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Governor-elect Bill Haslam lights downtown Christmas Tree

By Jeaneane Payne

Market Square was filled with approximately 10,000-12,000 people on Friday evening, November 26 to help kick off Knoxville's annual Christmas in the City event with the lighting of First Tennessee Foundation's Christmas tree at Regal Celebration of Lights.

Knoxville Mayor and Tennessee's Governor-elect, Bill Haslam, kicked off the event by lighting a 5,000 light, 38 foot tall Christmas tree.

christmas in the city
Lighting of the Tree event; Tearsa Smith and Bo Williams of WATE TV join singing with the choir

With perfect, cool weather on hand, the air was fllled with beautiful holiday choral presentations by Grace Baptist Church choir. The tree lighting was held between Gay Street and Krutch Park in Market Square and in front of Regal Cinemas, one of the sponsors for the event.

First Tennessee Foundation's tree lighting also kicked off Knoxville's Up on the Rooftops event in which area businesses place lighted trees on top of their building during the holiday season. According to Haslam, 400 businesses have agreed to participate in this year's event.

Friday night's event did not stop at the tree lighting. Market Square was filled with fun things to do, including skating at Knoxville's only open-air ice skating rink. Other festivities included caroling, marshmallow roasting, and unique shopping at the Christmas Market. Free horse drawn carried rides were offered on Gay Street. Children enjoyed free cookie decorating and pictures with Santa. Mayfield Dairies provided free snow cream and eggnog, and the Salvation Army offered free hot cocoa.

Published November 27, 2010

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