Holiday happenings: Lights, 2 parades, Jingle Bells 5K

People ice skate on Market Square during the 2011 Christmas in the City kickoff event.
Wade Payne/Special to knoxville.com

Photo by Wade Payne, copyright © 2011 // Buy this photo

People ice skate on Market Square during the 2011 Christmas in the City kickoff event. Wade Payne/Special to knoxville.com

With Christmas less than a month away, downtown Knoxville has been adorned with glimmering lights and embellished with decorative trees. And the holiday excitement is just beginning, with several "Christmas in the City" and Knox County holiday events coming up.

The "Comcast Christmas at Chilhowee Park" kicks off tonight at 6 p.m. with free holiday activities, like pictures with Santa Claus, a marshmallow roast and self-guided driving tours to see the forest of lighted trees floating in the park's lake.

On Saturday, enjoy free hot drinks and hot dogs at the Cove of Concord Park, 11808 Northshore Drive, as a lighted boat parade passes by for the fourth annual "Lightfest for Tots" from 5:30-7 p.m.

Entry is free, but new unwrapped toys and monetary donations will be accepted for the Toys for Tots program.

Then, the WIVK Christmas Parade will march through downtown on Dec. 7. Floats, marching bands and dancers will begin at 7 p.m. on Howard Baker Jr. Avenue, continue to Church Avenue, turn right onto Gay Street and turn right again onto Jackson Avenue.

The 5K Jingle Bell Run/Walk will benefit the Arthritis Foundation on Dec. 8 in Market Square. Participants are encouraged to wear holiday-themed costumes and tie bells to their shoelaces. The race begins at 10 a.m.

For more events, visit www.cityofknoxville.org/christmas.

Staff writer Jennifer Brake

© 2012 Knoxville.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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