Festival of Lights is ready to sparkle

Mike DonilaFun Outdoors

Knox County will cut the ribbon on the 22nd annual Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove at Concord Park (11808 S. Northshore Drive) at a family-friendly event starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, with Mayor Glenn Jacobs greeting guests and passing out candy “Kanes.”

The Festival itself will run from 6-9 p.m. through Sunday, Jan. 3, excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. It is free and open to the public though visitors are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for The Love Kitchen, which provides meals, clothing and emergency food packages for the homebound, homeless and unemployed.

Santa Claus will visit on Fridays and Saturdays and as available other nights (including opening night) throughout the week. The parks department’s carpenters built a sled for St. Nicholas so he can physically distance from the children but allow for photographs.

“The Festival of Lights is one of our most popular events county-wide,” said Mayor Jacobs. “I am pleased Knox County can continue this tradition and offer a bit of normalcy this holiday season with this incredible outdoor event.”

During the Festival, The Cove’s three-quarter-mile greenway trail is illuminated by a sparkling light display coordinated to music. The Knox County Parks and Recreation Department staff does all the decorating, which includes placing displays and thousands of lights.

An onsite vendor — found inside the River Sports Outfitters facility — will have hot drinks available for purchase most nights. The Cove has several fire pits available for guests to warm up or roast s’mores. All attendees are encouraged to observe the Five Core Actions. Pets on leashes are welcome. This is the second time ever the Festival will operate for most of the month of December. Last year was the first and visitors helped set records for monetary and non-perishable food donations. The 2020 Holiday Festival of Lights is sponsored by B97.5, the Knox County Mayor’s Office and Knox County Parks and Recreation.

In other department news, our carpenters spent the past couple of days installing new posts and cables in Tommy Schumpert Park while others worked on new signage throughout the parks system. Additionally, our crews were on the trails and in the parks, blowing leaves out of the way and installing the last of the lights for the upcoming festival. At the same time, The Knox County Public Works and Engineering Department also finished installing the new entrance to the parking lot of the Cove and widening along Northshore for the installation of new turn lanes for park access – again, just in time for the festival!

The folks out of the Knox County Public Works and Engineering Department also:

  • Bracket Road – Graded embankment for sight distance improvement
  • Hackworth Road – Installed double cross drainpipes
  • Cunningham Road – Removed existing area drain and built new headwall and swale to improve drainage from existing detention pond

Mike Donila is communications director for Knox County government.

Enjoy this carousel of photos of work across the county:


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