Two turtle doves are tending a nest in the gorgeous Christmas tree designed by G&G Interiors. The decorating theme this year: The 12 Days of Christmas.
Warning: There has been an explosion of Christmas at the Knoxville Convention Center. There’s no more denying it or putting it off. You might as well give in.
When the Fantasy of Trees opens, Christmas time is here!
Fantasy of Trees is a sprawling Christmas wonderland set up in the Convention Center’s exhibition hall. It features hundreds of decorated Christmas trees, non-stop live music and children’s activities ranging from cookie decorating to ornament making and holiday manicures. (Click here for a list of kids’ offerings.)
In its 28th year, Fantasy of Trees is a major fundraising event for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, last year hauling in nearly $350,000. More than 55,000 folks will go through the turnstiles before the extravaganza closes Sunday evening.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children aged 4 to 12. Younger kids get in free. But you don’t have to pay full price. There are numerous ways to get discounts ranging from the Knox County Schools coupon book to $1 off coupons that have been running in the News Sentinel. Or, on Saturday, bring in your UT football ticket for a discount. On Sunday, your church bulletin will get you in at cut rate. (Click here for a list of all discounts and how to get them.)
Whatever you do, don’t miss out. You might want to check out some special events set to occur during the Festival of Trees (Click here for a listing of those). I particularly love the idea of the one-mile Senior Stroll for the older set on Friday morning. That just sounds great.
You will definitely get ideas for your own holiday decorating. And there’s no way you will leave the Convention Center without a little ho-ho-ho in your step.
Just so you know what to expect, here are a few photos from the preview party Tuesday night.
Keith Goodwin, the CEO of East Tennessee Children's Hospital, along with his wife, Diane, welcomes guests to the preview party of Fantasy of Trees Tuesday night.
Tony Spezia, the CEO of Covenant Health, was on hand, too, along with his wife, Sharon.
From left, Todd Howell, Steve Phillips and Bill Williams, all of WBIR-TV, Channel 10. The "Straight from the Heart" station is a sponsor of Fantasy of Trees.
Christy Moreno, the new news director at WBIR, with her daughters, Beverly, 2, and Isabel, 4.
Alan Williams, an anchor at WVLT-TV, Channel 8, inspecting some of the 12 Days of Christmas trees.
There was a silent auction and one of the most coveted items: a tower of Twinkies! Mike Charland here was "guarding" his bid.
Michael McClamroch, pictured here with his mother, Kim, also had his eye on those snack cakes.
From left, Shanna Browning, WVLT-TV's Dino Cartwright, and Angie and Bob Wilson. Bob's with Moxley Carmichael.
These cute baby dolls were in one display. Very appropriate for a Children's Hospital event, don't you think?
You usually see Ellen and Gordon Fowler on the dance floor at this event. But the band was taking a break, so they were at the bar! (Of course, so, it seems, was I!)
The city's deputy mayor, Eddie Mannis, was looking for a tree to purchase.
Here are Wanda and Bill Williams with their grandchildren, Mallory Thomas and Billie Williams. This is a great place to bring your grandchildren.
The beautiful carousel is always a highlight of Fantasy of Trees.
I caught up with WBIR reporters Hillary Lake and Stoney Sharp at the G&G Interiors tree.
As a former reporter myself, I can tell you that you should never tell a reporter NOT to do something. Case in point:
I had barely blinked an eye before Stoney jumped the velvet rope and happily ensconced himself in a beautiful chair that was part of the display. Ha!
At least he picked one of the prettiest displays! (Disclosure: G&G Interiors is a Moxley Carmichael client.) Here's part of the vignette WITHOUT Stoney!
Here's a look at the G&G tree. Notice the colors. G&G owner Merri Lee Fox says the "in" colors for Christmas this year are turquoise and chartreuse. "Anything but traditional red and green shades," she told me.
WBIR sports reporter Kris Budden, right, poses with WBIR's general manager, Jeff Lee, and his wife, Christy.
Lane and Julie Morris. She's the former promotions director of WBIR. She's working with them now as a consultant. (The food looks good!)
Here's WVLT's Alan Williams with his wife, Rebecca, the newly named director of sales and marketing for the Knoxville Convention Center.
Rebecca had been working on the exhibit hall's concrete floor all day. So by the time of the reception, the heels just had to come off!
Near the exit, as always, were Morton and state Sen. Becky Massey, waiting to check folks out when the silent auction ended.
On my way out, I ran into Linda Clifton of Lenoir City dressed in a very Christmas-y outfit. "This is a wedding dress from 23 years ago," she confided. "The dress lasted a whole lot longer than the marriage did!"