“Christmas At The Crescent” Has Become Eureka Springs Tradition
Christmastime at this Historic Hotel of America has become one of The Ozarks region’s most popular winter holiday traditions. Part of that tradition is the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa’s weeklong schedule of activities for visitors, residents and guests which is called “Christmas at the Crescent”. This year’s yuletide celebration at this mountaintop spa resort runs from December 1 through December 7.
“When we first started this annual event 12 years ago it consisted of a live Nativity scene, Santa’s Brunch and free holiday movies for our guests,” said hotel Vice-President of Operations and Development Jack Moyer. “The crowds were small that year but everyone who attended had a great time. So much so, it encouraged us to build up this week not only for our hotel guests but to also impact the holiday season for the entire Greater Eureka Springs area.”
One such community-wide event is the Christmas Forest Tree Lighting on Saturday, December 1 at 6 p.m. Twenty-five trees will adorn the hotel’s East Lawn this year allowing it to be seen both on-property and from across the valley from the East Mountain Rotary Overlook. Each tree will be uniquely decorated one to the other since each tree represents a different local and area charity.
“Not only is our Christmas Forest a sparkling sight to behold, visitors to the forest can ‘vote’ for their favorite tree. At the end of the ‘election’ on December 31, each tree’s ‘votes’ will be donated to that charity. Additionally, the top three vote-getters also receive a nice cash prize donated from the hotel,” explained Moyer.
Santa arrives at the hotel on Sunday, December 2 when he is the star attraction at Santa’s Brunch. The two elements that guests are suggested to bring to this feast of holiday culinary delights are a large appetite and a camera. While eating to their hearts’ content guests also getting a chance to sit on Ol’ Saint Nick’s lap for a chance to capture a photographic lifetime memory. Santa has been known to balance an entire family on his red velvet knees for that just right shot. Brunch is served from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. while Santa will be poised for photo from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Each weekday -except Thursday- at noon during this special holiday week, the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom will swing its doors open for hungry patrons and school groups ready to perform for those enjoying a mid-day repast. Bands and choirs from local area middle and high schools present medleys of festive tunes that always bring back happy holiday memories from years gone by.
Something new this year will be “Stories for The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” presented during dinner service in the Crescent’s 1886 Steakhouse. Professional actors will festively portray seasonal stories -old and new- at 7:30pm for steakhouse guests each of the evenings of Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday during “Christmas at The Crescent” week.
For those who long to return to the 19th century and the days of Charles Dickens, the Holiday Readers Theater Troupe will present a rousing adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” following a delicious four-course Dickensian-themed feast. This dinner theater production is a Tuesday night affair and is held in the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom. Reservations are recommended since seating is limited. Dinner is served at 6 p.m. followed by the performance at 8. Some seating will be made available this year for performance-only patrons at a special admission price.
Thursday night will utilize that same hotel venue but this time it will be filled with the polished holiday musical stylings of The Ozarks Chorale. A dinnertime concert entitled “Sounds of the Season” is planned at 6:30 p.m. during dinner and wine service in the Crystal Ballroom. Reservations are not required.
For those who simply long to share a laugh or a happy tear with friends and family while watching classic holiday motion pictures, Dr. Baker’s Bistro and Sky bar is where guests will want to congregate on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 6:00p.m.. Each of these evenings this popular lounge and eatery transforms itself into a miniplex for enjoying Christmas cinematic classics. As a holiday gift to Dr. Baker’s patrons, there is no admission for this nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Other events that have been included in this year’s weeklong menu of activities are Thursday’s “Silver Tea”, a fund-raiser to benefit Eureka Springs School of the Arts; Friday’s “Chef Of The Day: Building a Sunday Brunch”; and Friday evening’s performance of Intrigue Theater in the hotel’s satellite 1901 Gavioli Chapel at 8pm.