The Gatlinburg Festival of Trees committee, along with the Gatlinburg Chamber Foundation, presented the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains board of directors with a check for $24,904.29 on Feb. 11, 2016. This amount greatly exceeded the expectations of the committee and was only made possible through the cooperative efforts of Hospitality Solutions, Inc., local organizations and leaders throughout Sevier County.
Early in 2015, it was questionable as to whether the event would take place. However, Logan Coykendall, president & CEO of Hospitality Solutions, rallied support from the community and partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains to revitalize the event. With the help of a special design team led by Mary Ellen Rader and sponsorships from local businesses, the 2015 Gatlinburg Festival of Trees became a huge success.
The Gatlinburg Festival of Trees, held at the W.L. Mills Conference Center in Gatlinburg, kicked-off on Nov. 24, 2015 with the Candy Canes & Cocktails reception hosted by Steve and Jay from Mixx 105.5. Over 125 people were the first to preview the beautifully decorated trees and participate in the new option of purchasing select trees. Attendees also enjoyed signature cocktails provided by Ole Smoky Moonshine and a silent auction, and delighted in music provided by the Smoky Jazz Trio.
The festivities continued Nov. 26–29, 2015, with over 4,000 people perusing through the winter wonderland of trees, having their pictures made with Santa, and getting crafty in the children’s play area and craft station while enjoying entertainment from various vocal groups and choirs.
There was no charge for admission to the Gatlinburg Festival of Trees. Proceeds were raised through major event sponsors, tree sponsorships, sale of decorated trees, donations from visitors, the Candy Canes & Cocktails reception, and the sale of commemorative Festival of Trees ornaments. Major sponsors for 2015 included: Hospitality Solutions, Gatlinburg Hospitality Association, The Old Mill, Ripley’s Entertainment, Citizen’s National Bank, The Historic Gatlinburg Inn, The Track, International House of Pancakes, Ownby Insurance, Laundry Systems of TN, Fort Fun Mini Golf & More, Foothills Furniture, and Ole Smoky Moonshine.
“The Gatlinburg Festival of Trees committee extends their sincere thanks to the sponsors, designers, purchasers, attendees, Sevier County schools, local service clubs, and volunteers that helped make the 2015 event successful, and make such a meaningful contribution to the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains,” said Coykendall. “In addition, the committee would like to thank the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce and the wonderful staff at the Gatlinburg Convention Center for helping make this event possible.”
Please mark your calendars for the 2016 Gatlinburg Festival of Trees. The event will kick-off on Nov. 22, 2016 with the return of Candy Canes & Cocktails, and will run through Nov. 27, 2016. For more information on sponsorships, sponsoring a tree, or volunteering for the event please contact Amelia Sweeney at (865) 365-1588.