published Thursday, November 21st, 2013

HoHo Expo: 'The beginning of a new holiday tradition in Chattanooga' - Nov. 23-24

  • photo
    Santa Claus will take a break from his regular duties at Phipps Plaza in Atlanta to pose for free photos with children this weekend at the HoHo Expo at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Some of Santa’s elves have taken on a few more duties this holiday season, and their work will be rewarded Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 23-24, with the debut of the Times Free Press’ HoHo Expo.

For now, the elves are busy with finishing touches for this extra wish list.

* Turn the Chattanooga Convention Center into a temporary shopping mall with more than 200 businesses and vendors. Check.

* Fire up the workshop ovens to bake beaucoup batches of sugar cookies and gingerbread. Check.

* Convert an exhibit hall into a winter wonderland, complete with snow and an ice-skating rink. Check. Check. Check.

Jason Taylor, Times Free Press president and general manager, says the hope is that the HoHo Expo “is the beginning of a new holiday tradition in Chattanooga.”

“Attendees will get their first peek at the holidays with all the sights and sounds they would expect to get them in the mood,” he says. “The HoHo Expo is a great place to get a jump-start on your holiday shopping, get a sneak peek at what the holidays will offer or just make some memories with family and friends.”


* What: HoHo Expo.

* When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23; 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24.

* Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza.

* Admission: Free with donation to Times Free Press Neediest Cases Fund.

* Phone: 422-757-6308.

* Website:

The array of vendors alone offers a chance for one-stop shopping — without the need to leave your Thanksgiving turkey on the table. There’ll be toy stores, department stores, drugstores and home-improvement centers. Plus gift shops, hobby shops, boutiques, restaurants and bakeries, along with florists, jewelers, caterers, nutrition centers and skin-care companies. And the list goes on.

One corner of the exhibit hall will become a gingerbread village as contestants bring in their creations for judging. Categories are open for adults, teens, youth and children, and top prizes of $100 will be awarded in each category. If you want to take part, you’ll need to sign up by today, Nov. 21, at

Visitors can snack on free cookies and cider, and many of the food-related businesses will offer samples of their specialties. Practically every booth will have some kind of treat in store.

Door prizes will be awarded each hour, and two guests (one chosen each day) will win grand-prize trips to “A Country Christmas” at Gaylord Opryland.

Santa Claus, who usually spends his time south of the North Pole at Phipps Plaza in Atlanta, will pose for free photos.

The HoHo Expo is sponsored by The Pool Place, orthodontist Dr. Keith Dressler and BMW of Chattanooga.


Saturday, Nov. 23

10 a.m.-noon. Mistletoe Mimosas (while supplies last)

10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Gingerbread House Contest registration

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Santa photos

1 p.m. Gingerbread House Contest judging

1:30 p.m. Christmas Time at The Pool Place stage presentation

2 p.m. Gingerbread House Contest winners announced

2-4 p.m. Gingerbread cookies (while supplies last)

2-4:30 p.m. Santa photos

4 p.m. Grand-prize drawing for “A Country Christmas” getaway at Gaylord Opryland

Sunday, Nov. 24

1-3 p.m. Santa photos

1-5 p.m. Apple cider and sugar cookies (while supplies last)

1:30 p.m. Christmas Time at The Pool Place stage presentation

3:30-5 p.m. Santa photos

4 p.m. Grand-prize drawing for “A Country Christmas” getaway at Gaylord Opryland

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