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Posted by The Charlotte Post on Monday, March 7, 2016

Life and Religion

Christmas show a retail wonderland
The annual tradition takes place Nov. 14 - 24
Published Wednesday, November 13, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

Dee Turner, owner of Beau Ties, who has been a Southern Christmas Show vendor for over 25 years, credits the show with keeping her business afloat.

With Thanksgiving and the official holiday shopping season just around the corner, hundreds of shoppers are looking to get a jumpstart on checking off their gift lists this weekend at the Southern Christmas Show.

The annual tradition, which boasts of being the largest holiday show in the country, takes place Nov. 14 - Nov. 24 at The Park Expo and Conference Center, located at 2500 E. Independence Blvd. The center’s entire six acres will transform into a retail wonderland.

Shoppers are not the only ones who look forward to the annual showcase. Vendors say it’s a major boon for business.

“For me, it is not just one of the highlights of the season; it’s one of my major highlights of the year,” said Dee Turner, owner of Beau Ties and a Southern Show vendor for over 25 years. “The Southern Christmas Show is one of the main reasons I’m still in business. Southern Shows has been my bread and butter. I owe my longevity to the wisdom of my mentor and advisor, Joan Zimmerman.”

Zimmerman is the CEO and founder of Southern Shows. She met Turner, a former banker and accountant by trade, nearly 30 years ago. Turner was selling scarves from a cart, and Zimmerman suggested she consider selling her wares at the specialty shows Southern Shows produces throughout the year.

Nearly a dozen of the 100 wineries in North Carolina will be on hand serving up cheer at this year’s show. Because of the show’s popularity, representatives at Dennis Vineyards plan to have every wine – about 30 – in their collection available.

“This is our biggest show of the year,” said Sandon Dennis, a second-generation winemaker who learned the business from his father. “Some of [the guests] are customers only at the show; others become steady customers and come to our shop, take our tour and join our wine club.”

Dennis Vineyards, a pioneer in N.C. winemaking, is located about 35 minutes from Charlotte in Albemarle.

“We were the 12th winery in North Carolina,” said Dennis. “As the number of wineries increases, the wines keep getting better and better.”

The Southern Christmas Show has been a Charlotte tradition for 46 years. Organizers said this year’s theme “Oh What Fun it Is!” was selected because the word “fun” was mentioned so often in comments left by the nearly 20,000 fans who have liked the show’s Facebook page.

“The holidays are meant to be fun and festive,” said Southern Show President David Zimmerman. “The Southern Christmas Show gives show guests an opportunity to begin the season in a way that’s both entertaining and productive. They can start and finish their shopping in one fell swoop.”

Highlights of the Southern Christmas Show include:

  • The Enchanted Village with its dollhouses, miniature scenes and train depot with a miniature train moving through it
  • Dazzling designer rooms with holiday decorating ideas that can easily be replicated
  • Christmas Tree Lane filled with dozes of Fraser firs from the N.C. mountains, each tree is decorated by a designer in themes ranging from traditional to whimsical. Photographs are welcome.
  • Olde Towne includes 50 shops brimming with gifts, dolls, ornaments and decorations
  • The Holiday Entertainment Stage offers puppet shows, holiday fashions and old-fashion sing-alongs
  • Food! What are the holidays without food? Hundreds of exhibitors will be on hand with tasty holiday treats for guest to enjoy at the show or give as a gift.

And Santa will be there too.

The show costs $10 at the door for adults and $3 for children ages 6 – 12. Children under 6 are free with a paying adult. Visit SouthernChristmasShow.com for schedule and more information.


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