Fantasy of Trees raises over $400,000 for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital

Over 60,000 people attended the 32nd annual Fantasy of Trees event at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Fantasy of Trees raised over $400,000 for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. This year’s money goes toward anesthesia equipment for the Neonatal ICU.

The show presented over 350 trees, wreaths and holiday home décor for sale made by local businesses. There was also a huge display of gingerbread houses.

Tickets were $8 for adults and $4 for children.

Jordan Stanton, an attendee, said, “We come here every year, and love that we can attend something so great for an even better cause.”

This event hosted many things for kids to do including face paint, cookie decorating, carousel riding and more.

Janet Williams attended the event with her niece. “I love that we can come to this event as a family, and not get bored,” she said. “Seeing Santa was definitely the best part.”

Carter High School, along with many other schools, held a performance of songs for the Christmastime. The Oak Ridge Ballet Association performed a showcase of their Christmas ballet for the people attending.

“This is my third year volunteering for Fantasy of the Trees,” Nick Wylie, a volunteer working at the cookie decorating station, said. “I want to continue volunteering because I love this cause. I have visited the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital many of times, so helping this cause is so awesome.”

For more information of Fantasy of Trees, visit their website.

Featured Image by Rylee Barnes

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Boo! at the Zoo draws in thousands of attendees for Halloween festivities

BOO! At the Knoxville Zoo was presented this year by US Cellular. This event is Knoxville’s largest Halloween event lasting 12 nights, over the span of 3 weekends. It draws in thousands of attendees each year for Halloween fun. This event is perfect for children of all ages and their families. BOO at the Zoo has been held for 30 years and brings in a lot of attraction to the Knoxville Zoo.

During the events, children and their parents would line up along a trail to collect their treats and candy. No participant went home without bags full of candy.

“My kids love attending this event, and we look forward to getting dressed up each year to come,” Alison Sipos, a parent attending the event with her kids, said.

BOO at the Zoo has over 30 stations to pick up candy from, as well as activities at the Monster Mash tent and a Zoo Boo Choo to ride.

Many event workers dress up in costumes, waiting for photo ops with the children and their families. This year’s costumes included Disney princesses, Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas and more. This year’s event also had a “Scary- go -round.” This is the only haunted carousel in East Tennessee, and it goes backwards.

“This is the best way to get volunteer hours for any required need, because it is so much fun! We all get to take some candy home too,” Taylor Poe, an event volunteer from Powell High School, said.

BOO! at the Zoo attendee, Alyssa Rasberry, said she has been attending this event since she was young. “I will never miss a BOO! at the Zoo event, I can’t wait to one day bring my kids here too,” Rasberry said.

The cost of Boo! At the Zoo was $9 per person, and children under age four were admitted free. U.S Cellular customers and Zoo members were given a $2 discount off the regular price. The eventful evenings lasted from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. each night. From the thousands of attendees, BOO! At the Zoo seems to be a success year after year.  It takes place all around the country at many zoos and they never run out of candy.

Featured image by Rylee Barnes

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Food City hosted its 30th annual Food City Food Show to benefit the United Way

The 30th annual Food City Food Show kicked off this Friday and Saturday at the Knoxville Convention Center. This show was hosted by Food City in order to benefit the United Way of Greater Knoxville. This has become a food lover’s dream and has only begun to grow over the past 30 years.

Over 150 vendors lined up in rows handing out free samples, coupons and even whole bags of food. The ticket prices were $8 if purchased from Food City, and $10 at the door.

Vendor Kay’s Ice Cream, located on Chapman Highway said they began to sell their ice cream in local Food City stores.

Alongside all of the vendors, there was also live entertainment. Friday’s entertainment included blogger, Elizabeth Hall, Wine enthusiast Jennifer Gregory and Food City Chef, Chef Walter. Saturday’s entertainment included “Top Chef” contestant, Grayson Schmitz, Food City Blogger, Nicki Collett and Knox News columnist, Katie Van Dyke.

One vendor station was lined with people for a new Food City program called go-cart. Local Food City stores now offer the program where customers can go online and shop for what they need, then pick it up curbside at their local Food City. They said this will come in handy for customers who hate grocery shopping and promise to pick the best selection they can find.

Food City hosts this event every year to raise money for United Way. The event hostess said, “Food City just really wants to bring this event on the forefront, and give out resources that will improve our community.”

Due to crowding last year, new rules were put into place for this year’s event. Rolling carts, luggage and unoccupied strollers were not allowed.

For more information on this event, check out their website.

Featured image obtained through Creative Commons, by Mike Kalasnik

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo


Opinion: Movies on Market Square is a fun, local activity for everyone

It’s a Friday night, what is a college kid on a budget going to do? Dinner and shopping on Market Square sound like fun, but it is not always affordable. Instead, grab some friends, your Yeti, a blanket or lawn chairs, maybe even some candy from Mast General Store and pick your spot in the square! The Knox County Public Library has hosted “Movies on Market Square” for the last 13 years. Locals are able to sit outside and enjoy a great movie, and the best thing about it is, it’s free!

Last night was my first visit and they were showing one of my personal favorites, “Legally Blonde.” About 100 teenagers and adults came to the event. I overheard a bystander talking with her family, “what better way to spend this evening than watching a movie outside beneath all the stars.” The temperature at dusk was perfect as the summer nights begin to cool off, which everyone seemed to enjoy.

While standing in line to buy some popcorn, which is only $2, I asked a fellow snack-lover if he had been before to this event and he happily responded, “It’s my first time,” he said, “it’s really cool though, watching a movie outside surrounded by the downtown buildings in the heart of Market Square.”

The Knox County Library had a table set up with surveys and free Frisbees. I spoke with the woman in charge of  the table to get some insight on the evening and to find the reason behind this unique experience. She stated, “Our local library hosts these events to showcase what our library has to offer! Not only do we have plenty of books, but we also carry DVD’s. We show a movie weekly just to show Knoxville the variety of movies we have available.”

Tennessee Valley Authority presents these weekly movies to showcase what the Knox County Public Library has to offer. These movies that are presented on The Square are also available to rent for anyone. Save some money and pick up your home movies while also supporting your local library.

“Movies on Market Square” is a great way to enjoy our city and an evening out with friends and family at no cost.

These are the upcoming movies left to be held at Market Square:

September 23rd – “UP” (2009, PG)

September 30th – “Night at The Museum” (2006, PG)

October 7th- “Star Wars VII” (2015, PG-13)

October 14th- “Ghostbusters” (1984, PG)

Featured Image by Rylee Barnes

Edited by Katy Hill