The 36th annual Festival of Lights & Luminaries takes place in downtown Dillsboro Friday and Saturday, December 6–7 and 13–14, from 5–9 p.m. More than 2,500 lights will adorn the town’s historic buildings and hundreds of flickering luminaries will line the streets during the event. Shops will be open late, with many offering free refreshments and live musical performances.
“Ideally for most, Christmas is a time for family, friends and a feeling of belonging,” says Lisa Potts, Dillsboro Merchants Association president. “The sign at our town entrance says ‘Welcome Home’ and that’s exactly what we want anyone who attends Lights and Luminaries to experience.”
The event includes old-fashioned horse and buggy rides (weather permitting) and photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Workshop or with Rudolph and Santa’s elves as they walk through town. Holiday shoppers can choose from a variety of quality arts and crafts, antiques, specialty olive oils and seasonings, jewelry and Christmas items available at downtown shops.
On Friday, December 6, students and faculty with ID from Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College will receive special discounts. Free parking and shuttle transportation are available at Monteith Farmstead each night of the festival. The Appalachian Women’s Museum, located near the shuttle pickup area, will be open for tours, refreshments and entertainment. Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church will be open to the public and will serve as a drop-off point for canned goods and personal hygiene items for school-age children in need.
“Come on out, bring your sweetheart, bring the family, stroll among the lights illuminating this mountain village and start your holiday full of good cheer,” says Potts.
Dillsboro is located in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina at the intersection of US Highways 19/74 and 441, 45 minutes west of Asheville and 20 minutes from Franklin, Cherokee and Bryson City. For more information, visit Dillsboro.org or Facebook.com/DillsboroNC.