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The Magic of the Mountains to Benefit Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center

The Magic of the Mountains to Benefit Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center

Imagine the twinkling lights of 1,000 fireflies illuminating the night, the echo of water tumbling over a rock-covered riverbed, and the tantalizing aroma of a sumptuous gourmet feast. Add a cool mountain breeze and you find yourself reveling in The Magic of the Mountains, the twelfth annual Heritage Happening fundraising event.

Preparations are well underway for this year’s gala and auction to be held on the grounds of the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center on Saturday, May 16, 2015. The gala consists of both silent and live auctions, as well as an elegant dinner provided by Rothchild Catering of Knoxville. The silent auction will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and live auction at 7:30 p.m.

The Heritage Center Guild hosts the auction and dinner to raise funds for the continuing development of the Center and its extensive educational programs for children. During the live auction, guests will have an opportunity to donate to Fund-A-Cause which aids in subsidizing travel expenses for school groups that otherwise would not be able to visit the Center. This year, more than 8,000 students are expected to participate in the Center’s unique educational programs because of financial assistance from supporters of the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center.

The Guild has been busily preparing for the festive event while it continues to collect many interesting and desirable items, including beautiful artwork from area artisans, destination trips, and dining experiences. Several unique items will be added to the auction this year, sure to create interest and competitive bidding.

Heritage Happening guests will be able to bid in both the silent and live auctions, and the popular “Buy It Now” option remains available for those who choose to purchase a silent auction item outright without going through the bidding process. We are also excited to announce that this year the preview of auction items will be possible via a much more robust website which will be active at:

Visit the site frequently, as we will be adding items regularly, complete with photographs, donors, and extensive descriptions. Watch for the link in your invitation. There will also be a link to the catalog on the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center website. On the evening of the Gala and Auction, cash, check or credit card may be used to purchase auction.

This year’s invitation and program artwork, designed by Lois Alexander, highlights the beauty and magic of the synchronous fireflies. This famously unique phenomenon has attracted visitors from around the world to our home in the Smokies. This year’s Gala Chair and Guild Vice President, Barb Penn, notes, “Those of us who live here in the Smokies as well as our thousands of visitors can attest to the ‘magic’ that infuses our experiences in the mountains. The inspirational vistas; the sounds of nature; the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets; the fragrance of trees, flowers and clean air; and the unique features such as fireflies, wildflowers, black bears, and myriad species of living things – all contribute to the magic of the mountains. Supporting the Heritage Center is a direct way to show appreciation for the many aspects of the mountains we all love.”

Invitations will be mailed in April to Heritage Center members and past attendees, but all are welcome to purchase tickets by calling the Heritage Center at 865-448-0044. Tickets are $100.00 per person, $65 of which is tax deductible. We are limited to 350 attendees, so please make your reservations early. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to enjoy a wonderful evening of food, friendship and fund-raising to support the Heritage Center at this year’s Heritage Happening. Your participation, along with the generosity of event sponsors and auction item donors, enable over 37,000 visitors per year to enjoy the many benefits of our Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center.

Donors and sponsors are listed on the website and we urge everyone to express their appreciation for their support by choosing to do business with them.

Please note that the Guild has adopted the third Saturday in May to be the annual date for future Heritage Happenings.

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