AEF Raises 35K with Holiday Event at the Smoky Mountain Opry
On Sunday December 13th, Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry hosted an exclusive Holiday Benefit Show featuring American Idol’s Clark Beckham (season 14 runner-up), singer/songwriter James Rogers, and the famous free-flying Bald Eagle Challenger.
The benefit show celebrated the American Eagle Foundation’s (AEF) 30th anniversary and raised more than $38,000 to help care for and Protect America’s Eagles®.
“The show was a huge success” says AEF President Al Cecere. “We were overwhelmed by the support of all those who attended the show and all the volunteers and businesses who made the event possible.”
Beckham wooed the crowd with his instrumental abilities and his soulful and sultry voice. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Georgia,” and “Man’s World” were among the songs that Clark performed.
After asking all Veterans, Servicewomen, and Servicemen to rise for recognition and applause, local celebrity James Rogers performed his famous “Eagle Medley” showcasing three inspirational eagle songs “Save the Eagle,” “Fly Eagle Fly,” and “Up Where Eagles Fly.” At the end of the song, Cecere came on stage with Challenger the Bald Eagle and released Challenger to soar over the crowd!
After the show, VIP guests attended the “Taste of the Smokies” after-party event at 10 p.m. This event featured delicious horderves and desserts from a multitude of premier Sevier County restaurants and included bonus performances by Clark and James. VIP Guests had the opportunity to meet-and-greet and have a photo taken with Clark, James, and the Eagle Challenger. The local well-known Griffin Brothers Band provided fantastic live music throughout the duration of the event.
The Taste of the Smokies featured horderves and desserts from Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant & Farmhouse Grill, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Blue Moose Burgers & Wings, Bullfish Steak & Seafood, Chef’s Catering, Chick-Fil-A, Dunkin Donuts, Firehouse Subs, Food City, Gigi’s Cupcakes, Gondolier, Joes Crab Shack, KBS Restaurant Group, Longhorn Steakhouse, Old Mill Restaurant, Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen, Outback Steakhouse, Pottery House Café, Texas Roadhouse, TGI Fridays, and others
Before the show, Beckham stated “I’m very excited to help out with this great event. I love Christmas music, I love Pigeon Forge and I love the American Eagle Foundation. So I’m ready to give it all I’ve got.”