Western Carolina University
Iceless ice skating and a fireworks show headline the activities for the 30th annual Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries festival, which is always the first two Fridays and Saturdays in December in downtown Dillsboro.
The festival opens with Western Carolina University Night on Friday, Dec. 6, from 5 to 9 p.m., during which an iceless ice skating rink sponsored by WCU’s A.K. Hinds University Center will be open to all festival-goers. Admission is free and skates will be provided. The rink will be located in front of Dogwood Wellness and may be accessed via the footbridge behind the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s depot. The rink will be available only on Dec. 6.
The WCU Holiday Dancers will kick off the event at 5:30 p.m. with a performance down Front Street. The dancers are led by Karyn Tomczak, a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette and director of WCU’s dance program.
Then, several WCU guests of honor have been invited to experience the first horse-drawn carriage ride of the evening at 5:35 p.m. They include Sam Miller, vice chancellor for student affairs; Carol Burton, associate provost for undergraduate studies; Jeff Hughes, director of the University Center; Ryan Hermance, president of the Student Government Association; and WCU Homecoming king and queen Brandon Truitt and Mary Hannah Hughes.
In addition to a variety of musicians and singers who will provide entertainment in individual shops throughout the town every night of the festival, entertainment for WCU Night will include:
•Voices in the Laurel at 6 p.m. – A nonprofit youth choir in Western North Carolina that combines classic choral instruction with an extensive assortment of music will be caroling at Dillsboro businesses on Front Street. The goal of the choir is to provide young people quality choral education in fun and innovative ways.
•Sing-A-Long with Susan Belcher at 6:30 p.m. at the Front Street Courtyard – Cullowhee Valley elementary students, under the direction of music teacher Katee Johnson, will join Belcher, an accomplished opera performer and wife of WCU Chancellor David Belcher, singing favorite holiday tunes.
•Broadway Cat Singers at 7 p.m. at the Front Street Courtyard – The WCU Broadway Cat Singers will perform Christmas songs in a classical musical theater style.
•WCU Horn Choir at 7:30 p.m. at the Front Street Courtyard – The WCU Horn Choir is a student French horn group.
•The Trantham Family Band at 8 p.m. in the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad depot – The Trantham Family has been prominent in the music scene of the Western North Carolina mountains for three generations. In addition to playing music for all ages, the musicians teach audiences about Appalachian culture.
•WCU Inspirational Choir at 8:30 p.m. in the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad depot – The Inspirational Choir promotes African-American culture and diversity through song.
Additional free activities on WCU Night include paint-your-own ornaments at Claymates while supplies last and face painting provided by Macon Faces at K.J.’s Cross Stitch Store and Emporium from 6 to 8 p.m.
WCU Night at the Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries is an activity of the Dillsboro/WCU Partnership, which was formed at the request of Dillsboro leaders in 2009 and matches the expertise of WCU faculty, staff and students with Dillsboro’s challenges and opportunities.
For more information about Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries, go online to visitdillsboro.org or www.facebook.com/DillsboroLuminaries.