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Attractions across Southeast offer Christmas fun for visitorscomment (0)

November 9, 2006

By Linda Holloway

Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ through church services, cantatas and caroling. Family togetherness is also a part of the season. Traveling to a special event as a family can create a tradition that will be remembered after the Christmas lights have dimmed. The Southeast has a variety of activities for all ages.
For a listing of the top Christmas events in the Southeast, view the Southeast Tourism Society’s “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” at www.southeasttourism.org.

Nov. 4–Dec. 30: Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
1-800-Dollywood, www.dollywood.com

The 2006 festival features the premiere of “Dollywood’s Babes in Toyland,” the park’s new stage show. Enjoy a winter wonderland of more than 3 million lights along with the park’s other Christmas season entertainment including “Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs,” “O Holy Night,” “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “Appalachian Christmas” and “Victorian Melodies.” Children will enjoy Santa’s Workshop, home of Tinker the Talking Christmas Tree. For special excitement, do not miss incredible rides at the park.

Nov. 4–Jan. 1: Christmas at Biltmore Estate, Asheville, N.C.
1-800-624-1575, www.biltmore.com

George Vanderbilt opened his home on the Biltmore Estate to friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895. Today the tradition continues with music, miles of garland, poinsettias, wreaths and dozens of Christmas trees. Ask about the Candlelight Christmas Evenings Tour. Call for ticket reservations and times of operation. Open on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Nov. 11–Dec. 30: A Stone Mountain Christmas, Stone Mountain, Ga.
1-800-401-2407, www.stonemountainpark.com

Millions of lights illuminate the park where families will enjoy the nightly “snowfall” and a variety of live shows such as “Snow Angel.” Guests can experience a 4-D Christmas movie, a train ride with a live show and the grand entrance of Santa and friends. The event begins weekends Nov. 11–Dec. 17 and nightly Dec. 18–30. The park is closed Dec. 24–25.

Nov. 16–Jan. 2: Gaylord Opryland’s A Country Christmas, Nashville
1-888-999-6779, www.gaylordopryland.com

Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is the setting for a newly designed nativity scene with  lighting effects and an audio rendition of the story of Christ’s birth. Bring your gloves and enjoy a chilly adventure with the ice sculptures and slides of Gaylord’s Ice! attraction. You can also visit the nearby Grand Ole Opry House to see the Rockettes in the return of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Nov. 24–Dec. 30: Candlelight Processional, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla.
407-824-4321, www.disneyworld.com/holidays

The annual event at Epcot in Walt Disney World begins with 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, Gary Sinise, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Stephen Curtis Chapman. Performances take place each evening at 5, 6:45 and 8:15.

Dec. 1–2: Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree, Belhaven College, Jackson, Miss.
7:30 p.m.; 601-965-7026, http://arts.belhaven.edu/schedule.htm

For nearly 75 years, the Belhaven College choir has been treating the public to an outdoor candlelight Christmas concert on campus. The performance begins with a candlelight procession around the lake and ends with 100 voices forming a lighted “human” Christmas tree.

Dec. 2–30: Old Fashioned Christmas, Dahlonega, Ga.
1-800-231-5543, www.dahlonega.org

This monthlong celebration kicks off with Father Christmas and his reindeer during the official Christmas parade and grand lighting of the square Dec. 2. Giant Christmas cards and Santa’s elves will be in town. In Hancock Park, there are the new ice skating rink and a snowflake memorial walkway.

Dec. 3: Colonial Williamsburg’s 70th Grand Illumination, Williamsburg, Va.
4:30–8:30 p.m.; 1-800-447-8679, www.history.org/Christmas

The celebration 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. From Nov. 20 to Jan. 1, visitors can enjoy decorations made from pine roping, truckloads of greenery and bushels of fresh fruits.

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