National Park Hosts Annual Festival of Christmas Past Program

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host the annual Festival of Christmas Past celebration on Saturday, December 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Sugarlands Visitor Center. The event, sponsored in cooperation with Great Smoky Mountains Association, is free to the public.

The festival will include mountain music, traditional shape note singing, mountain craft demonstrations, and a living history walk. Visitors can experience these traditions through hands-on activities including make-and-take craft stations. Additionally, hot apple cider will be served throughout the day.


“Around Christmas time, people gathered in churches, homes, and schools where they celebrated the holiday through music, storytelling, and crafts,” said North District Resource Education Supervisor Stephanie Sutton. “The Festival of Christmas Past allows us to pause and remember some of these traditions.”


The popular “Christmas Memories Walk” will be held at 11:30 a.m. Costumed interpreters will lead a short walk and talk about life in the mountains during the holidays. Visitors will also experience the spirit of the season in the mountains during the early days.


The full schedule of events at Sugarlands Visitor Center includes:



9:30 a.m.   Traditional Shape Note Singing

11:15 a.m.  Winter in the Natural World Program

12:00 noon Music by the Lost Mill String Band

12:45 p.m.  “The Night before Christmas” Reading

1:00 p.m.   Cherokee Storytelling with Kathi Littlejohn

2:00 p.m.   Music by Boogertown Gap

2:45 p.m.   Traditional Reading of the Christmas Story

3:00 p.m.   Caroling/Sing Along



10:00-1:00 Wreath-making

10:00-2:00 Craft and Trade Demonstrations

11:30 a.m. Christmas Memories Walk

12:00-2:00 Children’s Crafts


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.



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