The most wonderful time of the year has come to the Blue Ridge Mountains again and the ways to get into the holiday spirit are a’plenty! Here are some top event picks for the 2023 holiday season in and around McDowell County for you and your families to enjoy.
Please note: All event info is subject to change! Check websites and event pages.
Marion Christmas Parade | Sunday, November 19, 2023
This year’s Parade theme is ‘A Jack Frost Christmas’ in honor of Parade Marshal Jim Burgin. McDowell County’s own award-winning High School Marching Titan Band will lead the march. Come celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season in downtown Marion. The parade of local floats will travel down Main Street beginning at 3pm.
Town of Old Fort - Town Lighting Ceremony | Saturday, November 18, 2023 5-6:30p
Make time to take part in a traditional celebration to Light Up Main Street and Catawba Avenue in downtown Old Fort and enjoy the caroling and live music, treats, ornament making and bring those letters for Santa because the North Pole Magic Mailbox will be ready for deliveries.
Carolina Christmas Show | December 17, 2023
This heartwarming Broadway-style show will most definitely add a spark to your holiday season. Don't miss this year's event featuring performers from all over western North Carolina and special guest artists performing many of the seasonal favorites. The dazzling performances include dance, live music, and comedy.
Shop Local in the Blue Ridge
Don’t miss these opportunities to pick out a handmade or locally crafted gift for the loved ones on your shopping list:
Shop Small Main Street Crawl | Saturday, November 25, 2023
Support local small businesses and artisans at this Small Business Saturday event on Main Street in downtown Marion. Dozens of vendors will be displaying jewelry, pottery, baskets, woodwork, ornaments, gifts and more! Stay tuned to the event’s Facebook page for up-to-date information.
Blue Ridge Artisans Craft Show | November 25-December 24, 2023
This annual show hosted by the McDowell Arts Council Association showcases the work of local artisans working in pottery, woodworking, jewelry, textiles and other fine arts. Every item is handmade right here in McDowell County! Open weekly Tuesday-Friday, noon-6p and admission is free.
35th Annual Appalachian Potters Market | Saturday, December 2, 2023
This regional holiday tradition hosts over 40 potters from all over the Southeast to bring you unique and original art and gifts of whimsy, beauty and function. A must do for any pottery lovers! Plan on live holiday music and refreshments, too. There’s a $5 entry fee and all proceeds benefit the McDowell Arts Council Association.
Old Fort’s Arrowhead Gallery & Studios Holiday Open House | December 2, 2023 5 - 7 p.m.
Enjoy an evening of holiday music, hot cocoa and treats, art demos, ornament making and maybe even SANTA at this wonderful open house opportunity at Arrowhead Gallery & Studios in Old Fort.
See the Lights & Sights
No lack of places to go and sights to see this Holiday Season in our Blue Ridge Mountains!
Christmas at Biltmore | Now through January 7, 2023
Visit America’s Largest Home to see dozens of famously adorned trees, miles of garland and thousands of sparkling ornaments displayed throughout the house. Buy a separate ticket to enjoy the magic of Biltmore’s Candlelight Christmas Evenings. The grounds are a wonderfully festive sight during the Holidays, as well. Make time to wander and soak in all the magic!
Black Mountain Holly Jolly Christmas Parade | December 1, 2023, 5:30 - 8 p.m. & December 2, 2023, 4 - 6 p.m.
Stroll the decorated streets of picturesque Black Mountain as the town celebrates Holly Jolly on the first Friday evening in December. Shops are open until 8p and serve seasonal treats to shoppers, while local groups put on live holiday performances. Return on Saturday at 4p for the annual Christmas parade.
Winter Lights at the N.C. Arboretum | November 17-December 31, 2023
What is more magical than walking among over a million twinkling lights on a cool winter’s eve? In their 10th year of Winter Lights, the WNC Arboretum’s largest annual fundraiser is once again ready to entertain and dazzle kids of all ages with their ever growing displays of light. The traditional 50 ft tree of light and the Quilt Garden are as beautiful as ever. Purchase your tickets online.
Ring In the New Year
Marion’s New Years' Eve Celebration | Saturday, December 31, 2023, 8:30 p.m. start
Celebrate the arrival of 2024 at this free, fun family-friendly celebration in downtown Marion. At midnight, watch a giant gold nugget — crafted by the artisans at Turtle Laboratories — drop to welcome in the new year. Plus the Comic-Con costume contest, music, wagon rides and libations Stay tuned to the event’s Facebook page for up-to-date information.