Downtown Christmas parade, party kick off slew of holiday events

December brings holiday parties, plays and more parties. Start participating tonight and keep going through the week.

Downtown Knoxville’s WIVK/Fowler Christmas Parade is 7 p.m. today. Singer/ “Dancing With the Stars” talent Julianne Hough is grand marshal. The parade adds blocks to its route as it travels into downtown’s Old City.

The parade begins at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum, traveling on Church Avenue before turning right on Gay Street. The parade won’t continue on Gay past its intersection with Summit Hill Drive. Instead, it will turn right on Summit Hill, then left on Central Street into the Old City. The parade will make a right onto Jackson Avenue and end just beyond Patton Street. A post-parade block party is in the 100 block of Gay Street.

That party is in front of the Emporium Center for Arts & Culture, which hosts its fifth annual “holiday extravaganza” 5-9 p.m. today and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6. The free shopping event highlights work by more than 25 Arts & Culture Alliance member artists and museum shops. There’ll be musical entertainment tonight and tomorrow.

Other holiday-themed events include:

The Actors Co-op presents a stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” at the Bijou Theatre, 803 S. Gay St. Shows are 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7. Tickets are $12.50 for students, $20 adults and available by calling 865-656-4444.

Decorate naturally at Ijams Nature Center’s 25th annual Holiday Craft Party. The center at 2915 Island Home Ave., hosts the party noon-3 p.m. Saturday. Call 865-577-4717, Ext. 10, to say you’ll attend. At the party, recycle materials to create gift tags, ornaments, candles and pine cone suet feeders. The event is free to Ijams members, $2 for nonmembers. There’s a 1-3 p.m. wreath workshop; cost for that is $5.

The Museum of Appalchia in Norris celebrates its annual “Christmas in Old Appalachia” with simple decorations and seasonal music. The museum’s free open house 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, includes music, demonstrations of skills like quilting and blacksmithing and horse-drawn wagon rides. Visitors are asked to bring nonperishable food items for the Norris Area Food Pantry. The museum is open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily except Christmas Day; admission on days other than the open house is $12.95 for adults, $10 for senior citizens age 65 and older, $5 for children ages 6-12.

Continue the season at 6 p.m. next Friday, Dec. 12, with the outdoor Comcast Christmas at Chilhowee. Chilhowee Park off Magnolia Avenue is decorated for the season. During the Dec. 12 kickoff, there’ll be free photos with Santa Claus, wagon rides, marshmallow roasting and carolers. The park will be open at night, without the festivities, through New Year’s Day, so visitors can see the lights.

Tin Soldier Productions and Ballet Gloria present “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14. The show is at the Pellissippi Performing Arts Center, Pellissippi State Technical Community College’s Hardin Valley campus. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 senior citizens and students, $8 ages 12 and younger, free ages 1 and younger. Tickets are at the door or call 865-689-8525.

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