Staff File Photo by Robin Rudd / The Magic Forest is a highlight on a tour through Rock City's Enchanted Garden of Lights. The holiday spectacle opens Friday.

Santa sightings and other Christmas events add a festive note to the calendar this week, but a scarecrow contest and a Friendsgiving dinner can help us hold on to the present a little longer.

(READ MORE: Where to find the best Christmas lights in Chattanooga)


— Festival of Trees & Gala, a fundraiser for Foundation House Ministries, which provides aid for women in crisis pregnancies, is Thursday at Westmore Church of God, 2440 Legacy Parkway NW, Cleveland, Tennessee. A silent auction of decorated Christmas trees and gifts begins at 5 p.m. The gala, featuring a buffet dinner, door prizes and music by Lee University's Evangelistic Singers and Symphonic Band, starts at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $40.

— Enchanted Garden of Lights, a 27-year tradition, opens Friday at Rock City, 1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, Georgia. The award-winning light display is known for its tens of thousands of twinklers covering pathways, natural structures and holiday vignettes. The attraction is open 5-9 nightly (until 10 on select nights), through Jan. 2 (closed Christmas Eve). Admission varies by date, with a range of $17-$30 for adults, $9-$16 for children 3-12. Tickets must be purchased online in advance. The park is also open during the day, requiring a separate timed admission ticket. Check online about photos with Santa, dinner with Santa and musical entertainment on select nights.

— Ice on the Landing, a 120-by-40-foot, open-air ice-skating rink, opens for the season at 6 p.m. Friday in the Chattanooga Choo Choo gardens, 1400 Market St. Opening night features music by organist Buddy Shirk until 7 p.m. and prize giveaways. Weather permitting, the rink will be open daily, including holidays, through Jan. 30 (closed Mondays for party rentals except during school winter break). Admission is $10-$12 adults, $8 children 12 and younger).

— East Ridge Christmas parade steps off at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The route follows Germantown Road from Ringgold Road to Tombras Avenue. 423-867-7711

— North Pole Limited train rides begin Saturday at Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, 4119 Cromwell Road. The hourlong excursion from Grand Junction Station includes refreshments, storytelling and the chance to write a letter to Santa, who's waiting at his workshop (the East Chattanooga station). Tickets are $30-$40. Rides are offered through Dec. 23.

— Chattanooga Music Club will present its annual free holiday concert at 7 p.m. Monday at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1505 N. Moore Road. It will feature the Chattanooga Girls Choir, low brass ensemble Deep Six and organ music by Bruce Clark.

(READ MORE: Fall Festival Guide: 90+ events to celebrate the season in Chattanooga and beyond)



— Bass Pro Shops: 1000 Bass Pro Drive at I-75 Exit 1, East Ridge. Santa's Wonderland, now open, requires reservations for photos with Santa. Customers receive a free 4x6 photo with the option to purchase packages.

— Hamilton Place: 2100 Hamilton Place Blvd. Santa will be on duty starting Friday on the lower level near Belk and the Food Court. Reservations are recommended. Pet photo sessions are scheduled 4-7 p.m. the next four Mondays (Nov. 22 and 29, Dec. 6 and 13). Check online for hours, breaks and photo prices.

— Bradley Square Mall: 200 Paul Huff Parkway, Cleveland, Tennessee. Santa will arrive at 6 p.m. Friday with plenty of company. Frosty, Rudolph, Snoopy, the Gingerbread Man, Buddy the Elf, the Grinch, Chase and Sky from "PAW Patrol," Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spider-Man, Scooby-Doo, Poppy Troll and Olaf will be spread throughout the common area of the mall greeting Santa as he makes his way to his workshop near American Eagle from the new west entrance by Pandemonium Family Fun Center. Characters will have candy for kids and will pose for photos until 7 p.m. Santa photo sessions start Saturday. Reservations are recommended. Pet photos will be made 2-7 p.m. Nov. 29 and Dec. 6.

— Northgate Mall: 271 Northgate Mall Drive, Hixson. Santa arrives Wednesday at Center Court. Pet photos are 4-7 p.m. the following three Mondays (Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and 13). Reservations are recommended for children's photos. Check online for hours, breaks and photo prices.

— Dalton Mall: 816 Walnut Square Blvd., Dalton, Georgia. Santa arrives Dec. 3. Reservations are recommended.

(To search for more things to do in the Chattanooga area by topic, visit our events page.)

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Chattanooga-area event roundup



— Art + Issues, a monthly series at Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View, will feature a panel discussion led by local Muslim and Arab women at 6 p.m. Thursday. Free admission.

— Friendsgiving Supper Club: Feed Co. Table & Tavern, 201 W. Main St., will host this inaugural event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the private dining space at the rear of the restaurant off Williams Street. Main courses on the buffet are honey-glazed ham and rosemary prime rib. Wine, beer and seasonal cocktails will be available. Tickets are $30; supplies are limited.

— Cocktail classes: At least two local businesses have scheduled Thanksgiving-themed cocktail classes. The Chattery, 1800 Rossville Ave., plans an in-person class to make three turkey-complimentary drinks 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday. Cost is $30. The new McLemore Mixology Series, focusing on craft cocktails, begins at 6 p.m. Saturday in one of the development's model homes, 360 Canyon Ridge Road, Rising Fawn, Georgia. Cost is $40., the

— Chattanooga Fashion Expo offers three days of parties, panels and workshops for anyone interested in fashion and related arts. A highlight on the final day, Saturday, is a two-hour runway show at 5:30 p.m. at the Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza. Tickets are $50-$125. Admission is free to a retail marketplace, opening at 4 p.m. in an adjoining ballroom. Among the celebrity guests is Aaron Michael, a contestant on the current season of Bravo's "Project Runway."

— Master Gardeners of Hamilton County's monthly class focuses on Holiday Flower Arranging. It will be presented virtually 10 a.m.-noon Saturday. It's free, but register for the Zoom link.

— Chattanooga Green Prix, a race of electric cars designed and built by local students, is Friday and Saturday at 160 Riverfront Parkway near the Southern Belle riverboat. Elementary school competitors will race at 2:30 p.m. Friday. Middle and high school students race at 2:45 p.m. Saturday. Qualifying starts at 1:30 p.m. both days. Look for live music, snack carts, lawn games and the EPB E-Team (with electric vehicles) set up both days on the Chattanooga Green.

— Coffee With a Curator, set for 10 a.m. Saturday at Museum Center at Five Points, 200 E. Inman St., Cleveland, Tennessee, features a talk on the Vital Buffalo Farm, owned by Greg Vital, the newly elected representative to Tennessee House District 29. The program is free with museum admission ($9 adults).

— Book signing: Local author David Carroll signs copies of "Hello Chattanooga: Famous People Who Have Visited the Tennessee Valley" 2-4 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble, 2100 Hamilton Place Blvd.

— Battles for Chattanooga: Multiple programs over multiple days will take place at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park campuses to commemorate the 158th anniversary of these Civil War battles. Saturday includes programs at Moccasin Bend and Lookout Mountain. Sunday's programming returns to the same sites and adds in Sherman Reservation. More talks and tours are scheduled Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Full schedule:

— Girls Inc., which inspires and equips girls for leadership, will open an online auction at noon Sunday for bids on Disney, Hawaii and ski vacations, custom gift baskets and gift cards to local restaurants and attractions. The fundraiser, which runs through noon Nov. 28, replaces the organization's 60th Anniversary Diamond Soiree, which was canceled in September because of rising COVID-19 cases.

— Collegedale Scarecrow Contest is in its final days, with a winner of the inaugural event to be announced Monday on the Parks and Recreation Department's Facebook page. Residents must deliver their creations by 11 a.m. Friday to City Hall, 4910 Swinyar Drive.

— Etowah Arts Commission, 700 Tennessee Ave., Etowah, Tennessee, will host an artist meet-and-greet with Barbara Ensley 2-4 p.m. Sunday to introduce her exhibit "The Invisible Thread."



— Calvary Memorial Baptist Chapel, 518 Highway 41, Ringgold, Georgia, welcomes eight-time Dove Award winners Karen Peck & New River to the 10:30 a.m. Sunday service. 706-891-9340

— Joseph Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2613 Wood Ave., celebrates its centennial in special services at 11 a.m. Sunday. The Rev. Donna L. Perkins was appointed pastor in October. The church primarily serves the Bozentown and East Chattanooga communities.



— Noontunes, a free weekly concert series, features "Ragtime Raconteur" Lon Eldridge at noon Thursday at Miller Plaza, 850 Market St. Food trucks and vendors will be set up at 11 a.m.

— Chattanooga Symphony & Opera presents selections described as cheery and lighthearted in the "Ravel & Brahms" Masterworks concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave. Joong Han Jung will be featured on piano. Tickets are $25-$90.

— Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave., hosts a Chattanooga Song Circle performance by local indie artist Jennifer Daniels Neal at 7 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $12.50 in advance, $15 at the door.

— Concert for a Cause, a monthly evening of music and storytelling presented by Be the Change Youth Initiative, is 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Wanderlinger Brewing Co., 1208 King St. Featured are local artists Anna Baldree; Sydney and Brayden Guerrette; Eric Kirkendoll and Darla Herron; and Sam Steadman. The $10 admission donation goes to the Epilepsy Foundation of Southeast Tennessee's art program.

— A Night of Gospel Music featuring Grammy-winning artist Jason Crabb, former Confederate Railroad member Chris McDaniel and family group The Hullenders, starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Colonnade, 264 Catoosa Circle, Ringgold, Georgia. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door; $12 ages 12 and younger. Net proceeds will be donated to the North Georgia Alzheimer's Association.

— Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St., has very limited tickets for these concerts. The Tedeschi Trucks Band, led by husband and wife blues/rock guitarists Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $49-$99. Christian rapper TobyMac will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $28-$102. Legendary rock band ZZ Top plays at 8 p.m. Tuesday, with the band's longtime guitar tech, Elwood Francis, filling in on bass for the late Dusty Hill. Tickets are $79-$150.

— The Signal, 1810 Chestnut St., has three shows on the books. Friday: 1980s tribute band The Breakfast Club, 8 p.m., $20-$35. Saturday: country artist Jameson Rodgers on the Cold Beer Calling My Name Tour, with Jordan Rowe, 8:30 p.m., $15-$30. Sunday: DJ Sullivan King on his Loud & Reckless Tour, with Blanke and Layz, at 8:30 p.m., $22-$45.

— The Arts Avenue, 1800 Rossville Ave., will welcome 17-year-old EmiSunshine, the musical prodigy from Madisonville, Tenn., who has attracted national attention since age 9, in a CD release concert at 7 p.m. Friday. She and her band, The Rain, will debut her ninth studio album, "Family Wars." Tickets are $20.

— The Caverns, 555 Charlie Roberts Road, Pelham, Tennessee, will host shows at 8 p.m. CST Friday, Saturday and Sunday by jam band The Disco Biscuits. Tickets are $85 for any single show, $170 for a Friday/Saturday combo.

— Songbirds, 35 Station St., welcomes Southern rock band Drivin N Cryin at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $25.



— TheatreQuest, an interest group for teens, will present a Coffeehouse Cabaret of original comic entertainment at 7 p.m. Friday at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St. Admission is free; desserts will be available for a nominal fee.

— The Comedy Catch, 29 Station St., welcomes Katie K for shows at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $17-$19.

— Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St., features comedian Fortune Feimster at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Her television credits include a "Sweet & Salty" stand-up special on Netflix. Tickets are $35-$50.



— "The Christians": Set in a megachurch with a gospel choir and musicians, this Obie-winning play by Lucas Hnath explores how moral disagreements create divisions. Covenant College Theatre Department productions start at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Sanderson Theater, 14049 Scenic Highway, Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Tickets are $7-$10. 706-419-1051

— "The Thanksgiving Play": This satirical comedy by Larissa FastHorse, about a drama teacher's attempt to present a historically accurate but racially sensitive, play about the first Thanksgiving, is next for Back Alley Productions. It will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (and Dec. 3-4) and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday (and Dec. 5) in Mars Theatre, 117 N. Chattanooga St., LaFayette, Georgia. Tickets are $12-$14.

— "Plaid Tidings" opens Friday at Cumberland County Playhouse, 221 Tennessee Ave., Crossville, Tennessee. The musical features Christmas standards plus a reprise of favorites from its predecessor, "Forever Plaid." The show closes Dec. 19. Tickets are $16-$30.

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281.