Cookeville holiday events revamped to encourage social distancing

COOKEVILLE – Holiday events will look different this year in Cookeville, but locals still have plenty to look forward to – including new activities designed for social distancing.

“In this time of pandemic, we want to continue to celebrate this special Christmas season, but do so with the health and safety of our community as a priority,” Rick Woods, Cookeville Leisure Services director, said. “Our staff has created unique and clever ways to celebrate the holidays. I hope everyone will find something they can enjoy.”

The following activities have been planned:

Christmas Forest

Nov. 28 – Jan. 2 – Cookeville History Museum will showcase a festive display of Christmas trees in its fifth annual Christmas Forest exhibit. The trees will be decorated by at least 14 non-profit organizations and civic clubs. This year’s exhibit will not have an opening reception. Visitors may admire the trees any time the museum is open, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Social distancing will be observed, and masks are required. Admission is free.

Holiday Concert

Nov. 29 – Cookeville Community Band members will present their annual holiday concert at 3 p.m. at the Cookeville Performing Arts Center. The woodwind, brass and percussion ensemble will perform classic Christmas tunes. Seating is limited to maintain social distancing, and masks are required. Admission is free.

Depot Christmas

Dec. 5 – This year’s Depot Christmas will be a socially distanced outdoor visit with Santa on the grounds of the Cookeville Depot Museum. He and his elves will have a special treat for each child. Drop by between 10 a.m. and noon or 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (Santa takes a cookie break from noon-1 p.m.). Attendees are asked to wear a mask and bring wish-list letters to drop in the mailbox for Santa to take back to the North Pole. Participation is free.

Tree-Lighting Ceremony

Dec. 6 – The City of Cookeville’s sixth annual Christmas in the Park tree-lighting ceremony and Christmas celebration service is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Dogwood Park. This simple yet meaningful program will be live streamed so people can enjoy it from home.

Christmas Tree Lightshow

Dec. 6-Jan. 3 – Dogwood Park’s nearly 40-foot-tall Christmas tree will feature a 15-minute lightshow synchronized to holiday music beginning Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. The lightshow will repeat at the top of the hour every night from 5-9 p.m.

Cocoa with Claus

Dec. 12 – This new event will take place 9-11:45 a.m. at Cane Creek Recreation Center. Participants will preregister for an opportunity to visit Santa, take a socially distanced photo, enjoy some hot cocoa, and drop off a Christmas wish-list letter in the mailbox. Masks are required. To register, call 526-7393.

Facebook Live with Santa

Dec. 12 – New this year, Santa will go live on the Cookeville Leisure Services Department’s Facebook page at 11:45 a.m. Families are encouraged to watch for a special message from the jolly fellow.

Merry and Bright Holiday Home Challenge

Participants in this exterior home decorating contest must register by Nov. 24 HERE or by calling 931-520-4386 for a chance to win up to $100 and to be included in a Christmas Tour of Lights map. Cost is $10 per entry in these categories: Classic Christmas (traditional display), Merry and Bright (Christmas feel with the brains of technology), Holly Jolly (Santa, candy canes and all things that make Christmas jolly, fun and cute) and Griswold Award (Christmas lights galore). The contest, presented by Cookeville Leisure Services and Upper Cumberland Association of Realtors, is open to Putnam County single-family residences within a 10-mile radius of the Cookeville Courthouse Square. 

Christmas Tour of Lights

Take a night drive to see Cookeville’s best decorated holiday homes. A free map that includes the addresses of participants in the fourth annual Merry and Bright Holiday Home Challenge will be available starting Nov. 30 at Cookeville City Hall. It may also be viewed and printed at New this year, the map will include a Christmas scavenger hunt that can be completed along with the Tour of Lights. 

For more information about holiday events, call Cookeville Leisure Services at 931-520-4386.

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