There is excitement in the air this holiday season in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains with something for everyone to celebrate. So get out your calendars and come experience the magic and get in the holiday spirit! Our list covers some of the most popular family attractions, including parades, markets, festivals and light shows.
Rich and Vibrant Traditions
It’s just not the holidays without a visit to Biltmore, America’s largest home in the US. The house is at its magical best with 55 hand-decorated trees, including the 35-ft live Fraser in the Banquet Hall, and their special Candlelight Christmas Evenings. Daytime Celebration November 1 through January 5, 2020. Candlelight Christmas Evenings November 1 through January 4, 2020.
The season is quickly approaching and the smell of gingerbread is in the air. Gingerbread has been around thousands of years and there is no place better to fully experience this holiday sensory pleasure than at the Omni Grove Park Inn’s National Gingerbread Competition. What began as a small holiday event in 1992 is now one of the country’s most celebrated holiday events. November 20, 2019-January 4, 2020
Lighting Up The Holidays
“Tis the season to be with the family at the N.C. Arboretum Winter Lights. Stroll the walkways and enjoy the illuminated beauty of 500,000 bright, energy-efficient LED lights. Free crafts, interactive games, a model train exhibit and so much more! Friday, November 22, 2019 – January 4, 2020
New for 2019 is the Christmas Wonderland Light Show at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, an incredible drive-through holiday light show synchronized to your favorite Christmas music. November 15, 2019 through January 5, 2020.
To get you in the spirit, visit Forest City in Rutherford County and take a walk down Main Street, decorated for the holiday season with a million lights. Dating back to the 1930s, you can take a hayride or a carriage ride and snuggle in with a hot cup of coco. November 28, 2019 through January 1, 2020.
And while you are out this way, you won’t want to miss Santa when he climbs Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park to get in practice for the big day. December 7 & 14, 2019
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Whether you are inspired by custom or competition, the ninth annual Black Mountain Christmas tree contest at the Monte Vista Hotel brings joy to the whole community. Dec. 6, 2019 – Jan. 6, 2020 from 10 AM to 9 PM
Step back in time and visit the Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum inside the Transylvania Heritage Museum. The exhibit features dozens of vintage trees certain to bring back memories of days gone by. November 9 through December 21, 2019.
We All Love a Parade
You can find holiday parades throughout the Blue Ridge. The holiday parades are a great chance to see the community members decked out for the season and maybe even catch your first glance of the big guy himself!
* The Asheville Holiday Parade is November 23 at 11:00am. The parade route travels up Biltmore Avenue from Charlotte Street to French Broad Stree.
* The Morganton Christmas Parade is December 3 at 6pm. The parade begins at the corner of E. Meeting Street and S. Green Street.
* The Burnsville Christmas Parade is Saturday, December 7 from 3pm-5pm beginning at the Burnsville Town Square, West Main Street at Town Square.
* The Valdese Annual Christmas Parade is Saturday, December 7 at 10am. The parade begins at the corner of Church Street & Main Street. There is also an open house at the Piedmont & Western Railroad Museum.
* The Hendersonville Christmas Parade is December 7 from 10:30-11:30am. The parade travels along Main Street from Five Points to Caswell Street.
Experience Holiday Magic
Come to the beautiful, historic Biltmore Village district and be transported in time for the Old World Dickens in the Village Festival, held the first weekend in December. Stroll the brick-lined streets and be immersed in the holiday experience with carolers, musicians and people dressed in Dickensian era costumes.
Opening night for the Winter Wonderland at the Grove Arcade is November 29 and runs through December 31. Each week features free, family-friendly events with live music, gingerbread houses, ornament making workshops and magic for the entire family.
Celebrate the holidays from a by-gone period with a tour of Asheville’s oldest house – the Smith-McDowell House – for a Victorian Christmas. This year’s theme is A Visit from Saint Nicholas. The house is glimmering with vintage decorations and ornaments from the Victorian era. From November 20 through January 4.
The best way to view Morganton’s Holiday Lights is with a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown. Carriage rides are offered every Friday and Saturday from November 23 through December 28. Be sure to dress warmly!
Home for the Holidays
Get in the festive spirit with holiday experiences that feel like home. Treat the family to hot chocolate, decorations and seasonal activities and the memory of being with loved ones.
Come “Home for the Holidays” in Hendersonville. Experience small town charm with something for the entire family. Enjoy holiday skating on an iceless skating rink, hayrides on Main Street, downtown lights, caroling, and hayrides. November 1-Jaunaury 1, 2020.
You’ll find loads of holiday cheer at A Small Town Christmas in Banner Elk.
Get in the holiday mood at this authentic three-day celebration including tree lighting, caroling and holiday variety shows, a polar plunge, and the Parade of Lights. December 6-8.
Gifts For Everyone On Your List
Get your holiday gift list ready and head to North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. With the holidays right around the corner, you can find hundreds of locally made gifts from all around the region. There is no greater pleasure than shopping local in a mountain town and giving gifts that last a lifetime.
In the tradition of a community bizarre, the Big Crafty is a holiday celebration featuring handmade gifts, local food, beer and lots of music. Located at Pack Square Park on December 7 and 8.
Join over 30 Southern Highland Craft Guild members at the Holiday Makers Sale at the Folk Art Center for a marketplace of handmade gift items including ceramics, jewelry, wearable art, blown glass and more. Buy from artisans and support the local economy and the Guild’s mission to cultivate crafts. Held the first two Saturdays – December 7 and 14 from 10am-4pm.
The eleventh annual Marshall Handmade Market is held on a little island in the French Broad River. The Market features some of the best artisans and makers in the region and the resident artists open their doors for visitors. A favorite among holiday markets.
Meet local artists in their studios and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces during the Toe River Arts Studio Tour, now in its 27th year. This is one of the oldest studio tours in the country. Approximately 100 artists participate throughout Yancey and Mitchell counties representing a variety of media, such as pottery, paint, glass, metal, textiles, wood and mixed media. December 6-8, with an opening reception December 6 at the Spruce Pine Gallery from 5:30-7:30pm.
Our warmest wishes for a happy holiday season from all of us at NCBlue Ridge!