TELLICO PLAINS-How long does it take to
create a tradition?
In the case of the Tellico Plains
Annual Candlelight Walk, it was instantaneous.
According to the Cherokee Women's Club,
Shelia Holbo, who owns a gallery in town square in downtown Tellico
Plains, came up with the idea.
"She suggested this event during a
meeting of the merchants, who all said, 'That's a great idea! We'll
try it,'" said Elizabeth Hannan with the Cherokee Women's Club.
Hannan said Sandra Pyron, who runs the
Tellico Art Center and Tellico Vacation Rentals, added to the idea.
"She said, 'If you bake cookies and
sell them, that will be a good way to pay for the costs of putting on
the Candlelight Walk,'" recalled Hannan.
Just like that, two traditions were
born: the Candlelight Walk and the Cookie Caper.
Thirteen years later, the tradition is
still going strong. The Cherokee Women's Club is the guiding force
behind the annual event, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1, from 5 to 8
p.m. in downtown Tellico Plains. The town crier will announce the
start of the Candlelight Walk and Mayor Patrick Hawkins will light
the Christmas tree in town square at 4 p.m.
The Candlelight Walk is a free event to
the public and features a Victorian Christmas, including costumes,
caroling, wagon rides, and open houses in the shops in downtown.
Candles will line the sides of the street, illuminating the way to a
variety of holiday activities, including horse drawn wagon rides, a
live nativity scene, carolers and an elves' workshop. Some merchants
will also offer free refreshments.
The Cookie Caper, where visitors can
choose from a wide variety of homemade cookies and candies, will be
on Scott Street, courtesy of the Myerson's.
The Grinch and Santa and Mrs. Claus
will also be on hand to visit with children and take photos. The
Cherokee Women's Club encourages all visitors to bring a camera.
There will be some new features at this
year's Candlelight Walk. Children can decorate cookies for
themselves, courtesy of the Boys & Girls Club. Small donations
will be appreciated for the organization. Also new this year is story
time sponsored by the Tellico Plains Public Library, a Christmas
ornament design contest, a coloring contest and a silent auction.
In addition, cash prizes will be
offered for the traditional Gingerbread House Contest.
Several book signings will be going on
in downtown, as well. Vintage Collectables will have Jack Darnell,
who writes children's books.Tellico Art Center will have Frances
Dorwood on hand to sign her book "Uprooted" and The Bookshelf
will host Coy Franklin, signing his biography of Reverend C. McCoy
Franklin, titled "Daybreak in the Mountains."
First United Methodist Church will also
be giving away free hot chocolate, coffee and cookies during the
Candlelight Walk and invites everyone to stop by and warm up.
"Everything is free, except for
cookies and whatever gifts you want to buy," said Hannan. "Our
local banks help offset expenses and the Cherokee Women's Club covers
The Cherokee Women's Club hopes the
event continues to be successful.
"Come see our historic downtown and
enjoy the sights, sounds and aromas of Christmastime," said Hannan.
For more information about the
Candlelight Walk or to participate as a choir in the event, contact
Carrie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the gingerbread house contest and the Christmas
decorations contest, contact Mary at 423-572-0996. Forms to
participate in those contests can be picked up on Saturday, Dec. 1,
between noon and 4 p.m. at the Charles Hall Museum, Building 2, in
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