LISA DENTON: Barry, one of downtown's biggest events is coming up Friday, the Grand Illumination on the River. It'll be a busy night at Ross's Landing, which is only fitting since the Holiday Starlight Parade and Appalachian Christmas have been canceled this year. I guess Grand Illumination can be an even bigger party now.
BARRY COURTER: The floats and twang might be missing this year, at least downtown, but you are correct, the big guy will be singing on the river, and he will use his magic to light up the downtown buildings. I don't know about you, but I sometimes forget that a whole generation of folks just slightly younger than you and I have grown up with this event. It's as much a part of their holiday traditions and experience as gingerbread cookies and Ralphie and his BB gun.
LISA: Yeah, remember the year it actually snowed that evening? Magical.
Fans of floats and twang will still find a little bit of each since the Lighted Boat Parade will take place and The Dismembered Tennesseans will be among the performers. And there's a live Nativity scene and a mini Holiday Market with 20 artists and crafters from Chattanooga Market. And there's song and dance by the Choo Choo Kids and the Lindsay Fussell Dancers, all capped off with fireworks.
BARRY: I hope the kids don't think someone is shooting at the reindeer with those fireworks. We do love us some fireworks, don't we?
Everything kicks off at 6 p.m., and the whole thing lasts about three hours. The parade will start around 7. And the best part is, there is no admission charge. You can bring the whole family and have a good time. If you really want to get the full experience, plan to show up early and get a little dinner downtown, then walk over to Ross's Landing.
LISA: Just don't wear yourself out. The next morning, you can roll out of bed for breakfast with Santa at The Chattanoogan.
Santa sure has a lot of stamina, doesn't he?
You can choose an 8:30 or 11:30 a.m. seating. Cost is $12 for kids, $18 for adults, and you need to call 265-0771 for reservations.