S

uccessful towns don’t happen by accident.

They happen because of careful planning.

Thanks to that planning, carried out by the town of Sylva, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and boosted by a shot of heavy lifting from the Main Street Sylva Association, Sylva is ready for a successful fall.

Why is that important?

It’s important because “leaf season’’ is a vital component of our economy, a time when people throng to the area to see a show that simply can’t be seen anywhere else.

They also bring dollars that aren’t available at other times of the year, dollars that we need to keep here.

While the color show is on, it’s important to also provide experiences for these visitors.

This year there’s a full lineup of those experiences.

Let’s pause for just a second here and point out that Dillsboro is also doing well along these lines, with ColorFest coming down the pike on Oct. 5 and people already looking forward to the village’s signature event, the Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries set for Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 6-7 and 13-14, from 5-9 p.m. It’s a display of holiday cheer that would melt even the Grinchiest of hearts.

Back to Sylva: A full lineup of events dot the calendar running from early fall up to the welcoming of Christmas back to Jackson County. MSSA is sponsoring a sidewalk sale Oct. 5, and on the same day the Sylva Police Department will sponsor the third annual Walk for Hope, raising awareness of breast cancer and honoring survivors. A week later on Oct. 11, Girls Night Out in Sylva will see downtown businesses keep their doors open late and offer door prizes and special discounts. The annual Western Carolina University Homecoming Parade is set for Oct. 25, and merchants will offer a chilling good time for young and old alike with Treat Street on Halloween.

New to Sylva this year is the WNC Pottery Festival, which is relocating to Bridge Park from its traditional venue in Dillsboro. Running from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 2, the event will showcase the work of more than 40 master potters from 13 states. This year’s festival features 16 new potters from across the country. A variety of clay art styles will be presented. Pre-show events – including the Clay Olympics – will be held from 1-3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1. The event is juried. It has been named one of the “Top 20” events in the Southeast for November. A $5 ticket includes a chance in a raffle; kids under 12 are admitted free. Visit wncpotteryfestival.com for more information.

On Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. it’s the annual Jackson County Veterans Parade. (Any veteran who would like to ride and be escorted in the parade may call the Jackson County Veterans Office at 631-2231. It’s free to sign up). On Nov. 11, the Sylva Rotary Club will conduct its Flags for Heroes event.

The big weekend to wrap up autumn events and get the town in a Christmas mood is Christmas in Sylva, which kicks off Friday, Nov. 29, with luminaires, the official lighting of Sylva’s Christmas tree at 6:30 p.m. and a concert featuring Summer & Bray to set the holiday mood. The weekend continues on Saturday with the Winter Market on Main Street, featuring a combination of crafters and food vendors, and Shop Small Saturday, which encourages those looking for that special gift to keep their dollars local. The weekend wraps with the Sylva Christmas Parade on Sunday.

Again, we remind everyone that these events add to our quality of life, and to our wallets. And that these things don’t just happen. They may seem to be a day or two that comes and goes to most of us, but behind it all is a tremendous amount of work and planning.

Well done to all involved.