Christmas in the National Parks

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The National Park Service has recently launched a new Holiday Events Page on its website.

The new page lists many of the Christmas and Holiday events going on around the country within our National Park System this season.

For example, Fort Pulaski National Monument in Savannah, Georgia will be conducting its annual Candlelantern tours, which re-creates the Confederate Nog party of 1861.

This Saturday, the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Virginia will celebrate “An Old Virginia Christmas of 1859: The Plantation Residents React to John Brown’s Raid.” Visitors can discover how Christmas was celebrated on the eve of the American Civil War while enjoying sights, smells, and tastes of an antebellum Christmas with candlelit costumed tours, children's activities, storytelling and hot apple cider and gingerbread.

The Natchez Trace Parkway’s annual Holiday Open House will include “TomFoolery”, an acoustic trio that will perform traditional and seasonal music. The public is welcome to bring their instruments to join in.

For whatever reason, the site does not include two scheduled events happening in the Great Smoky Mountains this month. Those two events are:

Festival of Christmas Past - 12/12/09
The Festival of Christmas Past at Sugarlands Visitor Center will feature a blend of mountain music, storytelling, crafts, and skills demonstrations ongoing throughout the day. The event schedule includes the following activities:

At the Sugarlands Visitor Center Theater
* 9:30 am - 11:00 am - Harp Singing and Old Time Hymns
* 11:15 am - 12:00 pm - Lost Mill String Band
* 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm - Storytelling with Cuz and Jan Headrick
* 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Stories of the Past From Local Residents
* 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm - Bill Proffitt and South of the River Boys
* 3:00 - 4:00 pm - Boogertown Gap Band

Craft Demonstrations In and Around the Visitor Center
* Berry Bark Baskets with Bill Alexander
* Spinning with Dale Lyles
* Blacksmithing with master blacksmith Clayton Sharp
* Mountain Basketweaving with Connie and Bertha Clabo
* Lye Soap Making with Sallie Swor
* Historic Toys and Games with Roy Henson
* Christmas Craft Table with Vicki Law
* Apple Butter Making with Vonda and Carrol Ogle

Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee - 12/19/09
On Saturday, December 19, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host a holiday homecoming at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and the Mountain Farm Museum from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Cozy up to the fireplace and enjoy traditional and holiday music while sipping hot apple cider next to the Christmas tree! Enjoy demonstrations of traditional Appalachian folkways, including broom making, corn shuck doll making, and old-fashioned toys and games.

The visitor center will be decorated for the holiday season and the Mountain Farm Museum will be open for visitors to walk through.

For more information, call the visitor center at (828) 497-1904. All activities are free and open to the public.

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