By Dave Russell
Before the Halloween candy is half price, merchants crank up Christmas. Thanksgiving is stampeded as television commercials start touting cars with bows on top, Black Friday sales and Santa selling any and everything.
Sylva is holding off on Christmas until Friday, Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving.
The official downtown tree-lighting and concert starts at 6:30 p.m. that Friday at the steps of the Jackson County Public Library. Summer and Bray of Mountain Faith will provide holiday music.
The winner of a raffle will light the town’s Christmas Tree. The runner-up will receive a local gift basket. Raffle tickets cost $5 (or five for $20) and are available until Thanksgiving at End of Main, Friends of the Library Used Bookstore and Baxley’s Chocolates. A mailbox is available for letters to Santa. Luminaries will line West Main and Mill streets after dark.
The Winter Market, featuring crafts and food, is from noon until 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, on W. Main St. as part of Small Business Saturday. There will be a chance for photos with Santa from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sundog Building, 702 W. Main St., and luminaries after dark on West Main and Mill streets.
The Sylva Christmas Parade starts at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, on West Main Street. This year’s theme is “Christmas Present and Past.”
For updates, follow on Facebook at “Christmas in Sylva – A Holiday Weekend.”
Hard Candy Christmas
The 32nd annual Hard Candy Christmas Arts and Crafts Show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30, at the Ramsey Center on the Western Carolina University campus. The show features 100 local and regional artisans selling their handwork.
Jackson County’s Alva Houston will be featured. She makes folk dolls with hickory nut heads and Christmas gourd art.
“My love of Christmas inspired me to bring my dolls alive with fabric,” she said. “I cannot remember when I was not making crafts.”
Other categories include clay art, rustic woodcraft, master jewelers, quilts, fine art, goat milk soap and heirloom ornaments for the tree.
For more information, visit the website www.mountainartisans.net.
Admission for adults is $5, children under 12 are free. There is free parking, and concessions will be available.
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” comes to the Hinds University Center on the WCU campus at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3. Tickets are $5 for Western students, $10 for staff/faculty, other students and seniors and $15 for general admission.
For more information contact the Bardo Arts Center box office at 227-2479. Tickets are available online at bardoartscenter.wcu.edu.
Family event at WCU
The annual Holidays at the UC will be from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, and Thursday, Dec. 5.
Activities such as taking a photo with Santa or holiday mini-golf start at $1, or there is the Ultimate Holiday Pass including all activities for $15. This year there will be workshop stations with giant building blocks and a “traditions room” to learn about holiday traditions from other countries.
The funds raised will benefit Miracle at WCU, which supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals through fundraising activities. See the website dca.wcu.edu for more information.
Tea and crafts
The Sylva Garden Club is hosting a Christmas Tea and Crafts fundraiser from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the First Presbyterian Church of Sylva. The suggested donation is $15 per ticket. Tickets are available from club members and at the door.
In addition to food and fellowship, pecans and Christmas décor will be available for purchase. All proceeds go directly to fund club beautification projects.
Dillsboro lights up
Two weekends of the Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries are coming up from 5-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14. The entire town will be bright as 2,500 luminaries light the way to shops and studios.
Horse and buggy rides will be available each night. Shopkeepers will provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa. Carolers will sing, and children can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. There will be a live Nativity at Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church. Shuttle service from Monteith Park is free.
The Appalachian Women’s Museum in Monteith Park will have decorated Christmas trees and luminaries from 6-8 p.m. all four nights.
Sounds of the Season
The annual “Sounds of the Season” concert will be presented by WCU’s School of Music at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, in the Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.
It will include performances by WCU’s Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, University Chorus, Concert Choir and Civic Orchestra, along with Balsam Brass and Cullowhee Wind Quintet.
The family friendly concert concludes with a holiday sing-along and an appearance by Santa Claus.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for WCU faculty and staff, and those 60 and older, while students and kids remain at $5. Group rates are available for advance purchase only.
For tickets, call 227-2479 or go online to http://arts.wcu.edu/sos.
Crafts and craft beer
The Innovation Station at Dillsboro, 40 Depot St., holds a holiday craft show from 2-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.
Local artisans will set up indoors and sell art and handcrafted goods. There is a $40 booth rental, with all fees going to the Jackson County Department of Social Services to help provide gifts for children in foster care.
For booth rental information email firstname.lastname@example.org.