By ROBERT JUMPER
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will premiere its first multi-week Christmas event on Friday, Nov. 28. The holiday season is fast approaching and the Tribe will celebrate with an event titled “Cherokee Lights and Legends Christmas” at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds from Nov. 28 to Jan. 3, 2015. The event will feature “larger-than-life” custom light displays, a synthetic 40’ x 80’ ice skating rink, local food vendors, musical entertainment including live bands, carnival rides and more.
“We are very excited to offer this new event to our community and visitors,” said Jason Lambert, EBCI Commerce Division director. “Christmas is a wonderful time of the year and deserves to be celebrated. We hope that the unique Cherokee twist will be enjoyed by all who visit.”
The centerpieces of the event will be the uniquely-Cherokee light sculptures. Planned for the event are a mountain top clan feature (24 feet in height), life-size elk herds and depictions of Cherokee legends like “How the Bear Lost His Tail” and more. These sculptures are professional renderings with sharp detail. Traditional Christmas light displays will also be on hand, including a life-sized Nativity scene.
Ice skating will be located on the Fairgrounds. Synthetic ice is commonly used throughout America. It is durable, slick and is not affected by changes in temperature. You may bring your own ice skates or rent those at the Fairground.
Live entertainment will be on hand for the event. On Saturday, Dec. 13, nationally-known blue grass band Balsam Range will perform at Fairgrounds. Elvis tribute artist Chris Monteith, who has won several awards for his impersonation of the King of Rock and Roll, will be on stage on Thursday, Dec. 6, Thursday, Dec.20 and Saturday, Jan. 3.
Several other local artists, individuals and groups, are scheduled to perform throughout the month. Of course, Santa will also be in attendance.
There will be a Christmas Bazaar in the Exhibit Hall throughout the event. Local crafters and artisans will fill the Hall with items perfect for the holidays and holiday gift giving.
The event coordinators are still taking vendors for the Bazaar and entertainment for the nightly performances. To sign up, contact the Cherokee Welcome Center 554-6490 or stop by the center at 498 Tsali Boulevard across from the Fairgrounds.
Cherokee Lights and Legends will be held Wednesday through Saturday starting Friday, Nov. 28 and concluding Jan. 3, 2015 (closed December 24 and 25). Wednesday and Thursday hours of operation will be 5-9 pm. Friday and Saturday hours will be 5-10 pm. Special hours will be observed on New Year’s Eve with gates opening at 5pm and closing at 12:30am.
General admission will be $5 for 13 years old and older. Ages 6 years to 12 years old will be $3. All children 5 years of age and younger may enjoy the event free. Nov. 28, Dec. 6 and Dec. 31 will be designated as “Community Nights” and EBCI tribal members and members of any other federally recognized tribes will receive free admission. Tribal ID card or other proof of enrollment will be required.
To kick off the event, a specially-designed, 40-foot Christmas tree will be erected at the Fairgrounds. There will be a tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 on opening day, Nov. 28.
If you would like to know more about Cherokee Lights and Legends Christmas, contact the Cherokee Welcome Center or visit www.visitcherokeenc.com.