Category Logo

Downtown Knoxville Alliance, City of Knoxville prepare for immersive – and safe – holidays

November 16, 2020

Starting Nov. 23, Downtown Knoxville will transform into an immersive holiday experience for residents and visitors, including thousands of new holiday lights, decorated windows, murals and new twists on both the Peppermint Trail and The Elf on the Shelf® scavenger hunt.

“Downtown Knoxville has become the heart of the holidays, and we want to make it extra special this year,” said Michele Hummel, executive director of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance. “Due to the pandemic, we’ve worked with the City of Knoxville to create a safe and family-friendly experience for residents and visitors as they eat, drink, shop and explore this holiday season.”

Downtown Knoxville Alliance funded new holiday lighting in Market Square called the Peppermint Grove. The peppermint-themed lighting display will be lit 24 hours a day from Nov. 23 through mid-February.

New holiday lighting in Market Square, funded by the Downtown Knoxville Alliance and called the Peppermint Grove, will be lit 24 hours a day from Nov. 23 through mid-February. The square’s mature oak trees and lampposts will create a red and white candy wonderland.

The peppermint-themed lighting display will be in addition to the City of Knoxville’s Christmas in the City lights, which includes a 42-foot Christmas tree on Gay Street; and twinkling lights throughout Krutch Park and the Old City. The City’s Holidays on Ice will be moving from Market Square to the Civic Coliseum.

Additional holiday experiences running Nov. 27-Jan. 3 and organized by the Downtown Knoxville Alliance, in partnership with Visit Knoxville, Dogwood Arts and downtown businesses, include:

  • The fifth-annual The Elf on the Shelf®scavenger hunt will be entirely contact-free this year as Scout Elves hide in the storefront windows of dozens of participating downtown businesses. Participants can share photos via social media using the hashtag #ElvesInKnox and tagging @downtownknox for chances to win weekly gift card drawings.
  • The Peppermint Trail returns with a twist: Restaurants and businesses throughout downtown will offer specially crafted drinks, treats and gifts featuring peppermint along with other holiday flavors, such as gingerbread, cinnamon, cranberry and apple spice. Peppermint-themed decals will mark the sidewalk outside participating merchants.
  • A new holiday mural in Strong Alley by artist Megan Lingerfelt will provide an Instagram-worthy photo op. Don’t forget to tag @downtownknox.

“We are grateful for the participation of many downtown businesses in helping us create this festive holiday experience,” Hummel said. “We hope downtown residents and visitors will enjoy the holiday scenery while supporting these shops and restaurants.”

The Downtown Knoxville Alliances reminds everyone to make health and safety a top priority. Wear a mask – the more festive, the better – practice physical-distancing and stay home when sick.

For more information, visit

About the Downtown Knoxville Alliance

Ensuring a vibrant, flourishing downtown is the primary mission of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance (DKA). Formed in 1993 as a Central Business Improvement District (CBID), the district encompasses a 0.67-square-mile area and is supported by a special assessment to property owners that is used to make improvements, enhance services and promote downtown. The DKA continually focuses on attracting and retaining a thriving community of residents, businesses and visitors in Downtown Knoxville. For more information, visit