Entertainment and Music Lifestyle Outdoors

Be Enchanted at Winter Lights

Photo by David Lewis

Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum returns Friday, November 18, and runs through December 31, with dazzling displays and many ways to enjoy the gardens from 6–10 p.m. each evening. Now in its ninth year, the event has become a must-see holiday light show, with more than one million lights across multiple displays.

“Winter Lights just keeps getting better, revealing new sights and experiences each year,” says Mary Rose Ridderbusch-Shearer, guest experience manager for the Arboretum. “We get as excited seeing how it evolves as we do showing it to guests.”

This year’s theme is Forest and Garden Enchantment. The gnomes, so popular in 2021, will return, this time with more of their friends. The crowd favorite unicorn is also getting some company in the form of another one-horned creature: the narwhal. And Storytime at Woodland Cove will feature even more animatronic animals to join the elk in reading holiday classics.
Favorites like the Happy Caterpillar and the 50-foot Tree of Light will return, and the lighted Quilt Garden will synchronize its display to a musical accompaniment. The Cocoa Shack and Bent Creek Bistro will serve refreshments, and live music will be performed nightly.

“Each evening you will see people lounging by the fire pits, visiting with others and taking their time to truly soak up the experience,” says Ridderbusch-Shearer. “It’s not only a walk-through show, it is a way to enjoy the evening in a unique and enchanting surrounding.”

Tickets to Winter Lights are purchased per-vehicle, with all passengers admitted for a single price. They are sold in a three-tiered system that is based on the date guests want to attend. Purchasing a Flex ticket option allows guests to change the date of their visit. The Arboretum strongly recommends purchasing tickets in advance online, as nights at Winter Lights do sell out.

Winter Lights is the Arboretum’s largest fundraiser of the year, and proceeds generated from the display directly support mission-driven programming.

The North Carolina Arboretum is located at 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way in Asheville off of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 393. Tickets and information can be found at NCWinterLights.com.

Leave a Comment