A Glimpse at the North Pole

A Glimpse at the North Pole

1 Comment 📅November 22nd, 2011, 21:35

north_poleI imagine this is what the North Pole is like this time of year.

The exhibit hall at the Knoxville Convention Center is bustling with hundreds of busy volunteers preparing for the 27th annual Fantasy of Trees. One of Knoxville’s premier holiday events, this benefit for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital always puts me in the holiday spirit.

It takes three days of non-stop activity to transform the hall into a winter wonderland. Last year we filmed a time lapse video of the transformation. And while it shows the tremendous amount of effort involved, it can’t compare to being in the midst of the set-up.

Volunteers ranging from decorators to school groups are creating more than 300 Christmas trees and hearthside holiday vignettes. Hundreds of gingerbread creations are painstakingly assembled in the snow-covered gingerbread village. There is sparkly bow-tying and snowflakes are flying as this incredible fantasy land is artfully constructed one special section at a time. And there is a great sense of urgency and anticipation to have the magic complete in time for the Opening Night Preview Party.

Many events transform our exhibit hall each year, but this one is truly special. It may be the spirit of the season, it may be the passion for the children served by Children’s Hospital, or it may just be because so many groups in our community are involved in the event. Whatever it is, loading-in days for Fantasy of Trees gets our entire staff humming Jingle Bells.

And from inside the center, I can tell you this year is going to be better than ever. The theme is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” with décor reflecting holidays of yore. It’s a 1950’s look, with classic cars and vintage decorations reflecting the simple pleasures of the holiday. It’s a great place to shop, visit Santa, get ideas or simply soak in the holiday spirit.

Just like the elves in Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, Children’s Hospital volunteers are busy putting together this year’s Fantasy of Trees. It is going to be a treat you won’t want to miss.

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