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November 23, 2019

10th annual Holiday Homecoming open house

Free for all guests, and local artists are spotlighted and fairly compensated. Holiday Homecoming celebrates the traditions of the first peoples of this area, the Native Americans and early settlers. The Heritage Center utilizes its facilities for musical acts, performers, craft stations, refreshments, and a visit with Santa. When guests enter the Heritage Center, they are personally welcomed by the staff and volunteers, and they notice the lovely pioneer holiday decorations that the Heritage Center's Guild has assembled at the entrance and in the gift shop. Once inside, guests participate in numerous activities such as listening to live musical performances, watching youth musical and dance groups, making pioneer holiday decorations, snacking on delicious refreshments, and touring the facility which features artists throughout the grounds. One of the highlights of this event is a visit with the "real" Santa. Art Hafner (a.k.a. Santa) is authentic in appearance from his white hair and beard to his red velvet suit and black boots. Santa is located next to a roaring fire in a 150 year old log cabin. This setting provides a unique opportunity for guests to have a relaxed and quiet visit with Santa, offering an unhurried setting where children can have extended conversations with Santa.

Throughout the day, there is a variety of musical entertainment, including the Smoky Mountain Native American Flute Circle, traditional mountain music preformed by Sarah Pirkle, 19th century strolling carolers, and the Townsend Community Choir. There are also several craft stations where families sit together and make holiday ornaments and decorations. A variety of youth dance and musical groups have been invited to participate in this event, allowing these groups exposure to a larger audience and an opportunity for a dress rehearsal before their big holiday production. The Heritage Center is alive with the holiday spirit during this special open house. For this area, Holiday Homecoming is the official start to the holiday season, and it has become an annual event for families near and far.

Located at Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center

Saturday, Nov 23 - 11am