Thursday, December 19, 2013

Festival of Christmas Past

 
On Saturday, December 14th, we attended the 38th annual Festival of Christmas Past celebration at the Sugarlands Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
This celebration highlights the Christmas culture in Appalachia.
 
 Around Christmas time, people gathered in churches, homes, and schools and many of them celebrated the holiday through music, storytelling, and crafts. Festival of Christmas Past allows us to pause and remember some of these traditions. ~ Kent Cave, North District Resource Education Supervisor.
 

There was plenty of old-time music, including a group of Scared Harp and shape-note singers.


The Christmas trees decorating the building used all handmade ornaments.  There were demonstrations of weaving, rug making, and quilting on the inside.  It was a cold, rainy day, but they managed to make apple butter and apple cider outside.

 
We enjoyed all the music and storytelling.

 
One of the storytellers was retired ranger Glenn Eldridge. He was working at Sugarlands when the festival started.  Back then, it was mostly a quilt show, but now it has expanded to all this. Mr. Eldridge says his storytelling skills came from nights around the fireplace as a child, picking seed from cotton to be used to spin yarn.
 
 
We first attended the celebration five years ago, and have been every year since.  We never get tired of it. Click here for a video from the 2010 Festival.