Family Turns Tragedy into Opportunity to Give Back During Speedway Christmas
When Melanie and Ed Taylor visited Speedway Christmas on Christmas Eve last year, they had no idea of the impact it would have on their lives or how big a role they would play in this year's Christmas extravaganza.
After a fire displaced them from their Concord, N.C. home just eight days earlier, the couple visited the holiday light show in search of a little Christmas spirit. As they drove through the winding light show and wandered around the Christmas Village last year, Melanie recalled how the family realized the true meaning of the holiday.
“We found ourselves on Christmas Eve with no tree or decorations and looking for something fun and uplifting for our family to do together,” she said. “We came to Speedway Christmas and found the magic of the speedway transformed into a Christmas wonderland to be very special. Seeing all the lights, the music, live nativity, roasting marshmallows and visiting Santa was the perfect way to transcend our stress from the fire and focus on simply enjoying being safe and healthy together as a family.”
They were so moved by their experience, they returned in 2012 as a vendor, in hopes of helping create the same wonderful memories for others.
Their business, Huggable Creations, allows visitors to purchase and customize a small stuffed animal to have as a keepsake. Visitors can choose from a variety of unstuffed animals, from teddy bears to penguins and dinosaurs. A large fluff machine adds the stuffing, bringing the animals to life before the visitor customizes the creation with any of an assortment of clothing options.
For those looking to spread a little holiday cheer of their own, Huggable Creations also sells a “kit” (including an unstuffed animal, stuffing and an outfit) to be donated to local children in need.
Melanie and Ed have partnered with Speedway Children’s Charities to identify area groups that serve children in need and will spend this Christmas Day delivering kits to those groups.
“We are so excited that we are able to reach out this Christmas Day to area children in need,” Melanie said. “To have recovered from our own tragedy in the past year and be part of Speedway Christmas is incredible for us and it is all the more special that we are able to share with others and brighten their Christmas and their healing process.”
Speedway Christmas, which includes more than 3 million lights on a 3.5-mile drive-through course, is open 6 to 10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 30, excluding Christmas Day. Tickets are available online or at the gate nightly during event hours for drive-up traffic. Admission is just $20 per car and includes access to the Christmas village, featuring a petting zoo, living Nativity, Festival of Trees, photos with Santa and more. Fans who bring a Coke product will receive $4 off admission. Group packages are available.
In addition, visitors can check out the Coca-Cola Family Ice Rink, located near the main tower of zMAX Dragway. The rink, sponsored by New Life 91.9 FM and operated by Extreme Ice Center, will be open daily through mid-January, excluding Christmas Day. Admission is $12, which includes skate rentals. Fans can bring a Coke product for $2 off admission. For information about group lessons or private events at the rink, call Extreme Ice Center at 704-882-1830.
For more information about events, camping or tickets, call 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. For daily updates from The Greatest Place to See The Race, connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.