First Norris Winter Festival draws big turnout on Saturday

‘Norris Shines’ event runs until Dec. 26

  • Kimberly de Ropp, right, originator of the Norris Winter Festival, visits with local children’s author Deanna Charcalla at a booth in “The Village” marketplace during last Saturday’s event in downtown Norris. - G. Chambers Williams III

  • Lucy Mayhle, 4, and mom Brandi check out the sheep in the nativity exhibit at the Norris Winter Festival on Saturday. Looking on is sheep wrangler Tomeka Mozingo of Bug and Roo’s Farm. - G. Chambers Williams III

The Norris Winter Festival packed the city’s downtown area with people on Saturday afternoon in the first of what local supporters hope will become an annual holiday tradition.

It’s now being followed by the Norris Shines nightly holiday light and decorations promotion through Dec. 26, with hundreds of homes and businesses festively adorned for Christmas.

Norris Shines also includes a scavenger hunt that hopes to lead people to search all of the participating neighborhoods to find specific items of decoration – such as a home with “10-plus inflatables,” “five nativity scenes,” an “inflatable unicorn” and a “hand-painted window of sweets.”

Information and a scorecard for the scavenger hunt can be found on the Norris Recreation Commission’s Facebook page.

The Saturday festival, featuring everything from crafts and gift booths to food and even a live nativity scene, was called a “great success” by its founder, Kimberly de Ropp, who first approached the City Council a year ago to suggest that the city consider sponsoring such an event..

“It really turned out great,” de Ropp said Saturday afternoon as she looked over the many craft and gift booths set up in “The Village” area inside the Lions Club Pavilion in the downtown area in front of Norris Middle School.

The festival was held from 2-6 p.m., followed by the Norris Fire Department Christmas parade at 6 p.m.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, several people praised the previous weekend’s festival and remarked that the parade was the best one the city has ever produced.

The festival included games, live music, kids’ Christmas crafts at the Norris Library, displays by local artisans, vendors in the Lions Club pavilion, storytelling at the Norris Museum, and even a visit by Santa.

Norris First Baptist Church presented the live nativity scene, across East Norris Boulevard next to the Norris Public Library..

Musical performances featured John Alvis & Co., the Hominy Mamas, the Back Row Boys and Norris United Methodist Church, and Retrospect.

Food booths were in the middle school cafeteria.

Coming this weekend:

• The Norris Dam State Park’s Christmas at the Park event from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16.

• The Oliver Springs Christmas Parade, 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17.