event-calendar

EVENTS

Asheville Outlets (www.shopashevilleoutlets.com) is pleased to again host Asheville’s Flea for Y’all Sunday, April 29th from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The location, just 6 miles from downtown Asheville, offers easy access from I-26, mountain views and ample parking for patrons and vendors alike. Come ready to explore and discover great vintage finds, one-of-a kind handmade items, exceptional art, yummy food and beverages, while enjoying good music! The Flea will take over the tree-lined lot next to Field and Stream.

Asheville Outlets Flea for Y’all remaining dates are Sunday May 27, June 24, July 29, August 26, September 30 and October 28, 2018. Adult entry is $2, children are free, friendly dogs welcome!

This annual ride takes cyclists through the beautiful foothills of Polk County right at peak leaf season. Riders can choose between two courses: the 66.3-mile Tour de Leaves Grande or the 31.9-mile Tour de Leaves Lite. Whichever one you choose, rest assured there will be magnificent fall foliage. Proceeds support child welfare programs in Polk County. » Starts at Wolverine Trail, Wolverine Dr.; Sunday, 9 a.m.; $45, $35 advance; (828) 817-1544; www.tourdeleaves.com

Adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic crime novel, this performance takes detective Sherlock Holmes through the foggy moors of England as he pursues the truth. Three actors portray more than 15 characters in this fast-paced thriller. » Flat Rock Playhouse, 2661 Greenville Hwy.; Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday, 2 p.m., Wednesday & Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Friday & Saturday, 8 p.m.; $52, $49 seniors, $32 students, $17 children under 18; (828) 693-0731; www.flatrockplayhouse.org

Help fund KidSenses Children’s Interactive Museum’s capital campaign project: a new campus focused on STEM-based learning for tweens, teens, kids, and adults. Featuring nationally recognized celebrity scientist Kate the Chemist and a silent auction of items including original art pieces and vacation and adventure excursions, this gala highlights the giving reason behind the season. Local jazz band the Jazzmaticians and DJ Garth offer live entertainment, and the Copper Penny provides food. » The Foundation at Isothermal Community College, 286 ICC Loop Rd.; Saturday, 7 p.m.; $50 per person, (828) 286-2120; www.kidsenses.org

This festival promises great fare and entertainment. Chefs from across the Southeast, including Charleston’s Jason Daly and Joe DiMaio, will serve up delectable eats. Some events are sold out, but you can still partake in Truckin’ on Friday, which is a food truck-centric feast set to music by The Lone Bellow. A Sip & Shop takes place Friday and Saturday and includes a complimentary glass and wine tastings and small bites at over 25 retail locations. A Generous Pour concert on Saturday night features Langhorne Slim and The Lost at Last Band, and proceeds benefit the Highlands Food Pantry. Wine dinners take place throughout the weekend. » Multiple locations; Thursday-Sunday, times vary; $50-$125 for events, $85-$185 wine dinners; info@highlandsfoodandwine.com; www.highlandsfoodandwine.com

A holiday tradition for all ages, the Polar Express train ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers a 1.25-hour round-trip through breathtaking scenery en route to “the North Pole,” for a meeting with Santa, all set to the story and sounds of the eponymous motion picture soundtrack. Mugs of hot cocoa and trays of cookies make this holiday excursion even sweeter. Kids are encouraged to wear their pajamas and can sing along with Christmas carols as the train returns to the Bryson City depot. » Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, 45 Mitchell St.; daily, times vary; $42-$69, $28-$51 children; (800) 872-4681; www.gsmr.com

Enjoy steamed and fried oysters and shrimp aplenty amid the charming setting of Union Square. In addition to heaping plates of seafood, there will be brews from Olde Hickory Brewhouse on offer, as well as live entertainment from Americana band Moose & Friends. » 222 Union Sq.; Saturday, 1-6 p.m.; free, food & drink available for purchase; (828) 781-1121; www.downtownhickory.com

Add retro flair to your holiday with this annual pop-up museum that honors a 1950s Christmas favorite. Featuring a collection of vintage aluminum trees that have been shown across the country, the museum is now the collection’s permanent home. Each tree is decorated with whimsical themes and vintage ornaments. » Transylvania Heritage Museum, 189 W. Main St.; Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., (only open Saturday Thanksgiving week); free, donations encouraged;(828) 884-2347; www.transylvaniaheritage.org

Founded in 1952, this world-renowned ballet ensemble from Mexico City dazzles and educates audiences about Mexican history through dance. Enchanting and visually arresting, the production features music and costumes from Mexico and dances dating from pre-Columbian civilizations through the modern era. » Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, 733 Rivers St.; Wednesday, 7 p.m.; $5-$25; (828) 262-4046; www.theschaefercenter.org

Sample craft beverages and small bites from over 40 of Asheville’s independent restaurants at this event, where the sounds of the city’s celebrated street musicians are highlighted. Hosted by the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, proceeds support the organization’s work of keeping the city’s food scene diverse and thriving. VIP ticket holders enter at 6 p.m. » The Venue, 21 N. Market St.; Thursday, 7-9 p.m.; $75, $100 VIP; (828) 575-9220; www.airasheville.org

Talk about a winter wonderland—half a million sparkling LED lights illuminate the gardens of the North Carolina Arboretum through the holidays. Meander amid dazzling displays and see the gardens take on a special glow while listening to holiday tunes and sipping cocoa, beer, or cider. New this year is a vibrant fire and ice display. » North Carolina Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way; Monday-Sunday, 6-10 p.m.; $18, $12 ages five to 11, free children four & under; (828) 665-2492; www.ncarboretum.org

Kick off Thanksgiving Day with a 5K walk/run. Taking place at Kituwah Mound, the race offers beautiful views of the historic site. Proceeds benefit the Cherokee Braves Booster Club, an organization that supports local athletes at Cherokee Central Schools. » Kituwah Mound, 3900 Governor’s Island; Saturday, noon, registration 10:30 a.m.; $20, $5 kids 12 & under; (828) 359-6784; www.visitcherokeenc.com

This 5K and 10K run/walk and youth fun run awards not only trophy prizes, but top finishers receive Thanksgiving turkeys as well. Hosted by the YMCA of Catawba County, entry fees support impoverished families in Catawba County. The race is open to all ages, and businesses and schools can participate as teams. The course is hilly, so expect a bit of a challenge. An awards ceremony follows the race. » Hickory Foundation YMCA, 701 1st St. NW; Saturday, fun run 8:30 a.m., 10K 9 a.m., 5K 9:10 a.m.; $35, $25 by November 11, $20 registration online; (828) 324-2858; www.turkeytrot.ymcacv.org

When bakers spend upward of 500 hours on a gingerbread house, the result is practically too good to eat. This sweet competition returns to the Omni Grove Park Inn with all-new distinctive gingerbread houses, and is open to children, teens, and adult entrants. New this year is celebrity guest judge and Top Chef alum Chef Carla Hall. The winning creations will be on display November 25 to January 4, 2019, and exhibit hours for the general public are anytime Monday through Thursday, and after 3 p.m. Sunday; holidays are excluded . » Grove Park Inn, 290 Macon Ave.; Monday, awards ceremony 5:30 p.m.; free, parking $20; (800) 413-5778; www.omnihotels.com

Marvel at this small-town show of Christmas cheer, which dates to 1930s Forest City. Centered around the town fountain, the event features countless lights that hang overhead and twinkle festively from the branches of live oak trees while live holiday music plays. The tree lighting takes place on Thanksgiving Day, with Saint Nick in attendance. Starting on November 30, enjoy hayrides every Friday evening; carriage rides begin December 1, and are offered the following Saturdays. Families can ice skate on Fridays and Saturdays on a synthetic rink. » 108 E. Main St.; lights daily, festivities Friday & Saturday; hayrides $2, carriage rides $10, $5 kids, ice skating $7; (828) 247-4430; www.townofforestcity.com

Plan your own itinerary with this self-guided driving tour of eight artist studios and galleries throughout Swain and Graham counties. Peruse the variety of wares and buy pieces directly from the artists. Maps available at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center and online. » Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center, 121 School House Rd.; Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free; (828) 479-3364; www.stecoahvalleycenter.com

Enjoy the splendor of thousands of Christmas lights throughout Tweetsie Railroad. Meet and snap pictures with Santa in his gingerbread house, take in a Christmas-themed variety show, marvel at the giant nutcrackers, toy soldiers, candy canes, and toy drums, and wander inside a life-size snow globe filled with swirling synthetic snow. Make your holiday memories even sweeter by roasting s’mores over an outdoor fire pit. » Tweetsie Railroad, 300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln.; Friday & Saturday, 5-10 p.m.; $38, free children under two; (800) 526-5740; www.tweetsie.com

This annual motorcycle ride donates all proceeds to needy area families. After the ride, enjoy food, drinks, and music at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds, as well as opportunities to win raffle and door prizes. » Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds, 545 Tsali Blvd.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; $20 per rider, $30 per couple; (828) 736-2780; www.visitcherokeenc.com

Held to promote awareness of post traumatic stress disorder and suicide rates among veterans, this 5K race is hosted by nonprofit Veteran Jam. Proceeds support local and regional organizations that help veterans with therapy, meals, and housing expenses. The Patriot Guard Riders kick off the race with a motorcycle processional. » Bill Moore Community Park, 85 Howard Gap Rd.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; $35, $25 ages 18 & under; info.veteranjam@gmail.com; www.veteranjam.org/5k-race-against-ptsd

This event honors the late three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Carl Sandburg and his family traditions. Wander through his home, decorated simply and elegantly with poinsettias and a traditional Christmas tree. Storytelling and Christmas carols set a cheerful tone. » Carl Sandburg Home, 81 Carl Sandburg Ln.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; free; (828) 693-4178; www.nps.gov/carl

This fresh adaptation of a classic Christmas film is set in a radio studio. A heavy snow prevents the professional voice actors from performing a live radio rendition of It’s A Wonderful Life, so the station employees put on their own broadcast by recreating the story’s characters and scenes using only their voices and a few household items for sound effects. » NC Stage Company, 15 Stage Ln.; Wednesday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sunday, 2 p.m.; $17-$34, $10 students; (828) 239-0263; www.ncstage.org

This festival features performances from all-star blues and bluegrass musicians, including Shenandoah, Chloë Agnew of the Celtic Women, Atlanta Pop Orchestra and the festival’s namesake bluegrass band, Balsam Range. Attendees can enjoy music and also perfect their own acoustic skills with masters workshops in banjo, guitar, bass, fiddle, and mandolin. » Lake Junaluska Conference Center, 91 N. Lakeshore Dr.; Friday & Saturday, 7 p.m.; $25-$70 day pass, $40-$110 both days, $130 VIP, lodging packages available; (800) 222-4930; www.balsamrangeartofmusicfestival.com

This evening begins with a cocktail hour and silent auction of autographed and rare books, art, excursions, and more. Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver gives the keynote address and will sign copies of her books, including her latest release, Unsheltered, which examines the human condition in times of uncertainty. VIP ticket holders can enjoy a meet and greet with the author. Proceeds benefit the Literacy Council of Buncombe County, which provides comprehensive literacy and English language skills to students and book recipients in Buncombe County. » Crowne Plaza Resort Expo Center, 1 Resort Dr.; Monday, 6-9 p.m., VIP reception 6:30 p.m.; $95, $500 for two VIP passes; (828) 254-3442 ext. 206; www.litcouncil.com

Presented by the Toe River Arts Council, this self-guided driving tour features the works of 103 artisans and craftspeople working in nearly every medium, including clay, wood, and glass, as well as making flutes and custom guitars. It offers attendees the opportunity to meet and chat with artists about their work. Find maps at the TRAC galleries in downtown Burnsville and Spruce Pine, at participating studios and galleries throughout Yancey and Mitchell counties, or online. From November 17 to December 29, the Spruce Pine gallery hosts an exhibit featuring two pieces from every participating artist. » Multiple venues; Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free; (828) 682-7215; www.toeriverarts.org

Created to help boost awareness for the visually impaired, this event promises an invigorating 5K. Race through the slight hills of downtown West Jefferson and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the season with jingle bells and fresh-cut Christmas trees. For a more leisurely option, there’s also a 1-mile fun run. Both the fastest runner and walker will take home their choice of a tree or wreath. Proceeds benefit the West Jefferson Lion’s Club. » Downtown; Saturday, 10-11:30 a.m.; $25 race, $15 fun run; (336) 977-4587; www.christmastree5k.com

This annual holiday celebration at the WNC Nature Center offers festive games and activities, including free temporary tattoos, garland crafts, pine cone bird feeders, and candle dipping alongside animal encounters. From noon to 4 p.m., snap pics with Santa. » WNC Nature Center, 75 Gashes Creek Rd.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; $11, $10 seniors, $7 children three to 15, free ages two & under; (828) 259-8080; www.wildwnc.org

In a time when LED lights and electronics are the norm, this festival is a throwback. Amended from the old Scandinavian custom of lighting the way for Christ, the streets of downtown Dillsboro are decorated with more than 2,500 candles in white bags, bathing the streets in vintage Christmas charm. Take a horse and buggy ride and enjoy the hot cider, cocoa, and holiday treats offered by shops, which will stay open late. Don’t miss the chance for a picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus. » Downtown, 42 Front St.; Friday & Saturday, 5-9 p.m.; free; (828) 586-1439; www.visitdillsboro.org

This festive 5K through downtown Hickory benefits the Family Guidance Center, an organization that assists area residents with individual and family counseling services. Medals will be awarded to top winners and racers with the most “jingled out” costume. Bring a gift to donate and be entered to win a $100 VISA gift card. » Downtown, Union Square SW; Saturday, 9 a.m.; $25; (828) 446-4248; www.runsignup.com

Welcome the season with this self-guided exploration of 10 historic rehabbed and newly constructed homes, decorated for the holidays, in Asheville’s Montford neighborhood. Buy your ticket at Asheville Visitor’s Center and receive a booklet with maps and historic facts on each home. Profits benefit neighborhood-specific endeavors, like youth programs. » Asheville Visitor Center, 36 Montford Ave.; Saturday, 1-5 p.m.; $25; (828) 505-8242; www.montfordtour.com

Step into a bygone era, when families gathered around the radio for news and entertainment, in this live 1940s-themed play. Featuring performances from Hickory Jazz Orchestra and other guest artists, this show brings a vintage vibe to the holidays. Guests are encouraged to come dressed in period attire. Proceeds benefit community music programs in Hickory. » Salt Block Drendel Auditorium, 243 Third Ave. NE.; Saturday, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; $20 matinee, $25 evening, $15 ages 18 & under; (828) 308-5659; www.hickorymusicfactory.com

Mark the winter solstice with world-class Celtic music, including renowned performances by recording artists Al Petteway, Amy White, and Robin Bullock. Grammy-winner David Holt returns. Imbuing a united and uplifting message, guests are encouraged to bring gently used household supplies to donate to Homeward Bound of WNC, which serves individuals in transitional housing. » Diana Wortham Theatre, 18 Biltmore Ave.; Sunday, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; $48, $43 students, $20 children; (828) 257-4530; www.dwtheatre.com

A singer, lyricist, and mandolin player, Sierra Hull is a distinguished bluegrass musician. She’s won several International Bluegrass Music Association awards for Best Mandolinist and has collaborated with artists like Béla Fleck. At this bluegrass Christmas celebration, Hull will be playing classic holiday tunes and new favorites. » Smoky Mountain Performing Arts Center, 1028 Georgia Rd.; Friday, 7:30 p.m.; $15-$18; (866) 273-4615; www.greatmountainmusic.com

This family holiday showcase captures the beauty of Iceland, Brittany, Scotland, and Ireland with music, dance, poetry, and stories from Tryon-based violinist, acclaimed storyteller, and host Jamie Laval. Renowned Celtic performers, including Irish stamp dancer Claire Shirey, bagpiper and multi-instrumentalist Rosalind Buda, Celtic harpist Christine Vanarsdale, and soprano Megan McConnell, bring Celtic classics to the stage. » Asheville Community Theatre, 35 E. Walnut St.; Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; $35-$40; (828) 254-1320; www.ashevilletheatre.org

Cirque Musica combines the grace and athleticism of acrobats, contortionists, and jugglers with classical music and pop favorites performed by the Asheville Symphony Orchestra. A full sensory experience, it’s a memorable way to ring in the new year. » Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, 87 Haywood St.; Monday, 8 p.m.; $32-$85, $15-$43 youth; (828) 254-7046; www.ashevillesymphony.org

Downtown Franklin closes to traffic for a New Year’s Eve street party with music, lawn games, and a ball drop to honor the town’s nickname of Gem Capital of the World. The main event is the lowering of a seven-foot ruby comprised of more than 1,300 LED lights. » 5 W. Main St.; Monday, 8:30 p.m.-midnight; free; (828) 524-0099; www.franklin-chamber.com

Ring in the New Year with skiing and fireworks during Appalachian Ski Mountain’s 57th season. From 10 p.m. to midnight, ice skate by moonlight and or hit the slopes, which will be illuminated by torchlight. » Appalachian Ski Mountain, 940 Ski Mountain Rd.; Monday, 9 p.m.-midnight; free with purchase of lift ticket; (828) 295-7828; www.appskimtn.com

On New Year’s Eve, take in a free alpine torchlight parade and fireworks show on the ski slopes at Sugar Mountain Resort. There will also be indoor fun, including live music by The Johnson Brothers, hors d’oeuvres, and a midnight champagne toast. » Sugar Mountain Resort, 1009 Sugar Mountain Dr.; Monday, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.; $45, $80 per couple; (828) 898-4521; www.skisugar.com

Start the New Year by catching the first sunrise atop Grandfather Mountain. Afterwards, enjoy a community breakfast buffet. Attendees who leave before 9:30 a.m. will have their general admission charge refunded. » Grandfather Mountain, 2050 Blowing Rock Hwy.; Tuesday, 6:30-9:30 a.m.; $20 plus general admission; (828) 733-2013; www.grandfather.com

Don a costume and participate in this chilly challenge or watch from the sidelines as hundreds of people race into the icy waters of Lake Lure on the first day of the New Year. In honor of the event’s 10th anniversary, registration fees net all plungers a commemorative medal. Awards are given for the best costume, oldest and youngest plunger, and more. Reflecting the event’s motto, “freezin’ for a reason,” proceeds benefit The Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge and Hickory Nut Gorge First Responders. » Lake Lure, 2724 Memorial Hwy.; Tuesday, noon; $20; (828) 243-0540; Facebook: Lake Lure New Year’s Day Polar Plunge