NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center reopened Monday, six months after the May flood and just in time for the hotel's annual Christmas celebration, "A Country Christmas."
The sprawling complex has been closed since May 2, when the Cumberland River overflowed its banks, sending more than 12 feet of water into the hotel.
"I think people will want to come out and see the hotel, look at all the things we've accomplished in those 195 days. I think it's going to be a rallying point for the community," said Pete Weien Senior Vice President and General Manager of Gaylord Opryland.
Nearly a million people visit the famous hotel each Christmas to get a first hand look at the 2 million lights on display, as well as to see holiday shows and exhibits.
On Thursday, after the annual tree lighting ceremony, the hotel will host a concert benefiting three area Nashville charities that played a role in the area's post-flood recovery.
Country musicians and Opry members Trace Adkins and Craig Morgan are scheduled to headline the November 18 show. The show will also honor Nashville's first responders and volunteers in the days, weeks and months following the May flood.
One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Hands on Nashville, the Nashville Area American Red Cross and Second Harvest Food Bank.
Each of the three non-profit organizations where given 500 tickets to sell to the benefit show, with all of the money from ticket sales going to continue each of the organization's missions.
Tickets to the benefit concert are $50.
The famous Radio City Rockettes are returning to Nashville this holiday season. Their first performance will be held on November 19, at 2 p.m. and shows will continue through Christmas Eve at the Grand Ole Opry House.
Ticket prices for the Rockettes range from $35 to $84.
In addition to the annual traditions at the hotel, Opryland has added a few new attractions for the holiday season.
Opryland's annualICE! exhibit is scheduled to return this holiday season on November 19, with a new theme featuring Santa Claus is Comin' to Town.
Ticket prices for the ICE! exhibit are $24 for adults and $15 for children.
Opryland is also offering a new exhibit called SNOW!, which features a snow maze, snowball target practice and live reindeer. Ticket prices for the new SNOW! exhibit are $15 for adults and $10 for children.
"We've got a huge piece of equipment, that will be making somewhere between 12 and 14 inches of snow in a very large area and families can come out. They can have snow ball fights, hitting targets we have, hopefully not each other," Weien said, adding, "It's really going to be a great attraction because we just don't get that amount of snow here in Middle Tennessee."
Santa Claus is also scheduled to be available for photo sessions throughout the month.