New North Pole Village Opens In Bryson City, N.C.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - by Swain County Chamber of Commerce

This year, passengers on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s The Polar Express train are the first to see the brand new North Pole Village that the railroad created for this yearly event. As in the past, the surrounding town is brightly lit with colorful, Christmas lights. But now as the train arrives, waiting for riders is a large-scale, gothic-style North Pole Village that looks like it came straight from the pages of Chris Van Allsburg’s book.

The North Pole Village is comprised of six individual structures that span over 300 feet long and include The Clock Tower, Bakery, Toy Re-Bicycling, Hot Chocolate Factory, Gift Wrapping and the Naughty and Nice Office (Human Resources Department, naturally).

GSMR creative designers stenciled bricks on each building by hand to ensure that the detail is correct. There are 60 quaintly lit frosted windows dotting throughout the buildings and over 1000 twinkling lights accenting the nooks and crannies. The star of the set is Santa’s bright red sleigh. Weighing over 400 pounds, the 12-foot-long sleigh needs all the magic of the season to lift off!

The Polar Express made its debut at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in the winter of 2004. It was projected that the railroad would carry 3,000 passengers when in fact they carried 33,000. Popularity continued to grow and this 2013 season it is projected to carry over 50,000 passengers.

According to Sarah Pressley, GSMR Marketing Manager, “Year after year we (GSMR) always try to challenge ourselves to be as creative as we can be within our limits. This new set has always been a dream of ours and it has finally come to fruition. Our goal is to try and provide the most authentic experience we can with our presentation. Our passengers have always given us feedback for 'more lights, more buildings' and this is our answer!
 
“We’ll also have some other surprises for our riders within this North Pole Village. Watch out! You may just see the smoke stacks filling with real smoke, the jack-in-the-box popping out to say hello, elves dancing in celebration, or maybe even the mysterious hobo keeping warm by the fire on the box car! The Magic is everywhere, so there is no telling just who might appear!”

For more information and reservations call 800 872-4681 or look online at www.GSMR.com.


Austin Peay State University Is The Place To Be For Historic 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

On a cold February morning in 1979, a massive crowd gathered on a remote hill in Washington State to watch the day suddenly descend into darkness. For several seconds, no one spoke. “It’s eerie; it’s getting black here. Darkness at  noon ,” ABC News Correspondent Jules Bergman said during live coverage of the total solar eclipse. “People are hushed in what seems almost ... (click for more)

Tennessee Tourism Round Up: Festivals And Autumn's Beginning

Tennessee’s upcoming tourism news is consolidated for your convenience below. For a complete list of Tennessee events, visit  tnvacation.com/calendar . Aug. 21 Maynardville –  Enjoy the rich musical heritage of East Tennessee during the  34 th  Annual Big Ridge Bluegrass Festival   4 p.m.  at Big Ridge State Park. Bristol –  Be there ... (click for more)

With Census Rising, Erlanger Scrambling To Find Hospital Beds

With the census climbing at Erlanger Health System, hospital officials are scrambling to find available hospital beds. Rob Brooks, chief operating officer, said 12 rooms were opened up at Erlanger North in Red Bank. He said some of those are utilized for main campus patients who may actually be ready to go home but still have a Medicare-required three-day stay. He said the freed-up ... (click for more)

Brent Pickard Was Man Shot And Killed By Deputies; 4 From Sheriff's Office On Administrative Leave During City Investigation

Brent Pickard, 46, was the man who was shot and killed by county deputies on Wednesday night after a chase ended on Highway 153.. Four Hamilton County deputies were placed on leave, pending the investigation. At Pine Mar, Pickard crashed and shots were fired resulting in his death.  District Attorney General Neal Pinkston has asked Chattanooga Police to investigate ... (click for more)

Vote To Save Graduate Medical Education Funding

As a resident physician at UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, I know first-hand the impact Medicare financing for Graduate Medical Education has on physician education and access to care for patients in our community and communities all over the country.  GME funding provides medical school graduates the opportunity to complete the required years of clinical residency training ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Her Heart Will Go On

Tonight’s a big night in Las Vegas, one of the biggest in quite a while. Celine Dion, truly one of the most magnificent singers of our time, will return to the stage of the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace after a year’s absence and, if you dare think you can get a seat, it has been sold out for months. Of course, they say in Vegas you can buy anything, but tonight is one of the toughest ... (click for more)