Santa Claus came to town Friday night, Nov. 13, as Tweetsie Christmas opened at Blowing Rock’s iconic Tweetsie Railroad amusement park.
Kids of all ages — young, old and older — were on hand for the opening of Tweetsie’s holiday entertainment event.
“Like every year,” owner Cathy Robbins said on Nov. 16, “almost everything is outdoors and where things are indoors, we open the double doors wide to let plenty of fresh air to circulate.”
The coronavirus pandemic hit the amusement particularly hard, limiting Tweetsie to a very short run during the summer months this year.
“Foremost in our minds are the safety and wellbeing of our guests,” Robbins said, “and we are trying to go above and beyond the state-mandated restrictions. Before we opened, we sent a 60-plus page plan to Health and Human Services, outlining our plan for opening Tweetise Christmas.”
Robbins added that while Tweetsie Christmas is special every year, this year it has even greater significance for the “Wild West” amusement park’s guests.
“This has been a difficult year for just about everyone,” said Robbins, “in so many different ways but especially because of the pandemic. We can all use a little joy in our lives and that is what Tweetsie Christmas aims to bring to those who visit us.”
Friday also marked the passing of Spencer Robbins, 93, one of the amusement park’s founders.
With his brothers, Grover Robbins Jr. and Harry Robbins, Spencer Robbins had a hand in other tourism and real estate development projects around the region. His work and vision was critical to the Hound Ears and Elk River clubs, two of the premier golf courses and real estate developments in the North Carolina mountain region.
He and his brothers were also involved in the Land of Oz on Beech Mountain and executed an operational turnaround of the Rebel Railroad attraction at Pigeon Forge. Two owners later, it has since become the popular Dollywood. The Robbins family also founded and operated The Blowing Rock attraction. Grover Robbins Jr. died in 1970 and Harry Robbins passed away in 2007.
The Robbins legacy lives on with Tweetsie Christmas. The bright, multi-colored holiday lights, classic amusement rides for the kids and of course the open air train rides are sure to bring big smiles and stir the imaginations of all who pass through the park’s gates this year.