This weekend is one of the busiest times for Christmas events this holiday season in Monroe County.
The fun starts with Sweetwater’s Christmas Parade on Friday night and continues on Saturday with both Vonore and Madisonville’s parades and two other large holiday events.
Sweetwater Christmas Parade
Sweetwater is slated to kick things off at 7 p.m. on Friday night, Dec. 6, with one of the largest Christmas Parades in the area.
The 38th annual parade lines up on Mayes Avenue and makes its way south down Main Street before ending in the Plaza 68 Shopping Center.
The Sweetwater Kiwanis Club sponsors the parade, working with the City of Sweetwater. All floats must be lined up and ready to be judged by 5 p.m. All other participants will need to there and ready to proceed by 6 p.m.
Prizes for float entries will be as follows: first place $300, second place $200 and third place $100 in the following four categories: Churches; civic and fraternal groups; scouting and school groups; and commercial and governmental entities. There is no registration fee and no specific theme for the parade.
For safety reasons, all entrants are asked not to throw candy or other objects from floats or vehicles during the parade. The Sweetwater Police Department has also requested that there be no four-wheeler participants in the parade.
For more information, call 423-337-5088 or Charles Ridenour at 423-337-6123.
Christmas at the Fort
An 18th Century Christmas at Fort Loudoun State Historic Area in Vonore is a way to avoid the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season. This year’s free event will be Saturday, Dec. 7 beginning at 10 a.m.
Men, women and children re-enactors will be on hand as the fort is decorated in rustic style, with leaves and berries, as it might have been when Christmas was celebrated during the French and Indian War. Throughout the day, demonstrations will be taking place, such as cooking, laundering, blacksmithing and artillery drills. There is also a Christmas church service with Parson John and wassail tasting. Participants will also be able to step into the infirmary, compare a soldier’s barrack to the commander’s quarters, and stop by the Cherokee encampment.
The night concludes with a candlelight tour of the fort at 6 p.m. and a rare night firing of the canon. The paved path from the visitor’s center to the fort, just more than 100 yards, is lit each year by luminaries. Once inside the fort, each building is beautifully lit by candles, fireplaces and brightly burning torches set up at each stop along the path.
For more information, call 423-420-2331. This event will take place rain or shine.
Vonore Christmas Parade
The Town of Vonore will hold its annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 1 p.m. Line up will begin at noon at Vonore Middle School. The parade will travel through downtown and end at Vonore Baptist Church. For more information, call 423-884-2480 or 423-884-6211.
Madisonville Christmas Parade
“Heavenly Christmas” is the theme of the annual Madisonville Christmas Parade, which is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m. The parade, sponsored by the Madisonville Kiwanis Club, will form on Anderson Street near the Co-op and travel north on College Street past the Courthouse and then down last year’s route.
State Rep. Lowell Russell will be the grand marshal. Originally from Maryville, Russell resides in Vonore and previously served in the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Float judging will begin at 2 p.m. All floats are eligible to win a cash prize. Judged floats will be parked by the Co-op and non-judged floats will be parked on Anderson Drive. Cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place, and for Judges’ Choice. All floats can be judged: churches, civic organizations, businesses, etc.
An application to be judged must be submitted to Madisonville City Hall by noon on Friday before the parade. There are no fees to participate in the judging or in the parade.
Four-wheel vehicles are not allowed in the parade. Floats are asked to not throw candy for safety purposes. Candy can, however, be pitched or handed to spectators.
In the event of inclement weather, the parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 14.
All funds derived from the parade are donated to the local community by the Madisonville Kiwanis Club. For more information, contact Don Edmands Jr. at 423-884-3806.
Candlelight Walk in Tellico Plains
The Cherokee Women’s Club continues to be the guiding force behind the annual Candlelight Walk in downtown Tellico Plains, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, from 4-9 p.m. This is a free event, which features caroling and open houses in the shops and restaurants in downtown.
Luminaries will line the streets, leading the way to a variety of activities, including horse-drawn carriage rides, a live Nativity scene, entertainment at the gazebo, food, vendors, a raffle, visits and photographs with Santa Claus, the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who’s, and a cookie caper.
“The cookie caper is homemade cookies that you can buy by the pound with a wide variety of cookies to choose from,” said Carrie Brame with the Cherokee Women’s Club.
All proceeds from the cookie caper go toward scholarships and college expenses for Tellico Plains High School seniors, and to support the Tellico Plains Public Library.
At around 5:30 p.m. during the Candlelight Walk, Tellico Plains Mayor Patrick Hawkins will lead the tree lighting ceremony, signifying the official start to the holiday season.
For more information, call 423-519-2267.