James is a lonely, orphaned boy living with his two horrible and nasty aunts in a ramshackle house on the top of a high hill in the south of England. His aunts make James do all the cleaning and never let him away from the house to meet other children or make friends. But James's luck starts to change when he meets a mysterious old man who hands him a magical gift. That gift will change his life and introduce James to some of the most unusual friends a young boy could ever have, leading to the most fantastical adventure one could only imagine! Told through the magic puppetry and eye-popping special effects, and filled with lots of laughs, this classic story, based on the work of Roald Dahl, will delight every dreamer of every age. Approximately one hour in length. 

Presented by the Overlook Theatre Company. » Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, 1028 Georgia Road; March 2 & 3, 7:00 p.m.; (828) 254-1598; greatmountainmusic.com

Tickets available here. 

Chase winter doldrums away with a night of blues music and dancing at one of Tryon Fine Arts Center’s largest fund-raisers. Top R&B artists, including Asheville rockers The Broadcast, will grace three stages. There’ll be drinks and food, too, all in the name of providing affordable arts programming throughout the Foothills. Blues Patron tickets include access to the Patron’s Lounge with heavy hors d’oeuvres and beverages. » Tryon Fine Arts Center, 34 Melrose Ave.; Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m.; $30, $80 Blues Patron; (828) 859-8322; www.tryonarts.org

Skilled on the slopes? Then this event is for you: Sugar Mountain invites skiers and snowboarders who are at an intermediate level or beyond to participate in its annual giant slalom competition; prizes will be awarded to top finishers. One hundred percent of the entry fees go to the American Cancer Society in memory of the resort’s former director of operations. » Sugar Mountain Resort, 1009 Sugar Mountain Dr.; Sunday, 9 a.m.; $15 entry fee, discounted lift tickets for participants; (800) 784-2768; www.skisugar.com

After 35 years in operation, the Community Foundation of Henderson County celebrates its ongoing efforts during this annual fund-raiser—this year aptly themed “Strong Roots. Strong Foundation. Strong Community.” Enjoy wine, ample food from area restaurants, and dancing to support the organization’s work carrying out the charitable giving wishes of individuals, families, and businesses. This past fiscal year, the organization distributed more than $3 million to local nonprofits and scholarship recipients. » Hendersonville Country Club, 1860 Hebron Rd.; Monday, 6-9 p.m.; $125; (828) 697-6224; www.cfhcforever.org

This Los Angeles-based dance company is lauded for invention and edge. Enjoy versatile and provocative performances by some of the world’s most distinctive choreographic voices, including MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abraham, Laura Gorenstein Miller, and Hofesh Shechter, to name a few. Learn more about BODYTRAFFIC and its work during pre-show discussions, both evenings, at 7 p.m. nearby at Asheville Music School (free for ticket holders). » Diana Wortham Theatre, 18 Biltmore Ave.; Wednesday & Thursday, 8 p.m.; $45, $40 students, $20 children; (828) 257-4530; www.dwtheatre.com

OpenDoors of Asheville helps transform the lives of local students challenged by poverty from the experience of “no” to the unlimited possibility of “know.” A celebration of creative collaboration, the evening offers the chance to support the organization’s efforts and bid on works by renowned area makers and artists—including featured artist Spencer Herr—during live and mobile auctions. Student artwork will also be displayed and on sale. The night’s theme reflects a coming together around a shared vision for Asheville’s underserved children. A VIP package includes a pre-party and reserved auction seating. » The Event Center at Highland Brewing, 12 Old Charlotte Hwy.; Saturday, 7 p.m., VIP reception 6 p.m.; $125, $175 VIP; (828) 239-8811 or (704) 576-3999; www.opendoorsasheville.org

For the past 19 years, local band Strictly Clean & Decent has been gathering their friends for an evening of traditional music, Caldwell County-style. This 20th year ups the ante by kicking off the anniversary night of tunes with a special local food buffet. » J.E. Broyhill Civic Center, 1913 Hickory Blvd. SE; Saturday, 7:30 p.m., 6 p.m. dinner; $11, $5.50 youth, $15 meal; (828) 726-2407; www.broyhillcenter.com

If you ask food events producer Carolina Epicurean, it’s high time restaurants south of Asheville get their due. Enter the first Hendersonville Restaurant Week, which aims to celebrate and draw more attention to the towns’ culinary scene with special prix fixe menus ranging from $10 to $15 for lunch and $20 to $35 for dinner. Dozens of eateries from downtown to Flat Rock are slated to participate. Reservations are recommended. » Multiple venues; Thursday-Saturday, times vary; $10-$35 prix fixe options; laura@hendersonvillerw.com; www.hendersonvillerw.com

Ricky Nelson Remembered is a unique multimedia entertainment event featuring the live music of Ricky Nelson's hit songs, including "Hello Mary Lou," "Travelin' Man," and "Garden Party" performed by Ricky's own twin sons Matthew & Gunnar Nelson. It also includes never before seen big screen video footage of the Nelson family with interviews from celebrities, family, and friends of Ricky Nelson. The show appeals to a wide audience and multiple generations of music lovers and celebrates Ricky Nelson's life and rise as America's original teen idol to his tragic passing in a New Year's Eve plane crash. » Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, 1028 Georgia Road; 7:30 p.m.; (828) 254-1598; greatmountainmusic.com

Tickets available here. 

Although they hail all the way from Cangzhou in the Hebei province of the People’s Republic of China, these athletes, actors, and artists have been touring the states continuously since 1978—and to great acclaim. To be sure, the breathtaking acrobatic maneuvers have earned the company praise. But the show is about much more: It combines body-bending moves with traditional dance, and features spectacular costumes and spellbinding ancient, as well as contemporary, music. » Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, Appalachian State University, 733 Rivers St.; Friday, 7 p.m.; $20, $15 local residents, $5 students/children; (800) 841-2787; www.theschaefercenter.org

This Romantic period showcase begins with Beethoven’s fiery “Leonore Overture No. 3” and ends with Serge Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. Also hear two pieces performed by violinist Itamar Zorman: Chamber Concerto for Violin & Orchestra by Jonathan Leshnoff, and guest conductor Nicholas Hersh’s postmodern Romantic arrangement of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” » Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, 87 Haywood St.; Saturday, 8 p.m.; $24-$69, $11-$43 youth; (828) 254-7046; www.ashevillesymphony.org

If the name sounds intense, it’s by design: The event is “extreme”—seven miles of mountain trail running with a 2,770-foot elevation gain. Runners summit Black Rock at 5,810 feet, and that’s just the race’s halfway point. The course weaves through spruce forests in the Plott Balsam Mountains on challenging gravel and dirt roads, with a final 650-foot summit in a third-of-a-mile single track. Proceeds from this year’s race benefit Jackson County’s Shop with a Cop program. » 2110 Fisher Creek Rd.; Saturday, 9 a.m.; $30, $25 advance; (828) 506-2802; www.ultrasignup.com

The estate’s gardens—designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted—spring to life with immense floral displays. All told, thousands and thousands of tulips burst and bloom throughout the lush property. Inside Biltmore House, find plants in special period Wardian cases, a nod to the way plants were transported during George Vanderbilt’s day. At the time, these glass and iron miniature greenhouses made it possible for specimens to be shipped, in their own microclimates, all around the globe. » Biltmore, 1 Lodge St.; daily, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.; starting at $40, $20 youth; (800) 411-3812; www.biltmore.com

Get a taste of Haywood County at this epicurean event, which sees local eateries go head to head in culinary competition—categories range from salad to seafood to dessert. In the end, attendees are the victors, winning the chance to sample speciality items created by the participating chefs. VIP ticket holders get early entry and other perks. » Laurel Ridge Country Club, 49 Cupp Ln.; Thursday, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; $45, $40 Chamber members, $60 VIP; (828) 456-3021; www.haywoodchamber.com

Years ago, David T. Clydesdale had a vision to arrange some of the greatest Easter songs ever recorded that could tell the complete story of the Resurrection. Thirty-five years later, The Day He Wore My Crown is still a best-selling collection and a magnificent Easter celebration. Audiences are sure to be moved by lyrics that take every heart on a journey from the crowds crying out, "Hosanna!" to the passion of Christ on the cross, and finally to the glory of His resurrection, all in a beautifully crafted musical that includes songs written by iconic names such as Bill and Gloria Gaither, Lari Goss, and Phil Johnson. Come and experience the majesty of the everlasting King with live drama, a full choir and these heart-changing songs that continue to speak to all generations. Staged by the Overlook Theatre Company; Musical Direction by Kathi Graham.

Presented by the Overlook Theatre Company » Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, 1028 Georgia Road; March 23 & 24, 7:00 p.m.; (828) 254-1598; greatmountainmusic.com

Tickets available here. 

For two decades, the festival has stayed true to its mission: showcasing the history of Catawba Valley alkaline-glazed stoneware and today’s artisans who continue the tradition. And it will proudly do the same in its 21st year. Browse works by more than 100 regional vendors, as well as a brand new exhibit honoring the Hilton family potters, who worked in the area from the late 1800s into early this millennium—nearly 300 years! Proceeds benefit the Catawba County Historical Association in Newton and the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove. A Friday-night preview party, the primary fund-raiser, provides an early buying opportunity. » Hickory Metro Convention Center, 1960 13th Ave. Dr. SE; Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday preview party 7-10 p.m.; $6, $2 ages three to 12, free under three, $45 preview party (includes Saturday admission, must be purchased by March 16); (828) 324-7294; www.catawbavalleypotteryfestival.org

Flat and fast is how organizers describe this road race. Winners will receive a handmade medallion from Mud Dabbers Pottery & Crafts. Proceeds benefit the Waynesville Middle School PTA and will be used to help purchase supplies and technology for the school. » Waynesville Middle School, 495 Brown Ave.; Saturday, 10 a.m.; $30, $25 advance; www.runsignup.com

The thaw is on, and that means it’s time for some crazy events to close out Appalachian Ski Mountain’s season. Partake in the Pond Skim, a crowd favorite, or the Trash Bag Downhill, Cardboard Box Derby, and other wild and wacky offerings in the snow and sun. Costumes are encouraged. » Appalachian Ski Mtn., 940 Ski Mountain Rd.; Saturday & Sunday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; free with a ski ticket; (828) 295-7828; www.appskimtn.com

There’s a climb involved, as the name implies—1,000 feet in elevation, to be exact. Finish at the top for a 5K race or back at the start to make it a 10K. This spring marks the last chance to run the unique course: Organizers are converting the event to a trail run on the Zack’s Fork trail system. Funds raised benefit local youth programs provided through Communities in Schools of Caldwell County. » Hibriten Baptist Church, 312 Hibriten Mountain Rd.; Saturday, 9 a.m.; $30, $25 by March 10; (828) 929-2247; ww.ciscaldwell.org

Where can you win an award for the “best-smelling” or “poofiest” chapeau? Dillsboro’s annual Easter Hat Parade. Bring your greatest holiday-themed headpiece from home, or arrive early so the kids can make one with the help of Dogwood Crafters. Then, show off your decorative toppers in a procession led by antique cars. There’s even an egg hunt for the littlest milliners, and the Easter Bunny will be in town ready for photo opps. » Downtown; Saturday, hat making beginning at 10 a.m., egg hunt noon, parade 2 p.m.; free; (828) 506-8331; www.visitdillsboro.org