Hometown Holidays

Hometown Holidays: Get into the spirit with six Hallmark-worthy small-town celebrations
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Forest City Christmas

Forest City Christmas - November 28-January 1 » Forest City

Since the late 1920s, Forest City has celebrated the season with twinkling lights. Nowadays, one million bulbs light up Thanksgiving night, and festivities on weekends leading up to Christmas draw visitors from near and far. Live music, ice skating, and visits with Santa take place. On Fridays, hayrides are available, while popular horse-drawn carriage rides are offered Saturdays. And Sunday presents Santa Paws for pets. It’s free to see the lights, while skating, carriage, and hayrides require a fee.
» Downtown; Saturday, 6-8:30 p.m.; free; (828) 247-4417; townofforestcity.com

Christmas on Main - November 23 » Andrews

A former whistle-stop town in Cherokee County, Andrews lights up for the season, with more than 100 food and craft vendors lining historic Main Street. Strolling carolers in Victorian dress, three stages of live entertainment, a car show, Christmas tree lighting, and kids activities make this seventh annual event all the merrier. Decorated trees will also be available for purchase.  » Main St.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; free; (828) 321-3584; visitandrewsnc.com


Winter Carnival - November 23 » Morganton

Downtown Morganton transforms into a winter wonderland for this celebration, which includes a tree lighting ceremony and plenty of family-friendly fun. Games, face painting, a station for writing letters to Santa, carriage rides, a bonfire with hot cocoa, and a visit with Saint Nick himself bring on the spirit of the season. » Historic Burke County Courthouse, 102 E. Union St.; Saturday, 5-8 p.m.; free; (828) 438-5252; downtownmorganton.com


Winter Wonderland - November 30 & December 7 » Franklin

On two different evenings, downtown Franklin becomes a holiday mecca with joyous live music, living window displays, refreshments like hot cider, free miniature train, wagon, and carriage rides, and, of course, an appearance from jolly ole Saint Nick. » Downtown; Saturday, 5-8 p.m.; free; (828) 524-2516; townoffranklinnc.com


Olde Fashioned Christmas - December 6 » Hendersonville

With festively decorated storefronts, carolers, apple cider and hot cocoa, and merchants and restaurants open late, this celebration (which takes place the night before the town’s annual parade) is all the more reason to embrace the enchanting offerings along Hendersonville’s historic Main Street. » Main St.; Friday, 5-8 p.m.; free; (828) 697-2232; visithendersonvillenc.org

Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries - December 6 & 7, 13 & 14 » Dillsboro

The small town of Dillsboro sets a nostalgic wintery scene with live music and carolers, late 1800s cottages trimmed in lights, and 2,500 old-fashioned paper luminaries lining Front Street. Santa and Mrs. Claus, horse-drawn carriage rides, and a live nativity at Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church add to the allure. » Downtown; Friday & Saturday, 5-9 p.m.; free; (828) 586-1439; visitdillsboro.org 

Photographs: Forest City Christmas by Joseph Frantz; Winter Wonderland courtesy of The town of Franklin; Winter Carnival courtesy of City of Morganton; Olde Fashioned Christmas courtesy of the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority