Tennessee's Holiday Season Is Full Of Singing

Thursday, November 12, 2015 - by Amanda Stravinsky

The Soundtrack of America is always playing in Tennessee, especially during Christmas. Hark what Tennessee sings in parades, at attractions and in house museums across the state: Christmas has come and with it the glorious sounds of the season.


Trisha Yearwood flips the switch, illuminating and starting Christmas at Graceland which shows how Elvis Presley decorated Graceland during the holiday season.

The mansion, adorned in red velvet drapes and Christmas decorations from the Presley family, showcases hundreds of blue lights, a life-size Nativity scene, Santa, and interior and exterior lights through Jan. 8, 2016.

A Christmas glow can be found starting Nov. 20 at the Memphis Zoo during Zoo Lights 2015. Activities include rides through Zoo Lights on the tram, a China carousel, animal encounters, hot chocolate and treats, hundreds of Christmas light displays and live reindeer. Snow blankets the property and the 200 ft.-long tunnel of light is back, serving an extra dose of magic.


This year’s A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Resort will include two million lights, ICE! featuring The Nutcracker and “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.” Grammy Award-winning Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers have a new Christmas dinner show that blends their harmonies with holiday favorites. Two million pounds of colored ice tells The Nutcracker story in a new way as the original Tchaikovsky score is played while guests walk through the ICE! exhibit. Experience snow tubing and ice skating, The Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt throughout the hotel, and the outdoor Nativity by carriage ride.

Head to Franklin and you’ll think you’ve stepped into Charles Dickens’ classic stories during Dickens of a Christmas Dec. 12-13. Celebrating its 31st anniversary, Dickens of a Christmas incorporates 200 characters, dancers and entertainers from Charles Dickens’ stories like Fagin from “Oliver Twist,” Tiny Tim, Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley from “A Christmas Carol.” The Franklin police officers even get in on the fun, dressing up as English patrolmen. Sugar plums and roasted chestnuts are sold on the street; carriage rides are given; musical performances occur on the stage and in the street; and a town sing of classic Christmas carols heralds in this joyful time of year.


Smoky Mountain Winterfest blankets Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in millions of lights and holiday displays throughout the area. Christmas programs and holiday concerts are performed, bringing together the three cities for an unforgettable holiday season. Gatlinburg’s Annual Fantasy of Lights Dec. 4 hosts illuminated floats, characters like Charlie Brown, the Grinch, and, of course, Santa. During Smoky Mountain Christmas now through Jan. 3, 2016 at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, kids and kids at heart can enjoy four million lights throughout the park, performances, Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol, and Appalachian Christmas, an acoustic show of holiday classics. The area’s largest living Nativity, Santa and his elves, and lots of live animals that include a white lion and camels are all part of the Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry Theater through Jan. 3, 2016 in Pigeon Forge. Sevierville celebrates Winterfest with 15 million lights and is home to Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland through Jan. 3, 2016 at Smokies Stadium. Buy Winterfest 3D glasses for $1 that turn each Christmas light into a dazzling snowflake.

Speedway in Lights is the largest holiday light show in the South at Bristol Motor Speedway. Four miles and two million lights captivate visitors through Jan. 2, 2016. New this year is the BMS Express, a version of the Polar Express complete with hot chocolate and cookies that presents Speedway in Lights in a different way. Visitors can also take an open air tram ride on Santa’s Speedway Sleigh that makes a 30-minute stop in Christmas Village and includes blankets for cozying up and marshmallows for roasting.

Tennessee Aquarium Leaping Into World Lemur Day On Oct. 20 With Special Programs, Activities

Never mind their captivating charisma and seemingly endless abundance of energy, being a lemur is a pretty tough gig.   Thanks to a host of ecological challenges in their native Madagascar, all of the more than 100 species of these acrobatic animals are endangered to one degree or another. As a group, they are the world’s most-imperiled class of mammal.   ... (click for more)

Parades, Planes, Playgrounds, And More At The 2018 Wings Over North Georgia Air Show

The seventh annual  Wings Over North Georgia Air Show  is guaranteed to have something for everyone. Air show performances will include 70-year old warbirds, a fifth-generation fighter jet, skydivers, jet cars, world-renowned aerobatic performers, and a 45-minute reenactment of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The air show will be Oct. 13-14, in Rome, Ga. ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy High ROTC Instructor Denies He Had Gun In Road Rage Incident, But Judge Sends Case To Grand Jury

A Soddy Daisy ROTC instructor has denied having a gun in a road rage incident with a 17-year-old girl at Northgate Mall, but General Sessions Court Judge Gary Starnes bound the case to the Grand Jury. The judge said,"It's a very close issue. It's he said, she said. I don't think it's going to get out of the Grand Jury, but I am going to find there is probable cause." The girl ... (click for more)

Federal Judge In Nashville Tells State To Halt Suspension Of Drivers Licenses Of Those Who Cannot Pay

 A Nashville federal judge has directed that the state halt suspension of the drivers licenses of people who cannot afford to pay fines and court costs. The ruling was from District Judge Aleta Trauger. Officials of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security said, "The department has received the order.  It will stop suspensions of licenses, as the Court requires, ... (click for more)

Drink Up, Chattanooga

I attended the meeting to discuss the placement of the sewage treatment plant at the Cambridge Center in Ooltewah today. My problem with the meeting (aka) dog and pony show, is that the meeting started out with the agenda of the Ooltewah Community Council.  After living in this area for 45+ years I have never heard of this group.  I would like for someone to answer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dear Faux Pelini

It has been my experience that of all the tribes and herds of different people on earth, sports writers are among the funniest people of all. Oh, there isn’t anything real sexy about Villanova beating Georgetown or a baseball player hitting for the cycle. Now, if a player hits a single, double, triple and homer in that order, that’s “a natural cycle,” and that is kind of fun to ... (click for more)