, assistant director of Maryville Alcoa Blount County Parks and Recreation assistant director, said Hometown Christmas is an opportunity for the whole community to get into the holiday spirit. Now in its 18th year, the activities remain free and celebrate with music, pageantry, food, Santa and activities for the children.
Following is a description and schedule of each event.
H.O.M.E. for Christmas
• 6 - 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center
“The ML King Jr. Center does their event first the Saturday after Thanksgiving and will have a series of activities and fun things for kids and light refreshments,” Crowson said. The event has been expanded from last year. “Instead of one lighted tree, they’ll have several trees down where the pool used to be,” she said. “They will have a lot of activities and a mini festival of trees.”
Any family, church organization, individual or group interested in including a tree is welcome to do so. Light refreshments will be served at the Center following the tree lighting. The event is sponsored by H.O.M.E. Inc. and the Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Center.
6 - 7 p.m.: Light refreshments and musical performances.
7:15 p.m.: Lighting of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center trees
7:15 - 8 p.m.: Fellowship, fun and activities for children
•6:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30 at the Upper Fields of Springbrook Park
“At Springbrook they’ve changed up their entertainment. We’re going to do a hayride this year down some of the shorter streets in Alcoa,” Crowson said. “The Alcoa Singers and the Alcoa Elementary School Christmas Choir will perform, and Matthew Dixon will do a solo.”
Rain date for the event is 6:15 p.m. on Dec. 1.
Christmas at the Courthouse and Festival of Trees
• 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3 at the Blount County Courthouse
The lawn of the Blount County Courthouse will be illuminated with a display of live Christmas trees of all sizes, colors, and decorative themes. This unique month-long event allows the community to enjoy the festival either by driving by or walking through for a closer look. The official opening of the Festival will take place on the Courthouse lawn and will include music, refreshments, visits with Santa Claus, and train rides for the children.
“We’ve got new entertainment groups we’ve not had before,” said Crowson. “The East Maryville Baptist Student Church Choir, the bell choir from Mary Blount Elementary and Townsend Elementary will perform.” There will be 36 Christmas trees decorated by different businesses and organizations on the lawn of the courthouse.
6:30 p.m.: Tree lighting and musical entertainment
7 p.m.: Open house in the lobby of the courthouse with light refreshments. The Blount County Fire Department will then bring Santa Claus in and children will be able to visit with him on the front lawn of the courthouse. There will also be train rides down Ellis Avenue.
Illumination of the Greenbelt
• 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7 at the Pistol Creek Station
The Maryville Tree Lighting ceremony is at the pedestrian bridge at Pistol Creek Station leading to the Blount County Public Library. The program will feature music, refreshments, a candy hunt for Ages 2-12, and visits with Santa Claus in the Library at the end of the event.
Crowson said there will be two groups who have never been at that venue. “One is a group called the City Carolers, an adult choir made up of employees of Maryville. Another new group is All About Jazz, a youth show choir.”
There will be a candy hunt for children in the Greenbelt, and Santa arrives on the Sanitation Santa truck. Santa will make his way across the pedestrian bridge to the rotunda of the Blount County Public Library where there will be free digital photos with children.
Rain date is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8.