Chilhowee Park transforms into a sparkling winter wonderland and open its gates for the free Christmas at Chilhowee celebration this Friday, Nov. 30, from 6-9 p.m.

Sixth District City Council representative Gwen McKenzie will begin the ceremony at 6 p.m. the park’s historic bandstand, which was built for the 1910 Appalachian Exposition. The Emerald Youth choir will perform a few seasonal songs, then everyone assembled will help Santa light the Christmas tree. Santa will visit with youngsters and have pictures made until 9 p.m.

In addition to meeting Santa, guests can do creative activities offered by Pellissippi State Community College, Keep Knoxville Beautiful and The Muse Knoxville. Activities include: face-painting, balloon animals and roasting marshmallows, plus free hot chocolate and doughnuts.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross will offer opportunities for guests to personalize holiday cards that will be mailed to active military serving overseas.

Visitors of all ages can hop on a hay ride that tours the entire park, and children can ride a miniature train whose route includes the tunnel under Magnolia Avenue and back.

Admission to Christmas at Chilhowee is free. All events take place outdoors, so dress appropriately for the weather. Chilhowee Park will be open for nightly self-guided tours through Jan. 1, 2019.

Event sponsors are SMG Knoxville, WNOX 93.1, Krispy Kreme, and The Muse Knoxville.

Find a list of all Christmas in the City events on the City of Knoxville’s website: