Christmas Across The Carolinas: Great Wolf Lodge, Concord, North Carolina
Saturday evening saw the inaugural tree lighting at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina. Known for its water park, Great Wolf Lodge was transformed into Snowland; a rustic, winter theme complete with Christmas trees, carols from its animatronic display, and crystalline snow hanging from the rafters. This was an evening for the young, as well as the young at heart. Great Wolf Lodge has always done things in a tasteful, yet grand fashion. Only the biggest Scrooge could leave not having felt the spirit of Christmas.
Not even a brief technical glitch could put a damper on the evening’s proceedings. Santa Claus, accompanied by Concord Mayor Scott Padgett, made his entrance in classic Great Wolf Lodge fashion, riding not on a sleigh, but on a water park themed float: Great Wolf Lodge bed with stockings (hung by the pillows with care), replica water slides, and tube rings. The only thing missing on Santa was Bermuda shorts, as this was an entrance that would’ve made Jimmy Buffett proud. I’m not sure how many entrances Santa has made like this, but the water park looked great after seeing this float.
Once inside it was time to prepare for the Lodge’s first tree lighting. It was also time to honor Great Wolf Lodge’s charity of choice, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Charlotte and Concord, an organization that mentors children between the ages of 6 to 18. Formalities out of the way, speeches by both Mayor Padgett and Santa complete (I had no idea Santa said “Okay, you guys” and “y’all”), the time came to light the tree, as well as the trees on their various displays. The evening’s sole hitch, an uncooperative winter “snow,” was minimized with the distraction of “Jingle Bells” sing-a-longs. After the short delay, the animatronic tree, Pocahontas, and animals sang their Christmas carols as “snow” fell from the ceiling. With all of their trees lit, songs being sung, and snow blowing, Great Wolf Lodge transformed itself into a beautiful, scenic winter wonderland. Those with cameras, myself included, had to briefly put them down just to admire what had been accomplished.
Whether attendees were six or sixty years old, it was evident by the smiling faces that the atmosphere and events had created the intended effect: Christmas cheer. Great Wolf Lodge brings Christmas to the Charlotte area in a most delightful, wondrous manner. Snowland runs from now through Christmas day with snowfall magically appearing three times daily in the main lobby. It’s well worth the time and effort to visit as this is no less than a highly recommended trip–sure to be enjoyed by folks of all ages.