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‘Cove’ turns on Christmas lights
Annual family-friendly spectacle begins Friday, Dec. 19

Knox County Parks and Recreation will once again kick off the last week before Christmas with its annual Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove at Concord Park from 6:30 to 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 19.

The first two evenings of the event will feature free horse-drawn carriage rides sponsored by Pimento’s and Lenoir City Utility Board.

Doug Bataille, senior director of Parks and Recreation for Knox County, said, “The Holiday Festival of Lights has become a tradition at The Cove. We appreciate our sponsors joining us to present it again this year.”

The event will run through Dec. 28, excluding Christmas Day and offers an opportunity for families to enjoy the holiday season together.

Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale said, “The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year. In Knox County, we are lucky to have so many fun and exciting things to do to celebrate.

“The Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove is a great opportunity to get outdoors, roast marshmallows, drink hot chocolate and spend time with family and friends. 

“With over 200,000 lights in the park, it’s hard not to catch a little holiday cheer.  It’s a great experience,” he added.

Ellen Blasius, Parks and Recreation public relations representative, said the event offers something for everyone.

“Besides the lights in the park we are going to have a craft and gift market in the building and we are going to have free cookie decorating sponsored by Kroger this year.

“Our guys set up a couple of bonfires, one close to the park and one a little farther out in the park and those can be used for roasting marshmallows. One of our vendors will be selling little bags of marshmallows and we’ve got sticks that we provide. So while people are waiting in line or afterwards they can roast marshmallows by the fire,” she added.

The event also offers a way to give back to the community.

“We are going to be collecting cans of food for The Love Kitchen,” Blasuis said.

“The rides and everything are free, so it is not mandatory, but we would like to suggest that people bring a canned food item for the event. Anything non-perishable is great. They do full dinners for people, so anything is appreciated and they are just delighted to be the recipient this year,” she added.

Dec. 19-20 the event will be for carriage rides only and walkthroughs. Pets are not allowed.

“We will have five wagons going, so even though when people come there may be a line, but the wagons hold 15 to 20 people, so the lines go really quickly,” Blasius said.

“The rest of the time people can walk and bring dogs and just leisurely walk through and enjoy it at their own pace,” she added.

There will be several types of light displays throughout the park. “We have several displays that are Tennessee themed,” Blasius said.

“We have a farm setting with some animals. We have some football players, I think they have a little orange and white on them with the ball going between them, and we have a fisherman in a boat.

“Our guys decorate one of the great big trees in the back and it is covered with 22,000 lights and it is just beautiful,” she added.


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