TRI-CITIES, Tenn./Va. (WJHL) – It may be a little early to talk about Christmas, but leaders across the Tri-Cities are already solidifying plans for the holiday season.
Many events that were skipped last year due to COVID-19 are coming back.
The Christmas tree display held last year for the first time in Johnson City’s Founders Park will almost triple in size and expand into King Commons this year.
“We did it last year because we couldn’t do a Christmas parade,” city commissioner Jenny Brock, said. “We thought this will be a good family event. Families come in and look at Christmas trees in Founders Park. Well, it turned into more than that. I think it’s going to be one of those signature items that’s going to identify Johnson City.”
The Turkey Trot, a Johnson City classic, will also return Nov. 25 for its 16th year after being held virtualy last year.
“I could not be more excited that we’ll be back in the streets again this year,” Brock said. “Now, we are asking people to work with us. I think there’s a responsibility for any group that hosts a large event where people come together under COVID conditions.”
But what about the Christmas parades? Johnson City’s, Kingsport’s and Elizabethton’s will all be making a comeback this year.
“We were not able to have a parade last year due to COVID,” Main Street Elizabethton Director Courtney Bean said. “We’re excited to have one this year, and we have a really large downtown where people can space out. It’s outside, and we’re excited to host that this year and our community is really excited about that as well.”
Downtown Kingsport Association Executive Director Robin Cleary said in an average year they see around 3,000 to 4,000 people downtown for Kingsport’s parade.
“There has been a parade in downtown Kingsport as long as I can remember,” Cleary said. “I think we can safely say that 2020 was the only year in anyone’s memory that we weren’t able to have our Christmas parade and the same thing goes with our tree lighting ceremony.”
Event leaders said after a year off, they have no choice but to go bigger and better this year.