Christmas festivities in Chimney Rock

Chase High jazz band, Santa down the chimney
Dec. 11, 2012 @ 05:06 AM

CHIMNEY ROCK — A Christmas tree lighting at the Gathering Place, music by the Chase High Jazz Band, visits from Santa; and a chili cook-off were highlights of the holiday events in Chimney Rock Village during the weekend.

The Village's Community Development Association hosted most of weekend events, including the chili contest,  as residents from across the Hickory Nut Gorge came with pots of chili and cornbread on Friday night to raise funds for the CDA.

Chili prepared by Esmerald Inn chefs was chosen first place by three judges;  Megan Medina of Medina's Village Bistrol in Chimney Rock won second place and  Mary Jaeger Gale's chili was voted third.

In the cornbread contest, Amy Wald took first place; Barbara Meliski, second place and Ken Potter's cornbread was third.

On Saturday night lights were switched on at the tree at The Gathering Place on the hill across from the Main Street. 

Christmas music was provided by the jazz band and the Fairfield Mountains Chapel quartet was hosted by Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park.

Rain shorted the jazz band's hour long performance, but received rave reviews for its 30-minute concert, outside near the entrance to Chimney Rock State Park.

"The band was great. I am very impressed" said resident Ackie Okpych.

"The music was wonderful," Mayor Pro Tem Bob Wald said.

Residents walked along the sidewalks, visited shops,  open later Friday for the festivities; some townspeople arrived with their pets on leashes and Santa Claus greeted children of all ages. 

Christmas festivities continue Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a host of events in downtown Forest City — hay rides, carriage rides, photos with Santa, winter skate;  A Hillbilly Christmas at Green River Plantation; The Belles of Rutherford County at Forest City Clubhouse; Santa returns to the chimney in Chimney Rock on Saturday and  A Christmas Carol will be presented next Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Foundation, Isothermal Community College.

For more information, visit www.rutherfordevents.com.