Holiday History Tour

An Old-Fashioned Christmas List:

xmasbeartallBear, roller skates, basketball, and fireworks. Guns and knives optional, but useful.

Come stroll downtown Knoxville and remember a time before Christmas trees and mistletoe, before an English writer and a German businessman dragged the city shooting and cussing toward a new era.

Holidays in Transition
Christmas in Knoxville went through many transformations from not being celebrated at all, to the rip-roaring Saturnalia that (briefly) caused the city to reconsider its wild ways, through grand traditions like bowling, firecrackers, and roast bear, before a European immigrant taught us about decorating trees and such. From pioneer days to modern events like the Strolstice and Tour de Lights, Knoxville has always made the holidays our own.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays in downtown Knoxville while learning about local traditions and legendary celebrations. Longing for an old-fashioned Christmas feast? Bring on roasted leg of bear! Listen to true stories of Christmases past—whether frivolous, wacky, or downright scary, guaranteed to give listeners a new appreciation for our wild and wonderful history


  • Proceeds help support The Knoxville History Project
  • 90 minutes
  • Meet in front of The East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street
  • Reservations required (book tickets below or call 865-309-4522)
  • – Adults: $15
    – Children 6-12: $10
    – Group rates available

Tickets — call (865) 309-4522 or:

Contact us about other dates and group tours.
Tours available by appointment for groups as small as four adults.

Call 865-309-4522 to schedule a tour.