One of Dillsboro’s most beloved holiday events, the Festival of Lights and Luminaries, celebrates 35 years this season. On December 7–8 and 14–15, visitors can enjoy more than 2,500 white lights decorating downtown’s buildings and the soft, flickering candlelight of luminaries lighting the streets. Stores will stay open late while Santa and Mrs. Claus delight children at the Town Hall and a horse-drawn carriage trots through the streets. “The event was created as a ‘thank you’ to local customers,” says Lisa Potts, owner of Nancy Tut’s Christmas Shop and coordinator for the event. “Over the years, it has become a holiday tradition for families near and far. Many stores provide homemade refreshments and seasonal entertainment, and our customers express that attending the festival marks the beginning of their holiday experience.”
This year’s festival will feature raffl es at participating merchants throughout town, as well as discounts and specials for students and faculty on Friday, December 7, which is Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College Night. “The Festival of Lights and Luminaries is not so much a festival as a community event,” says Potts. “It is an opportunity for Dillsboro to roll out its welcome mat and offer so much free of charge: parking, shuttle, visits with Santa, Rudolph, elves, music, horse and buggy rides and refreshments. Each year this collaboration grows and to me that is the essence of the event: community, hospitality and working together for the good of all.”
Dillsboro is located at the intersection of US Highways 19/74 and 441, 45 minutes west of Asheville and just 20 minutes from Franklin, Cherokee and Bryson City. For more information, call the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce at 1.800.962.1911 or visit MountainLovers.com.