McKinney Center logo

The McKinney Center will present its annual holiday fundraiser in a different way this year. In the spirit of safety, the “Soup and Songs” event has been transformed into “Holidays Around the World: A Soup and Songs Drive-Thru.”

The event, which sells out quickly each year, will be held Nov. 30 and time slots are already filling up.

This year, the McKinney Center has partnered with Main Street Café and Catering as well as other community organizations for this event, which will feature a gourmet soup dinner along with great holiday spirit. Guests will also take home a handmade, hand-glazed ceramic ornament as a keepsake.

The drive-thru will feature “Living Holiday Scenes,” which will be stationed around the grounds of the McKinney Center. Holiday traditions from around the world will be brought to life, created by community organizations and individuals. There’ll be a Living Nativity, complete with animals, courtesy of the Carver family; a Kwanzaa celebration presented by Umoja of Johnson City; a Mexican Posada and Brazilian New Year directed by ETSU’s Language and Culture Resource Center Director Felipe Fiuza; A Hanukkah Celebration; Germany’s St. Niklaus Day; a Chinese Winter Solstice shadow puppet display; Puerto Rican Three Kings Day; Olde English Carolers; and of course, Santa Claus.

Guests will begin the drive-thru journey with complimentary hot cocoa served to them in their cars as they enter the event, and will tune their radios to the special station of curated holiday music from the featured countries. They will then drive around the grounds to view the living scenes. The event will conclude as they drive to the final station, and pick up their meal to go, including a pint of soup of their choice from Main Street Café, fresh bread, and a giant chocolate chip cookie. Included in the to-go order will be the beautiful handmade, hand-glazed ceramic ornament.

Tickets for the event are divided into time slots, in order to reduce long lines and traffic congestion on Main Street. Guests are asked to arrive no earlier than their chosen time designation. When ordering tickets and selecting time designations, guests will also choose from one of four soups created by Main Street Café and Catering. Soup choices are: Southwest Chicken with Vegetables; Vegetarian Potato Leek; Creamy Tomato Bisque, and Hearty Beef and Bean Chili.

Tickets are $25 each. Proceeds will benefit the McKinney Center and the StoryTown Radio Show. The fundraiser helps the StoryTown Radio Show keep its ticket prices low throughout the year, and allows the McKinney Center to provide no-cost programming for outreach events throughout the year. Tickets are available online at or by calling the Visitors Center at (423) 753-1010.