festival of trees

Surrounded by the twinkling lights and sounds and smells of the holidays, shop the many handmade centerpieces and craft items, and return to the joys of celebrating Christmas in the Smokies.

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There will  be dozens of lighted and decorated Christmas trees, plus gingerbread houses, Santa Claus and Candy Cane Lane. 

It’s all part of the Gatlinburg Festival of Trees, the annual fundraiser to support Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries. 

“We have some great activities to showcase during Thanksgiving week,” Sandra Solomon, chairwoman of SMARM’s Festival of Trees Committee, said. “It will be great fun for the whole family.”

The festival runs Nov. 25-29 at the Mills Conference Center. Admission is free. The event, as always, kicks off with a luncheon on Tuesday, Nov.25, followed that evening by a Business After Hours sponsored by the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce. 

SMARM is a nonprofit, faith-based agency that serves the poor and needy in Sevier County. The agency benefits from the Festival of Trees through tree sponsorships, the gingerbread house competition entry fees and by visitor donations during the event. 

The gingerbread house competition features six categories. The entry fee is $30, and prizes are given to the top two finishers in each category, as determined by judges. 

“You can donate your entry to SMARM to be auctioned at the Festival of Trees,” Solomon said. 

Gingerbread house categories: amateur adult, youth, family, team/group, professional and, for children ages 8 and under, houses made from kits. The entry deadline is Nov. 23.

The kickoff luncheon is named for Dot Egli, the longtime SMARM board member and Gatlinburg booster who died last year. The luncheon will be from 11:30 a.m. To 1 p.m. Nov. 25 at Mills Conference Center and will feature a fashion show of clothing sold in the two SMARM Treasures From the Heart thrift stores. A silent auction will also be conducted, ending that evening at the Business After Hours. 

Festival of Trees visitors will enter through the new Candy Cane Lane, a lighted arbor to create the holiday mood. On Friday and Saturday from noon-4 p.m. Persons can have photos made with Santa.

Festival hours: 

— Nov. 25: 1-5 p.m. 

— Nov. 26 and 27: 10 a.m. To 5 p.m. 

— Nov. 28 and 29: 10 a.m. To 7 p.m. 

Tree sponsorships are available. Sponsors can decorate their own trees, or have SMARM volunteers do it. Volunteers are needed to help decorate, starting Friday, Nov. 21. 

For luncheon tickets, gingerbread house info or to volunteer, visit smarm.org or call the office at 865-908-3153.

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November 25, 2014 - November 29, 2014


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