As dusk descended on downtown Knoxville last Friday, more than 1,000 bicyclists—many decked out in holiday costumes—gathered in Market Square to await the start of the City of Knoxville’s 8th annual Tour de Lights bike ride. With festive spirit, snowmen, reindeer, elves, and even jolly ol’ St. Nick mounted their bikes, departed the square, and headed north.
Though short of the North Pole, the bike parade toured neighborhoods in Old North Knoxville and 4th and Gill where they were met with cheers, waves, and carols sung by the neighbors they passed. Residents enjoyed the moving light display as much as the bicyclists themselves.
Afterward, riders returned to Market Square for hot cocoa, treats, and the awards ceremony. Bicycle Program Manager, Kelley Segars, handed out certificates and gift bags to winners in several categories. “I love that so many people come out for the bike ride and spend time with family and friends and enjoy the festive spirit together,” Segars said. “It’s a great way to make holiday memories.”
The most beguiling bicyclists this year were:
Best adult costume
Winner: Debbie Stair, Christmas Tree
Runner up: Lindsay Crawford, Doctor Who
Best child costume
Winner: Baylor Branning, small Santa
Runner up: Olivia Roush
Winner: JD Murr, tinsel bike
Runner up: Steve McGhee, reindeer head bike
Winner: Randy Barnbush
Runner up: David Stair
Winners: Ellie Paul, Jennie Andrews, and Saul Young , The Wise Men
Runners up: Cheryl and PJ Burchett, Pee Wee Herman and Friend
Best all around
Winner: Susie Isaac and Jaques Palin
Runners up: Vincent and Linda Countessa
The Tour de Lights bike ride has become a tradition of Knoxville’s Christmas in the City celebration and draws riders from all over the region. Many thanks to the volunteers and sponsors—Three Rivers Market and Mast General Store—who made this event possible.