Holiday roundup

It’s that time of year. Now that Thanksgiving has arrived, so have holiday events — lots of them. If you have an event you want listed, send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



• Franklin’s Christmas Parade. Nov. 28. The town of Franklin welcomes the holiday season with the parade through downtown with Santa and Mrs. Claus and much more. 3 p.m. 524.1598.

• Canton Christmas Parade. Dec. 2 in downtown Canton. 648.2363.  

• Highlands Olde Mountain Christmas Parade in downtown Highlands will be Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. 526.2112.

• 36th Annual Bryson City Christmas Parade. Dec. 4. Billed as the “biggest little” Christmas parade in the Smokies, complete with clowns, an old time oompah band, floats, marching bands, Santa and more. 2 p.m. 800.867.9246.  

• Sylva Christmas Parade. Dec. 4. The Downtown Sylva Association puts together a parade complete with floats representing a broad spectrum of the community pictures with Santa Claus and more. This year’s theme is “The Wonder of Christmas Morning.” 3 p.m. on Main Street. 586.1577.

• Maggie Valley Christmas Parade. Dec. 4. Parade begins at 6 p.m. on Highway 19 in downtown Maggie Valley. 926.0866.      

• Evening Christmas Parade in Downtown Waynesville. Dec. 6. Parade starts at 6 p.m. on Main Street and features floats, music, Santa and Mrs. Claus and more.

• Cherokee Christmas Parade. Dec. 11. A theme-based parade featuring floats, music, Santa Claus and more. Parade begins at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Big Bear Exxon and ends at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds. 800.438.1601.

• Cashiers Christmas Parade. Dec. 11. Annual parade through downtown Cashiers. 1 p.m. 743.7710.


Holiday Activities

• Holiday Open House in downtown Waynesville. Nov. 21. A Holiday Tradition on Main Street. Enjoy the sights, scents and sounds as the holiday season begins in festively decorated shops and galleries. 12 to 9 p.m. 456.3517.

• Festival of Lights in Cherokee. Nov. 22-Jan. 11. View the Holiday Lights and visit in Cherokee’s many specialty shops. 866.433.6700.

• Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in Franklin. Nov. 26. Tree lighting on the Square in Downtown Franklin with free cider, cookies and music at 7 p.m. 524.2516.

• Christmas Time in the Mountains. Nov. 26-Dec. 23. A shopping event at the Inn at Half Mile Farm in Highlands. 526.8170.    

• Hard Candy Christmas at Western Carolina University. Nov. 26, 27. An arts and crafts show in the WCU Ramsey Center. Admission is $3 for adults. 524.3405.

• Annual Mistletoe Magic in Macon County. Nov. 26, 27. Event featuring quality artisans, strolling carolers, Santa Claus and elves, Christmas trees for sale, horse drawn wagon rides and more. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center.

• The Greater Cashiers Area Merchants Association will sponsor a Meet Santa Claus event at the Village Green on Nov. 27. Cider and cookies will be available. Bring a camera to take photos with Santa. 1 to 4 p.m. 743.1630 or 

• Town Tree Lighting in downtown Highlands. Nov. 27. Gather together to light the Highlands Christmas tree at 6:30 p.m. 866.526.5841.

• The public is invited to cast their votes for the Bascom gingerbread House contest from Nov. 30-Dec. 10, on Tuesdays – Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The winners will be announced at 10 a.m. Dec. 11. 526.4949 or visit

• Christmas at Lambuth Inn at Lake Junaluska. Nov. 30 – Dec. 3. A special seasonal program for adult groups or individuals who wish to experience a meaningful preparation for celebrating the Christ in Christmas.

• Window Wonderland in Downtown Franklin. Dec. 3-10. A holiday celebration on town hill in Franklin that features “living” window displays of the season, carolers, and other sounds of the holidays, carriage rides, refreshments and more from 5 to 8 p.m. 524.2516.

• Festival of Lights and Luminaries in Dillsboro. Dec. 3, 4 and 10,11. The town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles and song with 2500 luminaries that light the way to shops and studios. Shopkeepers will provide live music and serve holiday treats and children can visit with Santa at Town Hall. 800.962.1911.

• Live Nativity at Saunooke Village in Cherokee. Dec. 4. Nativity scenes with live camels and other animals, music and more. Presented by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia at 6 p.m. 631.4587.

• Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville will celebrate an Old Fashion Appalachian Christmas on Dec. 11. Enjoy traditional mountain dulcimer music and song, mountain stories, homemade treats and more. 7 to 8:30 p.m. 456.6000.

• A Night Before Christmas in downtown Waynesville. Dec. 11. A holiday tradition of caroling, live music, a live Nativity, Santa, old-fashioned wagon rides, storytelling, poetry and more. Main Street is lined with hundreds of luminaries and shops and restaurants open until 9 p.m.

• Spirit of Christmas in Bryson City. Dec. 11. Luminaries line historic Everett Street, the signature hemlock is lit with memorial lights, carolers and musical artists abound, photos with Santa and a living nativity. 800.867.9246.

• Cherokee Native Christmas at River Bend in downtown Cherokee. Dec. 11. The Cherokee Chamber of Commerce Annual event features Native arts and crafts, singing, clogging, storytelling and a visit from Santa with gifts for the kids. 866.433.6700.

• City Lights bookstore in Sylva will host music and a little comedy from duo Slim Christmas and Yuletide Carol on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. in the store’s Regional Room. 586.9499.

• Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Polar Express Train Ride. Through Dec. 23. The popular children’s book “The Polar Express” comes to life on a journey to the North Pole. Read along with the magical story and meet Santa. Enjoy holiday caroling, hot cocoa and a special treat. Trains depart from the Train Depot in Bryson City. For schedule and rates call 800.872.4681.

Mountain grown Fraser fir Christmas trees

There’s nothing quite like a real Fraser fir Christmas tree.

In recent years, the value and quality of locally produced food has re-inspired many Western North Carolina citizens to purchase locally grown food. After all, products produced in Western North Carolina offer high quality, the chance to meet the producer and the opportunity to support the local economy. Mountain-grown Christmas trees are no exception.

Fraser firs are native throughout the mountains of eastern United States and Canada and are widely produced in Western North Carolina.

In 2009, consumers in the U.S. purchased 28.2 million farm-grown Christmas trees, spending an average of $41 that went back into the local economy. The choose-and-cut segment of the Christmas tree industry in particular has grown dramatically in recent years.

With children in tow, parents enjoy the opportunity to visit a farm where they can search for that perfect tree while spending time creating new memories with their family. In doing so, individuals and family’s support local businesses. Christmas tree growers with choose-and-cut operations work hard but are devoted to provide a fun family experience for everyone to enjoy.  In 2009, the retail value of Christmas trees sold in the U.S. was $1.15 billion. That money is going to Christmas tree farmers instead of supporting an industry that brings you petroleum chemicals and plastic trees where it is estimated that more than 85 percent are imported from China.

Fraser fir trees are truly a green product. With more than 1,500 Christmas tree farms here in North Carolina, it is easy to find a farm or retail lot that is close by. Take time this holiday season to support a local farmer.


Haywood County

Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm

143 Boyd Farm Rd., Waynesville • 828.926.8888 or 828.506.3513


Continued Traditions Farm

1198 Old Clyde Rd., Clyde • 828.734.9111


Dutch Cove Christmas Tree Farm

280 Setzer Dr., Canton • 828.648.9133


Nesbitt Christmas Tree Farm

333 Sunset Ridge Rd., Clyde • 828.456.9914


Raulerson Christmas Tree Farm

28 Wady Branch Rd., Canton • 828.734.9534


Smoky Mountain Christmas Tree Farm

One mile up Hemphill Rd., Waynesville


Jackson County


James & Joe Ammons

2233 Wolf Mountain Rd., Tuckasegee

828.293.5953, 828.508.6681


Chuck Denkert

Cane Creek Rd. (look for sign D’s Trees, 1½ miles up on the right), Cullowhee



Adrain Fowler

Breedlove Rd., Cashiers

828.399.0326, 828.342.0067


Ron Fowler

Breedlove Rd. (2nd farm on the left), Cashiers

828.743.1737, 828.508.8183


George Frady

Charlies Creek Rd. (go 8.2 miles on Hwy 281, then left on Charles Creek Rd (7.6 miles) Look for signs. Tuckaseegee

828.450.9351, 828.293.3449


Larry Moss

822 Norton Rd., Cashiers

828.226.2397, 828.743.2215, 828.226.2340


Tom Sawyer

240 Chimney Pond Road, Glenville

800.662.7008, 828.743.5456


John & Joni Wavra

971 Lloyd Hooper Rd., Cullowhee



Paul White

180 Cold Water Creek Lane, Cullowhee



Swain County


Roy Burnette

Brush Creek Rd., Bryson City

828.488.4196 (ask for Arnold)


Ted Craig

160 Fraser Fir Dr., Bryson City

828.488.3954, 828.736.4356


Macon County


J & J Tree Farm  

28 Guffie Rd., Franklin • 828.524.3464


Peak Experience Christmas Trees

2820 Dillard Rd., Highlands

828.526.0229, 828.526.5405.

Lighting the way Dillsboro celebrates illuminating festival in December

Every year for more than a quarter century, the village of Dillsboro transforms itself into a quintessential Christmas scene, warm with the glow of luminaries and white lights.

This year, the festival, is slated for Dec. 4-5 and Dec. 11-12.

The four-night Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries begins each evening at dusk, when merchant “elves” illuminate the streets with 2,500 shining luminaries and delicate, white lights adorning centuries-old buildings.

Carolers and musicians fill the air with lively, Christmas tunes and shopkeepers stay open late, treating revelers to hot cider, cocoa and home-baked goods.

In years past, barbershop quartets, and youngsters decked out in Madrigal costumes, have wandered about town, singing traditional songs.

“If you’re having trouble getting into the holiday spirit, this festival will do wonders,” said Julie Spiro of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. “We’re often told that visiting the luminaries festival is like stepping into a Christmas painting.”

“Dillsboro is a wonderful town for strolling, shopping and dining, especially during the holidays. With dozens of unique shops and craft studios, we offer something for everyone. Our warm-hearted shopkeepers are ready to welcome visitors, and our traditional luminary festival is a delightful return to Christmases past that will fill you with holiday cheer,” says Dawn Hummel, vice president of the merchants association.

Susan Leveille, owner of the Oaks Gallery in Dillsboro, says the festival was a little different 26 years ago when a handful of merchants initiated what would become an annual tradition.

There were no electric white lights then, just the flicker of luminaries “lighting the way for the Christ child,” Leveille said.

“People were asked to turn their headlights off and leave just parking lights on,” said Leveille. “It was just beautiful.”

One of the merchants suggested starting the festival in Dillsboro to express gratitude to the community and celebrate the holiday with neighbors and friends.

Leveille has created her own tradition of welcoming visitors to her gallery with some of her favorite Christmas smells, including fresh greenery and hot apple cider.

Janet Chinners, co-chair of the luminaries festival committee and owner of Country Traditions, said she has been preparing for this year’s festival for a month now.

The committee has ordered thousands of special candles that burn for at least four hours each.

Chinners said more than a thousand people show up every year to take a step back in time with the Dillsboro festival.

Dawn Hummel, vice president of Dillsboro’s Merchant’s Association, said other towns in Western North Carolina may have started similar traditions of their own, but Dillsboro’s festival is “extra special.”

“It’s magical, it’s traditional, it’s just what I envision Christmas should be,” said Hummel.

For more information about the 2009 Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries Festival contact David Gates 828.586.3891 or Janet Chinners 828.586.1600. Visit the town Web site at

Deck the halls: Decorators’ diverse demands drive the ornament market

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Working her way past the miniature Christmas village homes and a star topped tree, Vickie Horne stood fingering ornaments on the wall of Nancy Tut’s Christmas Shop in Dillsboro with an index card full of names in her hand.

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