Markets, tours and Christmases past

Carl Sandburg’s piano, part of Christmas at Connemara

Cool Craft Holiday Market — Join 40 of the Asheville area’s finest craft artists, jewelers and potters at HandMade in America’s second Cool Craft Holiday Market. This year, the market adds food artisans to that list. HandMade partners with Blue Ridge Food Ventures to bring artisanal bites, along with jams and other treats in jars and bottles, to the festive spread. Check it out on Friday, Dec. 13, 5-8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. handmadeinamerica.org.

Songs of the Seasons — Gather around the steps of the historic Henderson County Courthouse and celebrate friends, family and December’s festivities. Songs of the Seasons, the annual holiday sing-a-long is hosted by Four Seasons Compassion for Life. The program brings together an eclectic and nondenominational mix of traditional and contemporary holiday songs to ignite spirits, round out the year and connect with our community and loved ones. Join Songs of the Seasons on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2-4 p.m. at the courthouse in downtown Hendersonville. fourseasonscfl.org.

Lake Julian Festival of Lights — Never mind that whole “Jack Frost nipping at your nose” thing. Pack the car (or van or motor coach, if you’re feeling ambitious) full of your closest friends and family, crank up the heat and the holiday tunes and cruise through this annual exhibit. Thousands of colored lights and more than 50 animated displays illuminate the night. The route circles through Lake Julian Park (406 Overlook Road Extension, Arden). The festival runs through Monday, Dec. 23. Visit nightly, 6-9 p.m. $5 cars/$10 vans/$25 motor coaches. buncombecounty.org/parks.

Flat Rock’s Holiday Market — Come sit by the fire and enjoy live music by the Jazzberries at the Flat Rock Tailgate Market’s annual holiday edition. You can also sip wines from the Burnt Shirt Winery and dig into desserts made by Marvelous Pies, among many more holiday offerings. Vendors are stocked with squashes, pumpkins and other late fall and early winter veggies, meats and poultry. Shop for seasonal jams and jellies, special honeys, cheeses and baked treats. The market is held Saturday, Dec. 14, 2-5 p.m., and is free and open to the public. flatrockonline.com.

Madison County Arts Council’s Holiday Sale — Join three stories of artists, artisans and craft makers for the Madison County Arts Council’s annual, one-day-only holiday sale. Painters, potters, jewelers and fiber artists join printers, cooks and botanical blenders to fill the former Belk department store building in downtown Marshall. While you’re there, enjoy hot mulled cider and holiday cookies. Saturday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free. madisoncountyarts.com.

LaZoom’s Holiday Tour — Embrace the holidays (and your in-laws) with a grin. LaZoom is back with its annual Special Holiday Tour. This year’s cast includes a lonesome pine tree, a traveling gingerbread man and Santa, of course. There are also special guests and offerings throughout the month. Bring a toy on Thursday, Dec. 12, and join the cast, crew and the four-piece, country-Motown band Sweet Claudette for the Toys for Tots ride. And on Sunday, Dec. 22, hop on the bus for holiday-infused surf-rock from The Krektones. Holiday tours run through Tuesday, Dec. 31. lazoomtours.com.

Christmas at Connemara — Yuletide at the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock is half song and half story, all set to humble holiday decor, poinsettias and a tree. Among the month’s events are a series of Saturday morning performances. Local musicians and storytellers recount tales and songs that recall the writer and poet. Sandburg’s own love of folk music led him to collect songs throughout his entire life, often trying his hand at performing them as part of his own literary events. Held Saturdays through Dec. 28,  10:30 a.m.-noon. Admission is free. nps.gov/carl.

Guild Artists’ Holiday Sale — More than 50 members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild will round out the year with a two-tiered holiday sale at the Folk Art Center. On Saturday, Dec. 14, shoppers can find holiday works, studio seconds and newer, experimental pieces at prices far below gallery costs. The sale runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Folk Art Center, located at mile post 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Find a list of the featured artists at southernhighlandguild.org.

Christmas at The Old Kentucky Home — This month, the place where author and native son Thomas Wolfe grew up takes a step back into the Victorian era. It’s a period predating Mrs. Wolfe’s rehab of the home into the boardinghouse immortalized in Look Homeward, Angel. Drop by on Saturday, Dec. 14, 4-7 p.m for the Victorian Candlelight Christmas, an evening that offers a glimpse into Asheville’s past and explores late 19th-century holiday traditions.

Then, on Saturday, Dec. 21, join Madison County-based storyteller and balladeer Sheila Kay Adams for Christmas on the Mountain. Listen in on humorous and sentimental tales of Christmas in WNC. Adams will also play a handful of traditional mountain folk songs. Shows are at 6 and 7:30 p.m. Both events are $10. wolfememorial.com.

Mr. Fred’s Fair — So, you thought the The Mothlight at Mr. Fred's (701 Haywood Road) was just about bands and beer, right? Turns out, it’s also a prime location for affordable fine art, which is the focus of the venue’s art and craft fair. Held Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m., “the sale will give a number of artists the opportunity to open their back catalog in a setting not often available,” according to a press release. “Because they've been charged no fee, the proceeds of each purchase will go entirely to the hands that made it.” Find work by Gus Cutty, Hannah Dansie, Christine Dougherty, Drew Findley of Subject Matter Studios, Andy Herod, Jason Krekel, Suzie Millions, Joshua Spiceland, Victor Palamino, Priya Ray, Nathanael Roney, Gabriel Shaffer, Dennis Smith, Johnny Tabletop and works from Open Hearts Art Center. themothlight.com.

— Kyle Sherard writes about the visual arts for Xpress and can be reached at kyle.sherard@gmail.com

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About Kyle Sherard
Book lover, arts reporter, passerby…..

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