40th Annual Festival of Christmas Past

A man and a woman in period costumes from the early 1900s speak to two visitors.
Costumed interpreters share stories on the Christmas Memories Walk.

Warren Bielenberg

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News Release Date: December 4, 2015

Contact: Public Affairs Office, (865) 436-1207

Great Smoky Mountains National Park announces the 40th annual Festival of Christmas Past celebration scheduled on Saturday, December 12 from9:30 a.m. to 4:00 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 old-time mountain music, traditional harp singing, mountain craft demonstrations, and living history walks. Demonstrators will show visitors how to make historic toys, games, rag rugs, apple-head dolls, quilts, homespun thread, and apple cider throughout the day. Visitors can also experience these traditions through hands-on activities including make-and-take craft stations.

“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 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Costumed interpreters will lead a short walk from the visitor center and talk about life in the mountains during the holidays. Through this living history program, visitors will 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.- Old-fashioned Harp Singing 
  • 11:00 a.m.- Old Time Music with Boogertown Gap Band  
  • 11:00 a.m.- Christmas Memories Walk 
  • 12:00 p.m. - Old Time Music with Lost Mill String Band
  • 1:00 p.m.- “Stories from the Past” presented by the Smoky Mountain Historical Society
  • 2:00 p.m.- Appalachian Christmas Music and Storytelling with Mike and Kathy Gwinn
  • 2:00 p.m.- Christmas Memories Walk
  • 3:00 p.m.- Bill Proffitt and South of the River Boys 

Last updated: December 7, 2015

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Mailing Address:

107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738


(865) 436-1200

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