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Saturday BIG day for Christmas events in Anderson County

Saturday EVENTS at a glance

Clinton: Holiday Market, downtown, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Cookie Crawl, downtown, 1-4 p.m.

Norris: Winter Festival, downtown commons area and Norris Middle School, 2-6 p.m.; Christmas parade at 6 p.m.

Oak Ridge: Christmas Parade, Lafayette Drive and Oak Ridge Turnpike, 6 p.m.

The annual Holiday Market and Cookie Crawl in Historic Downtown Clinton, and the Norris Winter Festival will highlight this Saturday’s holiday events, along with Christmas parades in Norris and Oak Ridge.

In downtown Clinton, the Holiday Market runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. It includes the brick-and-mortar stores, along with street vendors, food trucks and more.

Then from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, downtown Clinton merchants will present their annual Cookie Crawl, featuring free cookies and other refreshments in the stores, along with visits from Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and The Grinch.

Just a few miles away, the third-annual Norris Winter Festival will be held in the downtown commons area and at Norris Middle School from 2-6 p.m. Saturday, followed by the Norri Christmas parade at 6 p.m.

Oak Ridge’s annaul Christmas parade will be held beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday. It will form at Corporate Center (151 Lafayette Drive) and turn West onto the Oak Ridge Turnpike, then proceed to the Oak Ridge High School area.

The Norris Winter Festival will feature music, crafts, local artisans, and more. At least 40 vendors are expected.

This event “provides local entrepreneurs an opportunity to sell food, crafts, books, and more for our gift-giving and personal enjoyment,” according to its promoters. The festival is sponsored by the Norris Recreation Commission.

“Candy Land” vendors will serve caramel corn, hot chocolate and cider, cookies, maple syrup, homemade pies, and cupcakes inside the Norris Middle School Cafeteria.

Vendors there will feature homemade candies, chutneys, jams and jellies, beef jerky, baked holiday gifts, and more.

“The Village,” in the Lions Club Pavilion in front of the middle school, will include woodworking and carvings, dog biscuits, crochet, and tatting, jewelry,

bird food and feeders, leather items, handmade pottery, aromatherapy products, herbal remedies, crocheted rugs, bath and body products, baby items,

and handcrafted goat milk


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Coal Creek Miners Museum gets $50k grant for expansion

Volunteer curator Lisa Pebley greets visitors to the Coal Creek Miners Museum in Rocky Top. - G Chambers Williams III
Rocky Top’s Coal Creek Miners Museum got a big boost in its quest to open the second floor of the facility with the notification that it has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the state of Tennessee to help with the expenses.

In October, the museum began a campaign selling bricks to donors to raise money for additions and improvements to the facility, including adding a second floor of exhibits.

The grant from the state, awarded through a program of the Tennessee State Museum, will allow the Miners Museum to add heating and air conditioning, along with ADA-compliant restrooms, to the second floor, according to an announcement by the state museum.

According to the announcement, “The Tennessee General Assembly made available $5 million in funding from the 2023-2024 Appropriations Act ‘for the sole purpose of providing grants to museums with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or affiliated with a governmental entity for capital maintenance and improvements.’”

The notice said that the state museum received 170 applications totaling $12.5 million in requests for the $5 million that was available. There were “full or partial awards to 108 museums across the state, representing 58 counties,” the state museum said.

“The funding that will be provided through this grant will give us a jump start on remodeling the second floor of the museum,” said Tim Isbel, chairman of the Coal Creek Miners Museum’s board of directors.

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Rain holds off, crowds turn out for Clinton’s Christmas parade

Dream Dance Studio kids participate in Saturday’s Clin- ton Christmas parade. - G Chambers Williams III
Despite the threat of rain, the annual Clinton Christmas parade went on without a hitch last Saturday night, although the two local high school bands chose not to participate.

The parade was a success anyway, and there was nothing more than a light mist falling during the event – even though there had been some actual rain about an hour before the start.

A highlight of the event was a light projection show from Stellar Visions and Sound Inc., and there were plenty of floats, dance groups and other participants in the parade, which ran for more than an hour and a half through the downtown area.

Estimates were that about 2,000 people gathered in the downtown area to view the parade, which began on Eagle Bend Road, moved up Market Street, and turned left on Main Street before wrapping up around the Anderson County Courthouse.

The parade, sponsored by the Historic Downtown Clinton organization and the city of Clinton, followed a similar event the evening before in Rocky Top.

Norris and Oak Ridge will have their Christmas parades at 6 p.m. this coming Saturday, Dec. 9

On its Facebook page, Historic Downtown Clinton listed the parade float winners:

• First place: SL Tennessee

• Second place: Eagle Bend Apostolic Church.

• Third place: Edgemoor Baptist Church.

Grand marshal of the 2023 Clinton Christmas parade was John Gamble.

Sponsors of the parade included East Tennessee Orthodontics, Volunteer Hearing, Trey McAdams/State Farm, Hoskins Drug Store Inc., Evans Candy Co., Joy in the Dawn, and Michael Bowers/Farm Bureau.

Rocky Top’s Christmas parade draws a big crowd to downtown

The Clear Branch Baptist Church float rolls through Rocky Top during last Friday night’s annual Christmas parade. This float won first place in the parade. - G Chambers Williams III
What some observers said was the longest Rocky Top Christmas parade they can remember drew droves of spectators to the city last Friday night in spite of a threat of rain – which thankfully never materialized.

Sponsored by the Rocky Top Chamber of Commerce and the city, the parade began at 7 p.m. in the area of Lake City Middle School and moved down Main Street to the Interste 75, Exit 129 interchange.

Grand marshal of the parade was former Rocky Top Chief of Police Jim Shetterly.

Parade judges were General Sessions Judge Victoria Bowling, Campbell County Sheriff Wayne Barton, and auctioneer Bear Stephenson.

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Norris resident Johnny Riggs works to set up a Christmas tree as part of a holiday display in a flower bed in the Town Center area across from Archer’s Market on Sunday, Nov. 26. Riggs said that his mother, Maxine Riggs Long, had kept the display going for about 20 years. But at age 93, she’s no longer able to do it, so Riggs said he took over the task. - G Chambers Williams III

Holiday reception to be held on Dec. 8

The Oak Ridge Senior Center will hold its holiday reception for area senior citizens on Friday, Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Civic Center gymnasium at 1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

Guests are invited to enjoy a light boxed lunch consisting of chips, cookies, and a choice of egg salad, chicken salad or pimento cheese sandwich.

The Senior Center’s Golden Eagles will be playing live Christmas music beginning at 11 a.m.

Lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m., and door prizes will be given away during that time. Bingo will be after lunch for those who want to stay and play.

There is no cost for this event, but tickets are required for entry.

Participants can obtain tickets by calling the Oak Ridge Senior Center at 865-425-3999 by Dec. 4 to register.

Space is limited.

The event is sponsored by the Oak Ridge Senior Center and made possible by many generous donations from area businesses.

More information about events happening at the Senior Center can be found on the center’s


‘OLIVER!’ playing in OR

Watch Victorian England come to life at Oak Ridge Playhouse in Lionel Bart’s “OLIVER!”, the Tony- and Academy Award-winning musical interpretation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, Oliver Twist.

Regarded as a masterpiece among audiences for seven decades, “OLIVER!” has achieved what few musicals ever accomplish. Winning three Tony Awards and three Academy Awards for the iconic 1968 Carol Reed adaptation, it’s clear that audiences resonate with Lionel Bart’s music and lyrics.

Darker themes of poverty, child hunger, and domestic violence linger at the surface of this tale just long enough to be overshadowed by the uplifting themes of resilience, redemption, and the power of kindness.

To fight hunger within the community, Oak Ridge Playhouse will be collecting non-perishable food items at every performance to assist Second Harvest Food Bank.

Patrons are encouraged to drop off the food items on their way in to see the show.

“OLIVER!” runs select dates Dec. 1-17.

Purchase tickets online at, or by calling the box office at 865-482-4877 Tuesday-Friday from noon-5 p.m.