Hear those sleigh bells jinglin’? It is almost time for Christmas in the City!


The annual festivities kick off this Friday, Nov. 29th, with the Regal Celebration of Lights, presented by Regal Entertainment Corporation. The lighting of the 38-foot-tall Christmas Tree in Krutch Park Extension will take place at 6:15 p.m. Free activities include pictures with Santa Claus, face painting, balloon art, train rides and marshmallow roasting.


Additionally, the city is asking dozens of businesses and organizations to turn on the hundreds of brightly lit rooftop Christmas trees adorning buildings downtown and across the city at 6:15 p.m. “Up on the Rooftops” began in 1995 with 11 lit trees and has grown to include more than 400 trees.


After the lighting of the Christmas tree, the WDVX Holiday Ho-Ho-Hoedown will begin on Market Square at 6:30 p.m. There will be performances by Freddy Smith and his Christmas Chicken, Step Above Dance School and the Streamliners Swing Orchestra.


Knoxville’s Holidays on Ice, with ice skating on Market Square presented by Home Federal Bank, opens at 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 29th, and will remain open, rain or shine, through Jan. 5, 2014, (closed Christmas day). Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children 12 and younger, and includes skate rental. For more information about hours and rates, please visit www.knoxvillesholidaysonice.com.


And watch for these other Christmas in the City events!


On Friday, Dec. 6th, the WIVK and Advanced Office Systems Christmas Parade will parade down Gay Street & Jackson Avenue, in downtown Knoxville, beginning at 7 p.m. One of Knoxville’s favorite Christmas activities, the parade will consist of decorated vehicles and floats, marching bands and dancers and a special appearance from Santa Claus himself!


On Friday, Dec. 13th, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., visit a winter wonderland at Chilhowee Park and see a forest of lighted trees floating on the lake. Come and listen to live performances of Christmas carols, take free pictures with Santa Claus, enjoy hot cocoa, face painting, train rides and marshmallow roasting for children of all ages. Make a gingerbread house with the Austin-East Culinary Arts Department. Feel free to take a nightly self-guided tour through the park from Nov. 29 through Jan. 1.


The city is hosting a “Window Wonderland” window decorating contest for downtown businesses to coincide with this year’s theme of “A White Christmas in Knoxville.” Downtown businesses will have decorated window displays that the public can vote on from Nov. 29 – Dec. 14. Voting for best decorations will take place on the City of Knoxville Office of Special Event’s Facebook page. Those who are interested can view the participating businesses in a flyer that will be distributed throughout downtown.


Get your 2nd edition of the commemorative Christmas in the City ornament. This limited edition souvenir will be available at Tea & Treasures, located at 4104 Martin Mill Pike in South Knoxville. The ornaments portray Market Square and Holidays on Ice during the holiday season.


Ring in the New Year on Market Square and watch the ball drop at midnight on Dec. 31st. Celebrate the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014! Holidays on Ice will remain open until after midnight and the bars and restaurants downtown will be open, some offering live music.


To view all of the events that will be held throughout Knoxville during Christmas in the City, visit www.cityofknoxville.org/christmas.