The 2011 holiday season in Tennessee promises holiday-themed fun for the whole family, including dazzling light displays and festive events.

Mark your calendars for the following statewide holiday events:

Now through Dec. 31

Deck The Falls – Chattanooga –The holiday season is a special time at Ruby Falls as they “Deck the Falls.” Additions to everyday activities include a special holiday light show at the waterfalls, holiday music in the cave and beautifully decorated lobby and grounds that includes old Saint Nick.

Now through January

Speedway In Lights – Bristol - Millions of holiday lights and hundreds of displays line the route, and you even get to drive on the legendary "World's Fastest Half-Mile." Make sure you take some time to stop in Christmas Village. Enjoy roasting marshmallows, the carnival rides and even visit jolly ol' Saint Nick himself.

Dec. 1-24

Christmas In Old Appalachia – Museum of Appalachia, Norris – A winter wonderland awaits within split-rail fences. Christmas in turn-of-century structures including a dirt-floored pioneer cabin, the gaily decorated Homestead House and an old log school house.

Dec. 31-Jan. 1

Gatlinburg's New Year's Eve Ball Drop & Fireworks Show – Gatlinburg - For the 24th year, the Space Needle area at traffic light #8 comes alive at midnight with a fabulous fireworks show. Features free party favors and live entertainment.

Now through Feb. 28

Smoky Mountain Winterfest – Gatlinburg, Sevierville and Pigeon Forge – The gateway towns to the Smokies turn into a winter wonderland with more than 2 million light displays and special events.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE

Now through January

Gaylord Opryland’s “A Country Christmas” – Nashville – Sensational decorations, entertainment and some of the most delectable food anywhere.  Features the Radio City Christmas Spectacular®, ICE!™ featuring Merry Madagasacar, The Dreamworks Experience, the Louise Mandrell Christmas Dinner Party and more.

Now through February

Frist Center for the Visual Arts – Nashville – The Frist will feature a full calendar of events featuring holiday concerts, workshops and exhibits.

Dec. 2-3

Athenaeum Christmas Tour – Columbia - Local historic homes decorated for the season with tours. Other seasonal activities included in the area.

Dec. 3

Yulefest – Goodlettsville - Mansker's Fort and historic Bowen Plantation House are decorated for the holidays. Enjoy live music and entertainment throughout the site.

Dec. 10-11

Dickens Of A Christmas – Franklin – A Victorian-themed Christmas with more than 200 costumed characters reenacting the work of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol.

WEST TENNESSEE

Now through Dec. 30

Zoo Lights at the Memphis Zoo – Memphis - Make the zoo part of your tradition by enjoying the thousands of lights throughout the zoo.

Now through January

Christmas at Graceland – Memphis - The extensive spectacle includes hundreds of blue lights along the driveway, a life-size Nativity scene, Santa and his sleigh and much more originally displayed by Elvis and the Presley family. Santa will be available for pictures with the kids throughout the evening's festivities.

Dec. 31-Jan. 1

New Year’s Eve on Beale – Memphis - Join the celebration as we welcome in the New Year on Beale Street.

For the latest tourism happenings in Tennessee, visit tnvacation.com, facebook.com/tnvacation, mytnstory.com or twitter.com/tnvacation/.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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