KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – Kingsport is a city rooted in tradition, but this year one of its biggest traditions is changing.
The annual Christmas parade – a staple for the Model City – will roll through the streets of downtown this weekend.
It’s a major change from years past, when the parade followed the arrival of the Santa Train.
“It was actually a collaborative effort and decision amongst us and the Chamber of Commerce and the city of Kingsport to move this a little bit closer to Christmas and really bring in that nighttime magical feel,” said Melissa Sanders, Executive Director of the Downtown Kingsport Association.
It will be the city’s first night time parade, Sanders said. She claimed it was also previously a little too early in the year, so the 2017 parade is rolling later, on Saturday, December 2.
The route winds through downtown and culminates in Church Circle.
That’s where another big change is taking place.
“This will be the first time that the tree is lit on the beautifully renovated church circle. It is one beautiful tree,” Sanders said.
The tree will be especially beautiful when it’s lit up this weekend.
“This is a really good way to bring in new traditions,” said Sanders.
As Kingsport has spent the past year celebrating its 100th birthday, a big focus has been on looking back, while also being courageous about looking toward a future of change.
News Channel 11 will be in the Christmas parade. It starts at 5 o’clock at Clinchfield and Center streets.
The tree lighting in historic Church Circle kicks off immediately following the parade, around 6:30 p.m.
Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.