Around Town: Dillsboro welcomes Easter with annual Hat Parade

HOLIDAY HEADWEAR: Dillsboro's annual Easter Hat Parade gets underway at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 16. Photo by Kelly Donaldson

You’ve got to tip your hat to Dillsboro.

Since 1989, the small Jackson County town has encouraged folks to don their prettiest, funniest, best-smelling, cutest and most outrageous hats and parade through downtown on the Saturday before Easter.

“A small group of Dillsboro merchants decided to celebrate Easter by putting on big Easter hats and walking around the town laughing and visiting with the town visitors,” says parade organizer Brenda Anders. “The next year, more joined in, as well as a few visitors. From there it has grown.”

The 33rd Easter Hat Parade (the event was canceled in 2020) will be Saturday, April 16. Things get underway at 10 a.m., with the parade itself slated to begin at 2 p.m. in front of Town Hall, 42 Front St.

Last year, almost 300 people registered for the parade, and Anders expects at least that many this year. But she points out that you don’t have to register to walk in the parade.

Festivities will include egg hunts on Webster Street every half hour by age group, face-painting sessions and visits with the Easter Bunny. Also, Dogwood Crafters, 90 Webster St., will host hat-making sessions.

In addition to its signature array of colorful hats, the parade will have vintage cars provided by the Old Timers Model A Club. The Easter Bunny will ride in an antique convertible car.

Ribbons and prizes will be given for hats in a variety of categories, including prettiest, largest, smallest, most unusual, most Easter-like, “poofiest” and Best in Show.

More than 500 people attend the event most years.

“People can expect to relax, see lots of interesting people and hats,” Anders says. “We have old cars, rabbits, chickens, a cat and lots of dogs.”

For more information, go to

Hopping down the bunny trail

Speaking of Easter, you can check out the following Easter egg hunts in the Asheville area:

  • Bent Creek Community Park, 125 Idlewood Drive, will host it annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 16, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Those who have participating children should drop off a dozen filled eggs to the park that morning by 9 a.m. Kids under 4 will get a two-minute head start. For more information, go to
  • The Biltmore Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt takes place Saturday-Sunday, April 16-17, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., inside the Biltmore House and in Antler Hill Village. Adults and kids can learn facts about the Biltmore Estate while searching for 25 giant decorated eggs. Cost for children 9 and younger is free with adult admission. For more information, go to

Looks at books

The Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center will host a discussion of the novel And the Crows Took Their Eyes, followed by a reading from author Vicki Lane, Thursday, April 14, 10 a.m.-noon, at the Black Mountain Library.

The free event, done in conjunction with the Buncombe County Library System, will be the first in a monthly series of five visits by regional authors. Attendees will gather for a short discussion of a book, followed by a break, then an hourlong visit with the book’s author.

The Swannanoa Valley Book Club Series includes historical fiction, poetry, short essays and historical nonfiction. This will be the sixth year for the series, but it is the first time that each discussion will be accompanied by a visit from the author.

And the Crows Took Their Eyes, which was nominated for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award, explores the perspectives of five people linked to the infamous 1863 Shelton Laurel Massacre in Madison County.

Other books spotlighted in the series will be The Last Entry by Jim Hamilton (May 19); Unraveling the Spreading Cloth of Time: Indigenous Thoughts Concerning the Universe, edited by Marijo Moore (June 16); Woodsmoke by Wayne Caldwell (July 14); and Murder at Asheville’s Battery Park Hotel: The Search for Helen Clevenger’s Killer by Anne Chesky Smith (Aug. 4)

All events will be held in the Education Room of the Black Mountain Public Library, 105 N. Dougherty St., except for Hamilton’s reading, which takes place at the Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center, 223 W. State St., Black Mountain. To register, visit

Dark City Poets Society

On Tuesday, April 19, the Dark City Poets Society will host is latest Poetry Night reading series at BAD Craft in Black Mountain. Poets of all experience levels are invited to share their work. The all-age event is free to attend. A portion of all beer sales will go toward Friends of the Black Mountain Library. The gathering is one of two monthly happenings presented by Dark City Poets Society. On the first Tuesday of every month, writers interested in receiving constructive feedback on their work can meet the group at the Black Mountain Library, 105 N. Dougherty St.

Poetry Night runs the third Tuesday of every month, 6-7:30 p.m. at BAD Craft, 128 Cherry St., Black Mountain. For more information about the DCPS, visit its Instagram page at @darkcitypoetssociety.

Just the facts

The N.C. Stage Company will present the comedy The Lifespan of a Fact starting Wednesday, April 13, and running through Sunday, May 15.

The play follows the real-life story of author John D’Agata and fact-checker Jim Fingal as they navigate the high-stakes world of publishing.

Performances will be Wednesdays-Saturdays, at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Ticket prices range $26-46.

N.C. Stage Company is at 15 Stage Lane. For more information or to buy tickets, go to

Guiding light

Mars Hill University’s Owen Theatre is getting a new sound and lighting system through donations from the Stonecutter Foundation and Dominion Energy.

The university will purchase a new soundboard, wireless microphones, spotlights and other equipment to improve the audio and visual experience of theater patrons.

In its request for funding, the university noted that Owen Theatre has never had modern lighting equipment, such as quality spotlights, which is standard for most theaters.

In a press release, Sue Fair, chair of the university’s Theatre Arts Department, states, “Not only does the MHU Theatre Arts Department and [the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre] benefit from gifts such as this, but our community at large uses Owen Theatre and will also benefit.”

For more information, visit

Call for artists

The Weaverville Business Association and Art in Autumn Committee are seeking artist exhibitor applications for the 15th annual Art in Autumn outdoor arts and crafts festival, taking place on Main Street in Weaverville, Saturday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Juried artists will be eligible to receive awards of $1,000 for best of show, $500 for second place and $250 for third, as well as four $50 honorable mentions. This year’s judge is Whitney Richardson, associate curator for the Asheville Art Museum.

Applications are being accepted via through Wednesday, June 15. 


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Justin McGuire
Justin McGuire is a UNC Chapel Hill graduate with more than 30 years of experience as a writer and editor. His work has appeared in The Sporting News, the (Rock Hill, SC) Herald and various other publications. Follow me @jmcguireMLB

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.