Downtown Asheville Residential Neighbors

On a freezing Saturday morning, the Callihan family headed downtown for a visit with Santa. From left, Grace, Rob, Anne and Elen.

In December, Pritchard Park becomes Santa’s downtown headquarters, open to all who want to visit the jolly old man every Saturday morning. His visits, from 9:30 to 11 a.m., are sponsored by Downtown Asheville Residential Neighbors.

DARN President Susan Griffin says, “Santa’s visits are our gift to the downtown community. We hope they bring holiday cheer to everyone who visits the neighborhood.”

DARN was organized three years ago when eight couples decided to start a residents’ association to keep people living downtown informed about government activities that affect them. Also, because residents live in condominiums and apartments, rather than traditional neighborhoods, another important mission for the organization is to allow urban neighbors to get to know each other at social events. DARN keeps its members informed of upcoming events through regular e-mail bulletins and a members-only quarterly newsletter, which includes more in-depth issues, personalities and projects taking place in downtown Asheville.

Through its membership fees and fund-raisers, DARN has sponsored or contributed to Homeward Bound, Santa in the Park, Arts2People’s Lexington Avenue Mural Project, Pritchard Park holiday lights in 2007 and the Pritchard Park summer entertainment project. DARN has been prominently involved in the development of the Downtown Master Plan and is a member of the Asheville Downtown Association. Info: 225-2959 or

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