CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Thanksgiving is still two weeks away, but Christmas is already in full swing in east Charlotte.
It’s not often you can find Santa, jewelry, gifts, wine, and more all in one spot. The Southern Christmas Show has been a big national draw for 56 years. Mixed in the crowd, is a whole spectrum of casual shoppers to the die-hards.
“They come to take pictures. I come to swipe my card,” said Paula Cook, laughing with her friends.
With over 11 football fields of shopping, the Southern Christmas Show attracts people from all over the country. Some make this extravaganza an annual tradition.
“We’ve heard from folks today that this was their 49th year, their 45th year,” said Jennifer Smetana, Southern Christmas Show manager.
Each year, the team comes up with a new theme to deck the halls. This time, it was a nautical theme called “Nauti or nice.”
“This was fun! We did a twist on it and took folks to the rocky shores of Maine, so they get to see the lobster traps and the buoy trees,” Smetana said.
Crews start building the show from three different locations and construct it at the Park and Expo Conference Center where assembly takes about a week and a half. Then, 400 vendors move in.
“I mean, if you can’t tell I went a little crazy,” said shopper Sarah Ivey as she showed off her shopping bags.
Yes, there’s plenty to buy.
“Oh, our infinity rings!” said Michelle Delaney as she and her friends showed off their matching rings.
It seems, however, that the Southern Christmas Show is really about spending quality time together.
“We have been friends for years and years and years and years,” said Kenzie Thomas. “This is the first time we’ve ever gotten to come to the Christmas show together, so we wanted it to be a special thing for the two of us.”
“It’s not our one time out of the year,” said Cook, “but it is our one time that we know we’re going to get together.”