The holiday season is officially upon us, and Christmas festivals and parades are scheduled throughout the area to help residents take advantage of the jolly spirit that takes over this time of year. Check this list to find a celebration near you.
McKamey Animal Center is introducing what is hoped to become an annual Tree-Lighting Holiday Party Thursday, Nov. 30. Intended for all ages, the free event begins with a children's choir performance at 6 p.m. followed by an ugly sweater contest for dogs at 6:30. Don't feel left out, feline-fans: Cats have their own contest on the McKamey Facebook page.
The ceremonial tree-lighting is set for 7:30 p.m. Along with enjoying free refreshments, attendees can also have photos taken with Santa or his elves from 4-8 p.m. for a $5 charge.
McKamey Animal Center is at 4500 N. Access Road. For more information, visit mckameyanimalcenter.org.
Love Lookout's Community Christmas Celebration is being held at Caldwell Commons Friday, Dec. 1 from 6-7 p.m. Gather for live bluegrass and caroling with the band Morning Watch, along with the main event: the lighting of the town Christmas tree. Guests can enjoy doughnuts and hot chocolate from Monkey Town Donuts while perusing Christmas gifts for sale by Love Lookout, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bettering the Lookout Mountain community, with proceeds going to support future community projects.
Caldwell Commons is the park across from the Lookout Mountain Commons at 700 Scenic Highway. For more information, visit facebook.com/lovelookout.
The city of Red Bank is holding its annual Christmas Festival at Red Bank City Park Saturday, Dec. 2 from 4-8 p.m. in conjunction with the city's Christmas Parade, which begins at 5:30 p.m. that day. Santa will arrive at the festival on the parade's final float to visit with attendees. The outdoor festival also features music, food and gift vendors.
Red Bank City Park is at 3859 Dayton Blvd. For more information, visit redbanktn.gov or call City Hall at 877-1103.
The Mountain Arts Community Center is hosting a tree-lighting ceremony for the town of Signal Mountain Saturday, Dec. 2 from 4-6 p.m. The typically annual event (the MACC did not hold it last year) is returning this year as an outdoor event held earlier in the day than in years past. Hot chocolate will be served as the Thrasher and Nolan Elementary choirs perform, and Santa will be on-hand for photos.
The MACC is at 809 Kentucky Ave. and can be reached at 886-1959, or visit signalmacc.org to learn more.
The city of Soddy-Daisy is holding its Christmas at Poe's Tavern Celebration at Poe's Tavern Park Saturday, Dec. 2 from 4-7 p.m. Everything is free at the annual event, featuring music by local school and church groups, along with cookies, hot chocolate, coffee and a visit from Ole St. Nick. Attendees should bring their own camera to capture their special moment with Santa, said City Manager Janice Cagle.
On Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m., the city's annual Christmas Parade begins at the intersection of Harrison Lane and Dayton Pike. The route continues down Dayton Pike to the thoroughfare's intersection with Sequoyah Access Road. The parade typically has between 75 and 100 entrants, and trophies are awarded to the best entries in three categories.
In lieu of entry fees, participants are asked to make a donation to the Soddy-Daisy Fire Fighters Association for its Christmas for Kids, which provides gifts for 200-300 local children each year, Cagle said.
Poe's Tavern Park is at 9817 Dayton Pike. For more information, visit the city's website at soddy-daisy.org or call City Hall at 332-5323.