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Tuesday, 28 November 2017 21:47

Christmas in Appalachia

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As the temperatures drop in Western North Carolina, the fun only heats up. The holiday season here is filled with events and activities aimed to celebrate the best way we know how — with friends, family and visitors alike.

Families can partake in wagon rides, iceless skating, craft sales and art demonstrations, all the while enjoying authentic mountain music, clogging and parades through several downtowns. These are just some of the innumerable activities to be had. Within every date, time and place found amid this section, the communities around the region once again opens their arms to share in the winter festivities.

It’s a winter wonderland out there. It’s yours for the taking, so reach out and enjoy all Southern Appalachia has to offer.


• The John C. Campbell Folk School Craft Shop showcases finely made gifts from over 300 talented craftspeople. The Craft Shop offers 15 percent off all items through Dec. 23.

The Folk School will offer an inviting lineup of free seasonal events in the Keith House Community Room. On Dec. 6 at 7 p.m., Bob Grove will delight the audience with his dramatic reading of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Decked in period costume, Bob will adopt all characters’ voices, lending an authentic tone to his delivery. At 8 p.m. that night, the colorful Brasstown Morris Dancers will take the stage for a lively holiday dance performance.

To round out this festive week, the Brasstown Ringers community handbell group will present its much-loved holiday concert. Set for Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., the ensemble’s performance will include classic Christmas favorites and brand-new selections. Donations are welcome.

The Folk School’s Holiday Kids’ Party always attracts a spirited group of young revelers. Planned for Dec. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m., this popular event includes holiday music and dancing, children’s activities, and a special visit from Santa Claus. At 8 p.m. that evening, local residents are invited to gather for the Holiday Contra & Square Dance Party. Singles and couples are welcome, including beginners. This free event features talented local musicians and callers, and dancers are invited to bring holiday desserts to share.

Free admission. 800.FOLK.SCH.

Bryson City

• A stage production of “A Christmas Story” will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 8-9, 15-16 and 18, and 3 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17 at the Smoky Mountain Community Theatre. For ticket information, call 828.488.8227 or visit www.smctheatre.com.

• The “Polar Express” will depart on select dates throughout December from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad depot. For more information on departures or to purchase tickets, click on www.gsmr.com.

• “Letters to Santa” will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Dec. 23 at the Swain County Heritage Museum. Drop a line for Santa. Materials provided. Call the museum for Santa appearances: 800.867.9246.


• The annual “Christmas On the Green” celebration will run through New Year’s Day at The Village Green. The 13-acre park in the heart of Cashiers will feature thousands of twinkling lights. For more information visit www.villagegreencashiersnc.com.


• The Cherokee Christmas Parade will be Saturday, Dec. 16, in downtown. 828.359.6490.

• Cherokee Lights & Legends will be held Dec. 15-17 at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds. 828.359.6490.


• The Western Carolina University College of Fine and Performing Arts, the WCU School of Stage and Screen, and the WCU Bardo Arts Center presents “The Santaland Diaries” by NPR comic genius David Sedaris at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7-9 in the Bardo Arts Center Studio Theatre.

Each production includes a pre-show reception at 6:30 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres, two free drinks, and a special “parents night out” opportunity.

This outrageous holiday comedy is based on David Sedaris’ beloved humorous and autobiographical essays, The Santaland Diaries, which have been adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello. The play stars Crumpet, a rebel without a “Clause” who recounts the true-life tale of an out-of-work writer’s stint at a Macy’s Department Store, working in Santaland for the holiday season, as a reluctant, but relentlessly cheerful, elf. “Crumpet” shares his observations from one chaotic December in Santaland featuring aggressive parents and drunken Santas, to flirtatious actors, poor hygiene, and the racially charged hazards of being a “Pointer Elf.”

Tickets are $30 each and include a pre-show reception with hors d’oeuvres and two free drinks. Also available each night of the performance is our “Parents Night Out” opportunity — bring your children to the performance and drop them off with the WCU School of Art and Design’s Art Education Club for an evening of holiday themed art (marble/stamped wrapping paper, wreaths, reindeer head busts) and tasty treats. This opportunity is only $15 per student and is available for up to 40 students per evening.

For tickets and further information, visit arts.wcu.edu/santaland.


• The annual “Lights & Luminaries” will return to the streets of downtown Dec. 8-9.

Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song. Over 2,500 luminaries light your way to shops and studios. Horse and buggy rides available each night. Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa. Carolers sing and children visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Live Nativity at Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church.

Free shuttle service from Monteith Park. For more information, visit www.visitdillsboro.org.


• Overlook Theatre Company will present “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at 7 p.m. Dec. 8-9 at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts.   

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is adapted from a book with the same title written by Barbara Robinson in 1971. It tells the story of Imogene, Claude, Ralph, Leroy, Ollie, and Gladys Herdman, six delinquent children who surprise everyone when they go to church for the first time after finding out the church offers snacks. Despite many protests, the children were given roles in the Christmas play. The misfits end up telling the Christmas story in a very nonconventional way which, surprisingly, helps everyone rediscover the true meaning of Christmas.

Tickets are $12 each. To purchase tickets, visit www.greatmountainmusic.com or call 866.273.4615.

• Holiday gift making time for kids from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 16, 22-23 at The Art Room. $15 per child, which includes materials. Ages 8 and up. Preregister at 828.349.3777 or www.artroomsupplies.com.


• The Highlands Cashiers Players will present their annual free holiday program at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, at the Highlands Performing Arts Center.

For this year’s 22rd program, the theme is “Have A Holly, Jolly Christmas” as the evening will include a funny holiday quiz for the audience and several amusing holiday stories, read by HCP actors. Holiday songs interspersed with the readings will be performed by a special 12-voice ensemble from the 50-voice Mountain Voices regional chorus, directed by Beverly Barnett of Franklin.

And to top off the evening’s entertainment, hot cider along with cookies and other refreshments will be served after the performance for the audience and performers in the PAC reception room. And all of it is free of charge — it’s the Players Christmas gift to the community, co-sponsored by HPAC.



• The Western Carolina Civic Orchestra will present the seventh annual “Community Christmas Concert” on Tuesday, Dec. 12, on the steps of the Jackson County Public Library.

The Jackson County Arts Council will be serving refreshments and the Jackson County Genealogical Society and the Jackson County Historical Society will welcome visitors.

The musical celebration will begin at 6:30 p.m. with caroling on the library steps, led by Gayle and Phil Woody. The Western Carolina Civic Orchestra strings, conducted by Dr. Damon Sink, will begin the concert at 7 p.m., with a Trio Sonata by Corelli. Young flutists who study with Lori Richards, at The Music Village in Cullowhee, will play a set of carols. A new ensemble of local musicians will play some unusual carols arranged for hammered dulcimer, flutes, recorder, penny whistle, violin, viola and Bedouin drum. The members of the group are Bess Crider, Linda Metz, Suzanne Hosch and Cathy Arps.

Then the orchestra will be joined by area students who study violin and cello with Cathy Arps and Elizabeth Butler. The Western Carolina Civic Orchestra is sponsored by the Jackson County Arts Council from a Grassroots Grant, supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This program is free of charge. For more information, call 828.586.2016. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Jackson County Public Library. The Jackson County Public Library is a member of Fontana Regional Library.



• “Twelve Days of Christmas” will be Dec. 13-24 in downtown. Merchants offer specials throughout the holiday celebration.

• “A Night Before Christmas” will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16 in downtown. Main Street welcomes luminaries, holiday carolers, live music, artisan demonstrations, Santa & Mrs. Claus, and more.

• The Haywood County Chamber of Commerce “Holiday Chamber Cheer” celebration will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at Laurel Ridge Country Club. Tickets are $40 per person. Cocktails, silent auction, hors doeuvres, and more. www.haywoodchamber.com.


• “Toy Jam Seven” will a live performance by Tribe Called Praise will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Webster Baptist Church. Refreshments, fellowship, and more. Admission is a new unopened and unwrapped toy.

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