Friday, November 06, 2009


There was no Thanksgiving music during the light show at Smokies Park. In fact, the soundtrack was unabashedly Christmas. Tonight my wife and I attended a media preview of Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland in the parking lot of the baseball stadium in Kodak.

They had a small reception with hot cocoa, hot cider and Christmas cookies just before sunset. As it got dark, Sevierville Mayor Bryan Atchley and Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters cut a ceremonial ribbon held by members of the Glover family, who own and operate Shadrack Watersports. We all headed to our cars and drove through the maze-like course in the parking lot.

The lights formed secular shapes like snowflakes and trees, but the songs that accompanied the display were mostly religious. I heard "Christmas with a Capital C" and "Joy to the World" by Go Fish as well as "Stille Nacht" by Mannheim Steamroller. The music is broadcast on a low-power FM station, which sounded great on our car radio. The various colors appear to dance to the beat. A computer program synchronizes the lights to the music. It's reminiscent of both fireworks and water fountains.

Smokies Park is just off I-40 at exit 407. This is the third light display by Shadrack. In 2007, they started the tradition at their store in Bristol. In 2008, they began doing it at their location in West Knoxville, just off the Watt Road exit. The light shows start again in Bristol on November 13 and in Knoxville on November 19. All three displays will operate nightly from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. until January 2. It costs $15 per car on weekends and $10 per car on Monday through Thursday nights. The rates are higher for buses, limos and activity vans.

We were told to keep our headlights off as we drove through the mile-long course. As you can see in the photo below, there was a car behind us who left their lights on. Mikki Noel Glover (who is now married and has a different last name) told us that many owners of newer cars have no idea how to turn off their headlights. For some, it involves either the parking brake or the gear shift. By the end of last year, the Glovers had figured out how several different auto models work. They plan to research the information on the Internet and give themselves a refresher course for this year.

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