Holiday events give back to community

0 Comments 📅December 5th, 2013, 02:30

Down-the-CAN-ney-300x199The holidays are always a special time at the Knoxville Convention Center, and this year has been no exception. The spirit of giving has filled our center and the hearts of many local volunteers as we welcomed back the Fantasy of Trees, benefiting East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Nov. 27-Dec. 1, and Knoxville’s first-ever “Holiday Canstruction,” presented by Messer Construction Co. and benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, Nov. 23-Dec. 3.

It was amazing to watch as five local teams of architects, engineers and construction companies worked to build an 8-foot Santa with gift bag, snowman, sleigh, holiday mantle and nutcrackers out of canned food items, all in the spirit of helping to fight holiday hunger.

Olaf-the-SnowCAN1Participating companies included Barge, Waggoner, Sumner & Cannon, Inc., the University of Tennessee College of Engineering, Moxley Carmichael, Johnson Architecture, Partners Development, Massey Electric and Messer. In just a few hours, this massive can art display had taken over our Henley and Cumberland concourses. To see photos of the completed structures, visit

Each structure is made out of 740-3,000 cans, and in total, provided more than 10,000 cans to Second Harvest Food Bank! With one in six East Tennesseans living below the poverty level and struggling to meet basic needs, this can donation will held Second Harvest feed the hungry in 18 East Tennessee counties this holiday season.

At the same time that the giant can structures filled the concourses, we also enjoyed the 29th annual Fantasy of Trees, themed “Christmas on Main Street.” The Fantasy of Trees decks our halls with twinkling lights and vibrant colors that put all of us in the Christmas spirit and brought approximately 60,000 people through our facility to celebrate the holidays. In its 29 years, Fantasy of Trees has raised more than $6.3 million for medical equipment at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and continues to be one of its largest annual fundraisers.

peppermint-tree-225x300This year, the Fantasy of Trees design team decorated our center with upside-down trees with holiday decorations of reds and greens. The décor is unique and fabulous, and the organizers are kind enough to leave the decorations up in our center through the month of December.

Hosting events that give back to the community is tremendously important to us and is one of the many reasons I love working at the Knoxville Convention Center. Watching Knoxville come together to spread joy in our community reminds our staff at the center and our thousands of guests about the true spirit of the holiday season.

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