Celebration time: Holiday events around WNC

Photo courtesy of the Grove Arcade

Looking to deck the halls, sing a carol, give a gift, take a stroll, see a play, make a craft or pass a wish list on to a man in a red suit? Here’s where to do all of those things. For more ideas, visit the Community Calendar and mountainx.com.

• The Asheville Holiday Parade rolls through downtown on Saturday, Nov. 22. This year’s theme, “Home for the Holidays,” will be represented by a number of floats. “American Idol” winner Caleb Johnson serves as grand marshal. Johnson will also sign autographs and meet fans from 2-3 p.m. at Ingles JingleFest (held in the U.S. Cellular Center from noon-5 p.m.). JingleFest offers bounce houses, rides, performances and other entertainment for kids, along with lessons from Asheville Aerial Arts, photos with Santa, a craft-making station and a craft fair with work by local artists. ashevilledowntown.org

• The UNC Asheville Singers perform a holiday concert at Lipinsky Auditorium on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 5 p.m. $5/free for students. unca.edu

Xpress file photo
Asheville Holiday Parade. Xpress file photo

• Get a head start on holiday shopping at the ’Tis the Season Holiday Fair. More than 100 vendors from across the Southeast showcase pottery, woodwork, fiber, jewelry, glass art, leather work, original acrylics, watercolors, giclée, paintings and prints, up-cycled clothing, handcrafted knives, game calls, soaps, lotions, candles and more. The fair also boasts Christmas trees, local wines and gourmet foods. Held at the WNC Ag Center, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21 and 22, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 23, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $4 adults/free for children younger than 12 (or bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Eblen Charities’ St. Nicholas Project on Friday for free admission). wncholidayfair.net

• Need a dose of holiday spirit? Flat Rock Playhouse stages the classic Charles Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol, from Thursday, Nov. 20, through Sunday, Dec. 21. Travel through time with Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. “The industrial setting of 19th-century England gives way to a story filled with hope and joy with original songs and amazing puppetry,” says a press release. Peter Thomasson and Willie Repoley star. Wednesdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m.; matinees on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. $40 general/$25 students/$10 children. flatrockplayhouse.org

UNC Asheville art department ceramic sale. Photo courtesy of UNCA
UNC Asheville art department ceramic sale. Photo courtesy of UNCA

• There’s a lot more to holiday lights than simply flipping a switch. The Grove Arcade holds its Deck the Halls Lighting Celebration on Friday, Nov. 21, 5-8 p.m., turning the downtown restaurant and shopping complex into Winter Wonderland 2014. The evening also includes carols sung by the Asheville Symphony Chorus. For a $1 donation to MANNA FoodBank’s backpack program, children can make an ornament with help from Mountain Made artists. A delicious neighborhood of entries from the Omni Grove Park Inn’s annual gingerbread house competition will be on view, and Santa will make an appearance for photos. Winter Wonderland runs through Sunday, Jan. 4, with additional appearances by Santa on Nov. 29 and 30 and Dec. 7, 14 and 21, 1-5 p.m. grovearcade.com

• The Riceville Holiday Market, held at the Riceville Community Center, showcases works by local artists and crafters. Saturday, Nov. 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free.

• Art lovers and bargain hunters meet at the annual Holiday Ceramic and Art Sale, held by UNC Asheville’s department of art. “A wide variety of functional and decorative pottery, drawings, prints, photography, glass and sculpture crafted by UNC Asheville students will be on sale with prices starting at $5,” says a press release. A portion of the proceeds benefits the art department. Held at the S. Tucker Cooke Gallery, on the ground floor of Owen Hall, the sale runs Friday, Nov. 21, 4-7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 22, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. art.unca.edu

• Get in a pre-Thanksgiving run at Brevard College’s Turkey Trot on Saturday, Nov. 22. The 5K race benefits Transylvania County’s Sharing House. The run begins at 11 a.m. Register online in advance, or on race day starting at 9 a.m. brevard.edu

• 3-D printing is not just a technology of the future — it’s here and now and being used in lots of interesting ways. Here’s one: submit an original design to Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity’s “Habitat for the Holidays: 3-D Printed Ornament Contest.” Submissions are accepted through Monday, Nov. 24. “The winning design will be printed in multiples and sold to the public at the Habitat ReStore, and the designer will win a $100 gift card to the store as well as a free 3-D print of their ornament,” says a press release. habitatornamentcontest.com

• The North Carolina Arboretum puts a cold-weather spin on its gardens, turning the outdoor space into a winter wonderland. “The Arboretum has collaborated with Jerry Stripling, former designer and manager of holiday decorations, special projects and events for Walt Disney World, to create a truly magical experience,” says a press release. Winter Lights opens Saturday, Nov. 22, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 4, at 6-10 p.m. $14-$18. ncarboretum.org

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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