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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Christmas events across Southeast offer family funcomment (0)

November 29, 2007

By Linda Holloway


Christmas is a joyous celebration of the birth of Christ. We celebrate by worshipping in special church services, giving to local charities and remembering missions through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.

Family togetherness is also part of the season, and traveling to special events can create lasting traditions. The Southeast has a variety of activities for all ages. For a listing of the top winter events in the Southeast, view the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events in the Southeast at www.southeasttourism.org.

Nov. 3–Jan. 1: Christmas at Biltmore, Asheville, N.C. 1-877-BILTMORE, www.biltmore.com

George Vanderbilt opened his home on the Biltmore Estate to friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895. The tradition continues today with music, miles of garland, poinsettias, wreaths and dozens of Christmas trees.

Ask about the Candlelight Christmas Evenings Tour, where you will find fireplaces blazing and candles glowing.

Call for ticket reservations and times of operation. Open on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Nov. 7–Feb. 29:  Gatlinburg Winter Magic, Gatlinburg, Tenn. 1-800-568-4748, www.eventsgatlinburg.com

This Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Event boasts more than 3 million twinkling lights and a variety of holiday events. Visitors can park the car and enjoy the trolley lights tours most nights from Nov. 7 through Dec. 23.

More than 80,000 people find their way to this mountain town to take in the popular Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade that will take place Dec. 7. For decorating ideas, visit Gatlinburg’s Festival of Trees that takes place Nov. 23 and 24 at the W.L. Mills Conference Center, where hundreds of beautifully decorated Christmas trees are on display. New in 2007, Winter Magic Tunes & Tales hits the Parkway on Friday and Saturday evenings from Nov. 23 until Dec. 23 and features characters and storytellers in costume as well as caroling and live entertainment.

Nov. 10–Dec. 30: Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. 1-800-Dollywood, www.dollywood.com

The 2007 festival features the much-anticipated return of Dollywood’s Babes in Toyland, the park’s most elaborate holiday stage show.

Enjoy a winter wonderland of more than 3 million holiday lights along with the park’s other Christmas entertainment that includes Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs, O Holy Night, ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, Appalachian Christmas and Victorian Melodies strolling carolers.

Don’t miss Santa’s Workshop, where the entire family can enjoy an enchanted journey amid a stunning display of larger-than-life-size toys. Also, enjoy the rides at the park.

Nov. 10–Dec. 30 on select days: A Stone Mountain Christmas, Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta, Ga. 1-800-401-2407, www.stonemountainpark.com

Millions of lights illuminate the park, and families will enjoy a variety of live shows and events.

The park hosts the Atlanta debut of The Polar Express 4D Experience, where guests will experience the exciting journey based on the award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg.

Perennial favorites, such as the sing-along Christmas Train, the Snow Angel, and the nightly fireworks show, will all be back for 2007.

Visitors can also enjoy two new live shows for the season: A Hometown Holiday and Kickin’ Up Christmas. Check for select dates and times at www.snowmountainpark.com.

Nov. 17–Dec. 30: Magical Nights of Lights, Lake Lanier Islands Resort, Ga. 770-932-7200, www.lakelanierislands.com

Drive through more than six miles of giant illuminated characters with millions of twinkling lights at Lake Lanier Island Resort from 5 to 10 nightly. \

Children and adults alike will be dazzled by the festive light displays, including The Twelve Days of Christmas, Santa’s Elves at Work, the North Pole Express, the Animated Sliding Penguin and a stroll down Candy Cane Lane.

For a special treat, on Dec. 1, the Blackshear Place Baptist Church, Flowery Branch, Ga., will present a live nativity scene.

You will also want to stop by Holiday Village for roasting marshmallows, pony and amusement rides, and shopping.

Nov. 23–Dec. 30: Holidays Around the World’s Candlelight Processional, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla. 407-824-4321, www.disneyworld.com/holidays

The annual event at Epcot in Walt Disney World features a mass choir processional into the America Gardens Theatre.

The choir and a full orchestra join celebrity narrators in a moving performance of the Christmas story. Some of the celebrity guest narrators this year include Kirk Cameron, Rita Moreno and Stephen Curtis Chapman. Performances take place each evening at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.

Dec. 2: Colonial Williamsburg’s The Grand Illumination, Williamsburg, Va. 1-800-HISTORY, www.history.org/Christmas

The celebration, which lasts from 4:45 to 7:30 p.m., begins with 18th-century music from the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums and musicians on outdoor stages.

Costumed performers present other period entertainment and groups sing Christmas carols. At 6:15 p.m., candles are lit in shops and homes and fireworks light the sky. On Nov. 27 and Dec. 4, at 2:30 p.m., visitors can enjoy the new program Cleansing Fountain: Early American Folk Hymns.

Timothy Seaman presents tunes collected from the folk shape-note tradition of the late 18th through 19th centuries using instruments and voice.

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