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11th Annual Carolina Inn Twelve Days of Christmas Celebration

10-Ton Sand Sculpture, Breakfasts with Santa and Luncheon Lectures Highlight Two Dozen Special Events from Nov. 30-Jan. 4

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (November 22, 2008) - A 10-ton sand sculpture depicting the first verse of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" carol, two live turtle doves, a commissioned "On the First Day" pear-shaped mosaic featuring thousands of handcut glass pieces and luncheon events featuring the likes of the voice of the Tar Heels Woody Durham, authors Cecilia Budd Grimes and Shelly Richardson and PlayMakers scene designer McKay Coble are among the highlights of The Carolina Inn's 11th annual celebration of the holidays taking place from Nov. 30, 2008 -Jan. 4, 2009.

The five-week schedule features more than two dozen special events and features a free open house on Sunday, Dec. 6 from Noon to 5 pm. There will be refreshments, live bell ringers and self-guided tours of the Inn's Twelve Days of Christmas decorative vignettes, which will be more elaborate and imaginative than ever, and a meet-and-greet with this year's commissioned artist Jeannette Brossart and a performance by 5th grade students from Frank Porter Graham's Arts in Action program. The decorations will be on display through Jan. 4 with daily viewings from 8 am to 10 pm.

Also on display throughout the holidays are dolls and toys from every decade of the 20th century and even some from the 19th century, plus all of the entries in the sixth annual Gingerbread House contest from Dec. 13-21 with winners announced on Dec. 20.

Online Information and Reservations

Complete information about all of the Twelve Days of Christmas events at The Carolina Inn including dates, times and cost, if any, is online at

Reservations are required for many of the events and may be made online or by calling 919-918-2711.

Sand Sculpture

World-renowned sand sculptors Damian Hoffman, Ed Moore and Alan Mutsumoto will create a unique and creative tribute to the first verse of "The 12 Days of Christmas." Beginning Wednesday morning, Dec. 3, they will start transforming 10 tons of sand on the patio of the Carolina Inn into a giant sculpture of true performance art that pays tribute to the "partridge in a pear tree." Visitors to the Inn may watch the talented trio at work and then marvel at the completed sculpture, which will remain on display through Jan. 4.

"On the First Day"

This year's commissioned masterpiece was created by Brossart, a self-taught artist and UNC alum from Durham. "On the First Day" was formed with scraps of polystyrene foam fused together and carved into the pear shape. Custom cement mixes and fiberglass mesh create a thin but durable shell on which the thousands of handcut glass mosaic pieces are attached. The mosaic design reflects the gift of the partridge in a pear tree, with the letters formed with 24 karat gold leaf glass tesserae.

Breakfast with Santa

Children 12 and under, along with their parents, are invited to enjoy a hearty Carolina Inn buffet breakfast with Santa on Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21. $20 for adults, $15 for children 3-12 and free for children under 3. Reservations are required.

Two Community Fundraisers

During the season for giving, The Carolina Inn joins the spirit with two unique events.

On Dec. 2, the Small Miracles, Big Laughs second annual event features a night of comedy by DSI Comedy Theater and a silent auction to benefit nine local non-profit organizations, plus a sampling of the Inn's fine food and wines. $30 in advance, $35 at the door, or $250 for a table of 10, and reservations are required.

On Jan. 3, 25 percent of the gross receipts of the New Orleans Style Twelfth Night Banquet will be donated to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund in a tribute to the unwavering spirit of the Crescent City. $75 per person and reservations are required.

Concerts, Dances, Lectures, Luncheons and Dinners

Other special events on the Twelve Days of Christmas celebration schedule include:

  • Afternoon Tea, Nov. 30-Jan. 4 except Mondays and Christmas Day.
  • An Afternoon with "The Little Prince," Dec. 6. Lunch and interactive presentation prior to the PlayMakers event.
  • "Looking Deeply into Tea," Dec. 6. Author Shelly Richardson presents her book containing meditations centered around the lives of tea workers in India and Sri Lanka while enjoying award-winning teas, savory tea sandwiches and savory sweets.
  • Holiday Storytelling, Dec. 7 and 14. Claire Vera Ramsey brings the magic of her favorite holiday to life in her tales of lightly falling snow, gifts, family and Christmas.
  • A History of Costume Jewelry, Dec. 9. Linda Browner leads a lecture and luncheon.
  • Swing Dance Lessons, Dec. 9.
  • Real Men Wear Kilts - Scottish Highland Dinner, Dec. 10.
  • "What It Means to be a Southern Grandmother," Dec. 12. Etiquette professional Cecilia Budd Grimes returns to the Inn to introduce her newest book that involves a fun romp through grandmotherly things from A to Z
  • A free violin concert by students of the Suzuki Academy of North Carolina, Dec. 14. The students, ages 5-10, will perform holiday classics.
  • Flappers to Fridays on the Front Porch, Dec. 15. Lunch and walking tour as the Inn's historian Ken Zogry presents a colorful pictorial history of The Carolina Inn.
  • Lords A'Leaping Luncheon, a perennial favorite, Dec. 16. Woody Durham, the voice of the Tar Heels, will preview the college basketball season.
  • Nine Ladies Tapping, Dec. 17. A performance for children and adults by Footnotes Tap Ensemble.
  • Design with PlayMakers, Dec. 18. PlayMakers scene desiner McKay Coble provides a peak behind the scenes of the theatre world during a lecture and luncheon.
  • Jingle Bell Rock, Dec. 20. The Oxford Ringers open this children's holiday party featuring Christmas karaoke with Mrs. Claus.
  • If Walls Could Talk: History of the Famous Zuber Wallpaper, Dec. 22. Lunch with the Inn's historian Ken Zogry who talks about the historical significance of the French wallpaper "Scenes of North America."
  • Holiday cookie decorating for children, Dec. 22 and 26.
  • Ornament Making, Dec. 23.
  • Nutcracker Tea with Triangle Youth Ballet, Dec. 27.
  • Children's Etiquette Luncheon, Dec. 29. Protocol professional Cecilia Budd Grimes will walk kids through the do's and don'ts of table etiquette as they eat their way through a five-course lunch.

About The Carolina Inn
Recognized as one of America's "cultural resources worthy of preservation," The Carolina Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places with elite status as a AAA Four Diamond Award Hotel and Mobil Four Star Award-Winning Dining at the Carolina Crossroads Restaurant. From the day it opened in 1924, the 184-room Inn has played an important role in the life of the University of North Carolina and the Chapel Hill community. And it has long been one of the most popular sites in North Carolina for special events, weddings, business meetings, and academic conferences with over 13,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. In addition to having a rich cultural history, The Carolina Inn is architecturally significant, blending elements of antebellum Southern plantation houses with Georgian and neoclassical features often found in the Northeast. The original front of the building was modeled after the Potomac River front of Mt. Vernon. The Carolina Inn is one of more than 30 independent, upscale and luxury hotels, resorts and golf clubs in the United States managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts, the fourth largest independent hospitality management company in the country.