GSMNP presents Festival of Christmas Past

(GSMNP press release) Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host the annual Festival of Christmas Past celebration this Saturday, December 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Sugarlands Visitor Center. 

The festival will include mountain music, traditional shape note singing, mountain craft demonstrations, carolers, and a living history walk. Visitors are encouraged to take part in mountain traditions including hands-on activities and make-and-take crafts. Hot apple cider will be served throughout the day. Park volunteers and staff have created a new, immersive experience where visitors are invited to journey through holiday traditions over the last 100 years. Creative displays and exhibits can be found throughout the visitor center representing several decades of Christmas toys, decorations, and pastimes. These displays will be on exhibit throughout the holiday season from December 12 to January 5, 2020. 

“This year we wanted to connect our visitors to Christmas through the decades with the creative vision and talent of our staff, volunteers, and local decorators Barry Phillips and Tracie Story,” said North District Resource Education Supervisor Stephanie Sutton. “The Festival of Christmas Past allows us to pause and remember some of these valuable holiday traditions.” 

As part of the event, the popular ‘Christmas Memories Walk’ will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 14. Costumed interpreters will bring the history of the Smokies to life as they shed light on significant moments leading to the park’s establishment. The park invites all to experience the spirit of the season in the mountains during this year’s Festival of Christmas Past. This event, sponsored by the Friends of the Smokies, is free to the public. 

Program Schedule:

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.    Traditional Shape Note Singing

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon  Music by Boogertown Gap

12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.    Music by the Lost Mill String Band

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.       Smoky Mountain Historical Society

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.       Christmas Memories Walk

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.       Music by Mike and Kathy Gwinn 

Sugarlands Visitor Center is located on Newfound Gap Road, two miles south of Gatlinburg, TN.  For more information, call the visitor center at 865-436-1291.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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