By Angie Jones
East Tennessee Community Writer
GATLINBURG. On Thursday evening, December 3, 2009, members of the Gatlinburg Garden Club came together for their annual Christmas luncheon at the Mills Conference Center.
The Mills Conference center was beautifully decorated for the event with Christmas decor. The meeting tables were carefully covered in white linen and exquisitely set with centerpiece trees created with original decorations on each by club members and Luncheon Chairman B. J. Byars and Social Chairman Edna McNutt. All in attendance were given the opportunity to buy the trees at the end of the meeting. Beautiful door prizes and parting gifts for all were provided by Sevier County Bank.
While seated, members were welcomed by Garden Club President Teri Pizza. The blessing was given by Father Boettner of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
Lunch was served to the specifically chosen piano arrangements of Norma J. Millener who played endlessly throughout the meal to the festive crowd.
Bill Landry, former host, narrator, co-producer and 5-time Emmy Award winner of “The Heartland Series” was the featured speaker.
Mr. Landry shared several Christmas stories and video clips as told to him by residents throughout the Smoky Mountains.
Those in attendance listened and watched heart-warming videos of several Heartland Series clips such as “Santa Claus Comes to Tater Fork,” “The Discovery,” and “The Galax Gatherers.”
Mr. Landry shared how much he had learned and enjoyed in the making of the 1,800 video clips which were each approximately 3 minutes and 40 seconds long.
Mr. Landry said, “I’m officially retired but still working all the time!”
After the program, Civic Chairman, B. J. Byars presented the Gatlinburg Garden Club’s Landscape Design Excellence Award for 2009. This award is given each year by the club to the business with the best year-round landscaping.
The award for this year was presented to Little Log Wedding Chapel which was
first constructed in February 1991. Built by Richard A. Pentecost, a minister from Louisville, KY he had a dream to bring Christian weddings to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. “The design of the original chapel was built using logs that were constructed using the same style reminiscent of log homes and churches built 100 years ago. Gatlinburg's Little Log Wedding Chapel conveys the same essence and spirit of the mountain region that early settlers to Gatlinburg wished to bring. Just recently, the chapel was reconstructed in the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community where it could remain remote in a beautiful serene environment surrounded by nature and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The new chapel still maintains the same beautiful log cabin style and charming rustic appeal and is a perfect wedding retreat for smaller, intimate weddings but can accommodate larger, more elaborate weddings as well.”
The Gatlinburg Garden Club Presentation for 2009 for Landscape Design Excellence Award can be viewed by all on the web at www.logchapel.com.
Many members were present for the meeting. Other guests for the luncheon included speaker Bill Landry, The Honorable Jerry Hays- Mayor of Gatlinburg, City Manager Cindy Cameron Ogle, Gatlinburg Tourism and Special Events Department, Director of Chamber of Commerce Vicki Sims, Pianist Norma Millener, artists and designers for the Beautification Sign Zank and Vicki Zank, Kevin Tierney – owner of Lorelei Productions, Mrs. Rell (Wilma) Maples, and East Tennessee Community Writer and Photographer Angie Jones.
Special sponsors and among the guests in attendance were Mr. R. B. Summitt, President of Sevier County Bank, Mary Summitt, Lynn Perella, Juanita King, Dot Egli, Owner and Ken Webster of Mountain Laurel Chalets, owner and artist of Buie Pottery Buie Handcock, and Robin Kurtz of Tennessee State Bank.
Door prizes and closing remarks were presented by President Teri Pizza who thanked all members, guests, sponsors, and food service personnel for a very memorable “Smoky Mountain Christmas.”
Speaker Bill Landry Brings “A Smoky Mountain Christmas” to the Gatlinburg Garden Club
By Angie Jones