New Years Eve Bootlegger’s Ball

New Years Bootleggers' Ball  has it all for  2020.

New Years Bootleggers’ Ball has it all for 2020.

New Years Eve Bootlegger’s Ball will ring in 2020 Tuesday, December 31, 2019. This roaring good time will be held at Junction 35 Spirits in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. New year’s revelers are invited to join the fun. All flappers and dappers are encouraged to wear optional period clothing of the “Roaring 20s” Daddy-0!

A seventeen piece swing band, “The Streamliners,” will be setting the mood so bring your dancing shoes and be ready to bust a move! Partygoers will be treated to free “bubbly”, sometimes known as champagne, from the Champagne region of France.

Gamers will have their hands full with exciting casino games! If the champagne and dance floor don’t have your head spinning the roulette wheel will. All card sharks will have the chance to test their skills at the blackjack table and the craps table is sure to have plenty of action too! Cigar aficionado’s will love the cigar bar where they can sample some of the finest tobacco available. But don’t smoke too much, you will need all your lung and leg power out on the dance floor!

The party begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $125 with all proceeds going to Safe Harbor of the Smokies.

For more information about the event and tickets visit Bootleggers’ Ball.

The New Years eve Bootleggers' Ball will be a roaring good time!

The New Years eve Bootleggers’ Ball will be a roaring good time!

Safe Harbor works with law enforcement, Child Protective Services, mental health providers and the district attorney’s office to support children abuse victims.

Safe Harbor was established by a group of impassioned individuals to provide the coordination of necessary services in a child-focused and child-friendly home-like setting for the most vulnerable victimized citizens . . .  children.

Regretfully, in most cases, children have been abused by family members or people their family members knew and trusted. Working with law enforcement, Child Protective Services, specially trained medical and mental health providers and the District Attorney General’s Office, their goal is to make the process gentler and less traumatic for children who have suffered so much.

German Christmas Lebkuchen Recipe

Making Smoky Mountain Lebkuchen is a delicious Christmas tradition.

German Christmas Lebkuchen recipe is one of the most beloved and popular Christmas treats in Deutschland. The recipe dates back to the 14th century and was created in the Bavarian city of Nuremburg. Legend has it this flourless gingerbread was named after the daughter of a master gingerbread baker who worked in the city. The soft, round gingerbread cookies are usually baked on top of a thin Oblatan (crisp white wheat wafer) wafer. These cookies are traditionally served either plain,  sugar glazed or with a thin layer of good dark chocolate. Ground nuts or tiny pieces of candied citrus peel often serve as tasty garnishes.

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Great Smoky Mountains Oconaluftee Holiday Homecoming

Oconaluftee Christmas homecoming event will be fun for the entire family!

Oconaluftee Christmas homecoming event will be fun for the entire family!

Great Smoky Mountains Oconaluftee Holiday Homecoming. The annual holiday homecoming at the Oconaluftee Visitors Center is scheduled for Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Everyone is invited to experience traditional Appalachian Christmas activities. Children and adults will enjoy many hands-on crafts as well as an old-time musical jam session with local artists.

Holiday Homecoming is about getting together, enjoying community, and reflecting on a shared past,” said Park Ranger Michael Smith. “We welcome everyone to join us for this special annual event.

Oconaluftee Visitors Center will have festive holiday decorations throughout the building. A  holiday exhibit will feature what it was like to spend Christmas in the mountains in days gone by. You can warm your bones by a roaring fire while enjoying free hot cider and homemade cookies.

The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is a must stop for any visit to the Great Smoky Mountains! Entrance to the Center is free and it is open to the public every day except Christmas day. The Visitor Center has plenty of parking for cars, RVs and motor coaches. Public restrooms and vending machines are available to the left of the Center’s main entrance. You will find everything you need to experience the park at your own pace.

The Visitor Center Offers

  • Relief Map – A giant, raised relief map which reveals all of the park trails and roads in great detail. This map provides a sense of the dramatic changes in terrain a park visitor can experience by foot or car.
  • Information Desk – Staffed by park rangers and volunteers who can answer any questions you may have about your visit.
  • Gift Shop – Selling souvenirs of all types, including a great selection of books about flora and fauna, Smoky Mountain history, wildlife, pioneer stories, mountain legends, etc. The shop provides quality topographic maps of the area, basic hiking gear, patches, paintings, traditional mountain food hard goods, and much more.
  • Museum – Hear the voices of Smoky Mountain past! Recordings of early mountain residents relating their experiences and artifacts of mountain life are on display.

The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is located on Newfound Gap Road, two miles north of Cherokee, NC. For more information call the visitor center at 828-497-1904. All activities are free and open to the public. Generous support of this event is provided by the Friends of the Smokies and Great Smoky Mountains Association.

Smoky Mountain Fraser Fir Trees, America’s Favorite Christmas Tree

Smoky Mountain Fraser fir trees are Americas Favorite Christmas Tree!

Smoky Mountain Fraser fir trees are Americas Favorite Christmas Tree!

Smoky Mountain Fraser Fir Trees, America’s Favorite Christmas Tree.  The Fraser fir, which can reach some 55-feet tall in the wild, is the only fir tree native to the Great Smokies, and is found only in Southern Appalachia at elevations above 3,900 feet.

This iconic pyramid-shaped seasonal symbol of the Great Smoky Mountains, noted for its long fragrant needles, can take more than 12 years to reach a height of six feet. The Fraser fir is hands-down the most popular Christmas tree in North America and has been selected 13 times to grace the white house grounds as the Nation’s Christmas tree.

Not only a beautiful evergreen, the Fraser fir also provides a vital habitat for some of the mountains’ rare plants and animals- including the Northern Flying Squirrel, Weller’s Salamander and the Spruce Fir-Moss Spider.

Named for Scottish botanist John Fraser in the 1800’s, the fir is one of the nation’s most endangered trees. Insect blight from the Balsam Wooly Adelgid as well as ongoing problems brought on by climate change are a constant threat to firs in the wild as well as those grown on commercial farms. Fraser firs are an economic staple in the mountains and more than 50 million of these evergreens occupy some 39,000 acres on tree farms in Western North Carolina.

The lovely Fraser fir is America's favorite Christmas tree.

The lovely Fraser fir is America’s favorite Christmas tree.

Searching for the perfect Christmas tree is a personal and (more often than not) family tradition. Loading up the kids and heading to the nearest cut-your-own tree farm makes for some special holiday memories. Walking down row after row of a green forest in frosty winter weather before selecting and cutting the absolute perfect tree is a fun way for adults and kids to kick off the holiday season. Most farms feature a rustic stand at the edge of the fir forest where families can enjoy mugs of steaming hot chocolate before visiting with the velvet and fur-clad resident Santa and more than a few elves.

Tree safety tips

Before heading out to buy a tree, think about the room where the tree will be located. Leave at least 6-inches between the tip of the tree and the ceiling. Don’t forget to factor in the height of the tree stand as well.

Plan to place trees away from heat sources and direct sunlight if possible.

Either cut your own tree or buy a freshly cut tree from a reputable tree farm. Many pre-cut trees were likely cut weeks before arriving for sale.

Cut off at least two inches at the bottom of the trunk. This helps the tree absorb water. REMEMBER trees can take in as much of a gallon of water a day, so WATER DAILY! (One Connecticut tree farm recommends boiling a gallon of water and dissolving one cup of sugar into the water; let cool then add the mixture to your tree stand at first and then follow with fresh plain water daily.)

Frequently falling needles indicate that the tree is becoming a fire hazard.

We love to see your photos of Fraser firs. Got a hiking pic of one? Or maybe one decorated for the holidays? Send it to us via our social media and spread the holiday cheer!

Great Smoky Mountain Annual Festival Of Christmas Past

Smoky Mouuntain Festival of Christmas Past will be fun for the entire family!

Smoky Mouuntain Festival of Christmas Past will be fun for the entire family!

Great Smoky Mountain Annual Festival Of Christmas Past Saturday, December 14, 2019. The event will be held at Sugarlands Visitor Center beginning at 9:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

This event is family friendly so make plans to bring your entire bunch. Many activities are planned including  mountain skills demonstrations, Christmas caroling, shape note singing, live traditional mountain music, and a fascinating living history walking tour. Park staff and visitors have developed a unique, immersive experience allowing you to make a journey through different holiday traditions from the last century. These traditions will be displayed in exhibits of hand made decorations, Christmas toys and more! Hot apple cider will be available to take the chill off your bones so come thirsty!

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.”

The ‘Christmas Memories Walk’ will begin at 1:00 p.m. Costumed interpreters will bring the history of the Smokies to life shining light on significant moments leading to the park’s establishment.

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.