High Country Holiday Checklist

Your Guide to the 2009 Holiday Season

What better backdrop for a holiday greeting card than the rolling hills of our own Blue Ridge Mountains? The holiday season is here, and the High Country region has about a zillion ways to celebrate it.

Check the High Country Press weekly now through the end of the year for a listing of local holiday events. From parades to concerts to local shopping opportunities, we’ll summarize it all for you in the High Country Holiday Checklist.

Skip the catalogs and do your Christmas shopping at these upcoming holiday markets and craft sales.

Wear your warm coats, hats and scarves to browse the variety of goodies available at this year’s holiday markets.

Christmas Craft Show at Boone Mall—Friday to Sunday
The 6th annual Mountain Top Promotions Christmas Craft Show will take place from Friday to Sunday, November 27 to 29, at Boone Mall. The show features free admission and is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. More than 40 crafters hailing from North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee and Vermont will be in attendance, each displaying handmade and homemade goods that are sure to delight young and old on Christmas morning. For more info, call Boone Mall at 828-264-7286.

Watauga Holiday Markets—Saturday
The Watauga County Farmers’ Market will hold its final holiday market this Saturday, November 28, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Featured at the holiday market will be Christmas trees and wreaths, pasta, homemade soaps, sourdough bread, goat cheese, wool hats, jewelry, all cuts of lamb, quilts, pumpkins, pork, jams, jellies, some produce including potatoes and garlic, vinegars, candles, beef, baked goods, baskets, pottery, handcrafts and fresh coffee. Chicken and eggs could also be available, Market Manager Karen Bauman said.

To find Horn in the West, turn next to First Citizens Bank on Highway 105 Extension and go to the top of the hill. For more info, call 828-355-4918 or click to

Ashe Holiday Markets—Saturday, December 5 and 12
The Ashe County Farmers’ Market will host holiday markets on Saturdays, November 28 and December 5 and 12, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day.

The holiday markets will feature baked goods, cheeses, desserts, meats, honey, molasses, culinary vinegars, apple butter, jams, preserves, handmade soaps and lotions, knitted items, quilts, candles, wood crafts, framed photographs, jewelry, ornaments and a variety of holiday décor and greenery. The market shelter will be decorated with lights and a Christmas tree. Fresh coffee and hot apple cider will be available.

Santa will be at the market this Saturday, November 28, from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. On Saturday, December 5, the Blue Ridge Elementary sixth grade chorus will perform Christmas carols at the market. The market is located at the Backstreet in West Jefferson. For more info, call Market Manager John Smyre at 910-309-1932 or 336-877-4141 or click to

Crossnore Weavers and Gallery Christmas Sale—through December 5
The Crossnore Weavers and Gallery will hold a Christmas sale featuring 25 percent off all hand weaving through Saturday, December 5. The gallery is located at 206 Johnson Lane in Crossnore. For more info, call 828-733-4660.

Beech Mountain Holiday Market—November 28
On Saturday, November 28, the Beech Mountain Holiday Market will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Buckeye Recreation Center.
The market will offer plenty of unique gift items made by local artisans, delicious food and live Christmas and folk music played by Art and Kathy Lang. Door prizes include yart (yarn art), gift baskets and a Zumba party. For more info, call the Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation Department at 828-387-3003.

Old-Fashioned Christmas Bazaar—December 5
The Deerfield United Methodist Church in Boone will have an old-fashioned Christmas bazaar, open house and “Tree for All” on Saturday, December 5, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The bazaar will feature cookie decorating, a miniature pony wagon, a bake sale and Christmas shopping. A tree, wreath and roping sale will last until 6:00 p.m. For more info, call 828-264-8569.

Greater Gift Sale—December 5 and 6
First Presbyterian Church in Boone will sponsor the Greater Gift Sale on Saturday, December 5, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The nonprofit fair trade organization SERRV will host the sale. Items sold are made by artisans and farmers from around the world. For more info, call Arlene Steeves at 828-297-9212. 

ASU Craft Sale—December 7
ASU will have a craft sale on Monday, December 7, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the lobby of Harper Hall. Crafts include pottery, jewelry, weaving, woodworking and glasswork. For more info, call Kay Dixon at 828-264-4773.

Further Out…

Blowing Rock Christmas Market, Wallingford Street…December 17

Fire trucks, colorful floats, costumes, horses, scout troops, beauty queens, Santa and more! These processions are marching through the High Country in the coming weeks.

Blowing Rock Christmas Parade—Saturday
The Blowing Rock Christmas Parade takes place this Saturday, November 28, at 2:00 p.m.; the line-up will start at noon. For more info, call Blowing Rock Parks and Recreation at 828-295-5222.

Newland Christmas Parade—December 5
The Newland Business Association sponsors a Christmas parade on Saturday, December 5, beginning at 1:00 p.m. The parade will begin at the Newland Town Square and end at Newland Elementary School. Anyone who wishes to be in the parade should line up at 12:15 p.m. at the square. For more info, call Brian Powers at 828-733-9301.

The colorful Boone Christmas Parade will take place on King Street on Saturday, December 12, at 10:00 a.m.

Boone Christmas Parade—December 12
High Country residents are invited to join Santa Claus, friends and neighbors in downtown Boone for the annual Boone Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 12, at 10:00 a.m. The parade takes place along King Street. The Friends of the Watauga Public Library will host a reception immediately following the parade. The reception will feature photos with Santa Claus, music, refreshments and holiday festivities. For more info, call the Downtown Boone Development Association at 828-262-4532 or the library at 828-264-8784.

Local artists present special performances of music, dance and theatre for the holidays. Get your tickets now because they’re likely to sell fast.

Holiday Scholarship Concert—December 4
The holiday season will be celebrated Friday, December 4, with the annual holiday scholarship concert presented by the ASU Hayes School of Music. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. in Farthing Auditorium.

All seats are reserved and cost $5. Children age 6 and under will be admitted free. Tickets are available now at the Farthing Auditorium box office weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or by calling 828-262-4046. Proceeds will support student scholarships in the Hayes School of Music.

The concert features the University Singers, Chamber Singers, Men’s Glee Club, Treble Choir and Gospel Choir. Also performing are the school’s Brass Choir, Appalachian Tuba Euphonium Collective, Appalachian Flute Ensemble, Appalachian Brass Ensemble, Appalachian Trumpet Ensemble, Appalachian Guitar Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble I and the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra.
For more info, call 828-262-2084.

An Appalachian Christmas—December 5
Mountain Home Music will conclude its 2009 season with An Appalachian Christmas, a performance at Grace Lutheran Church in Boone. Nationally known hammered dulcimer player Madeline McNeil and fiddle trio the Forget-Me-Nots will perform at the concert, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Donations for Santa’s Toy Box and the Hospitality House will be collected. For more info, call 828-964-3392 or click to

Ashe Choral Society Concert—December 6
The Ashe County Choral Society’s annual Holiday Concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 6, at the Ashe Civic Center in West Jefferson. The concert, a perfect way to usher in the holiday season, is both a tradition and a highlight of the season in Ashe County. The program will feature both sacred and secular pieces. Tickets are $12 adults and $5 students and are available at the Ashe Arts Center or by phone with a credit card. For more info, call 336-846-2787.

Further Out…

The Nutcracker, Ashe Civic Center, West Jefferson…December 12
The Nutcracker Ballet, Farthing Auditorium, ASU…December 12 and 13
Messiah Singalong, Rosen Concert Hall, ASU…December 13

Christmas lights, art exhibits, nativity scenes and other events take place to celebrate the holidays. Here’s a list of miscellaneous events happening in the High Country.

Hometown Christmas—Friday
Downtown West Jefferson’s Backstreet Park becomes a hub for Christmas merriment with the lighting of the official Ashe County tree, along with carols, cider and a visit from Santa Claus on an antique fire engine. The event starts at 5:00 p.m. For more info, call 336-846-9550.

Christmas in the Valle—Starts Friday
As part of Christmas in the Valle, visit with Santa at the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, November 27 and 28, and from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Sunday, November 29. While you’re there, sample tasty dips and treats for your table. For more info, call 828-963-6511.

Attendees to Chetola Resort’s Festival of Lights can have their picture taken with Santa Claus for $11.

Festival of Lights—through January Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock hosts its annual Festival of Lights display beginning Friday, November 27, and ending January 31, 2010. This year, the display consists of 50,000 lights set up on the resort’s 87 acres of property. The public is invited to tour the display free of charge.  

During the first weekend—Friday and Saturday, November 27 and 28—Chetola will offer carriage rides and photographs to be taken through the course of the display from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Carriage rides will travel around Chetola Lake to the front entrance of the resort and back. While waiting for their carriage to arrive, visitors are encouraged to enjoy complimentary hot apple cider and house baked cookies. Rides are priced at $15 for adults and $8 for children age 12 and under. Photographs cost $11.

Other activities offered opening weekend are pictures with Santa, costing $11, which will be set up in the lobby of the Manor House from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., and cookie decorating from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. For more info, call 828-295-5500 or click to

A donkey stands in front of a scenic mountain view typical of Apple Hill Farm. The farm will host Christmas at Apple Tree Farm on weekends beginning this Saturday, November 21.

Christmas on Apple Hill Farm—Weekends through December 13 Christmas on Apple Hill Farm takes place this Friday to Sunday, November 27 to 29, Saturday and Sunday, December 5 and 6 and Saturday and Sunday, December 12 and 13, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.

Christmas trees and custom-made wreaths will be available for purchase, as will gift items offered at the Apple Hill Farm Store. A half-hour walking tour of the farm is available. The mini-tour fee is $5 for adults and $3 for children under 10. Children under 3 are free.

Apple Hill Farm is located off Highway 194 at 400 Apple Hill Road in Banner Elk. For more info, call 828-963-1662 or click to

Local artists decorate Christmas trees at the Ashe County Arts Council’s annual Tree Fest, on display at the Ashe Arts Center in West Jefferson beginning Monday, November 23.

Tree Fest—through December
The 10th annual Tree Fest exhibit presented by the Ashe County Arts Council at the Ashe Arts Center in West Jefferson will run through December. Each year, a local Christmas tree farm donates seven trees to the arts council, and the council selects six local artists or organizations to each decorate one tree. Local artists create ornaments from clay, paper, fibers, wood and stained glass for the arts council tree. A reception and open house will take place on Saturday, December 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Ashe Arts Center is located at 303 School Avenue in West Jefferson. For more info, call 336-846-2787 or click to

18th Century Thanksgiving—Saturday
The Horn in the West living history museum in Boone, Hickory Ridge Homestead, will open on Saturday, November 28, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for an 18th Century Thanksgiving. Guests will be provided with materials to make holiday candles and angel tree ornaments. For more info, call 828-264-2120.

The 2009 Christmas ornament produced by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce features the historic Green Park Inn.

Blowing Rock Christmas Ornament Signing—December 2
The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce recently unveiled its 15th Christmas ornament in its ongoing series. This year’s ornament honors Blowing Rock’s beloved Green Park Inn, one of the village’s iconic buildings.

Local artist Victoria Appell designed the 2009 ornament. Appell will be available to sign the ornaments at the Blowing Rock Visitor Center on Wednesday, December 2, from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Enjoy some hot cider while you’re there. The ornaments are available at the Visitor Center on Valley Boulevard for $10 and are extremely limited in quantity.  For more info, call 828-295-7851.

“Find Yosef a Holiday”—December 3
The ASU Office of Multicultural Student Development will host a celebration of winter holidays from around the world in the Blue Ridge Ballroom of the Plemmons Student Union at ASU at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 3. The celebration will have food, activities and info about many international holiday customs. Holidays explored include Chanukah, Bodhi Day, Junkanoo, Christmas, Diwali, La Befana, Irish St. Stephen’s Day, Hmong New Year, Winter Solstice, Day of the Dead, Moravian Love Feast and Egyptian Coptic Christmas. For more info, call 828-262-6252.

Banner Elk Open House/Tree Lighting—December 4
The Town of Banner Elk will host a holiday open house and tree lighting on Friday, December 4, beginning at 5:00 p.m. at Town Hall and Tate-Evans Park. The event includes hayrides, hot chocolate, hot cider, cookies and a visit from Santa. For more info, call 828-898-5398.

Greening of the Holidays—December 4
Green Mother Goods will host a holiday celebration on Friday, December 4, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. as part of the downtown Boone Art Crawl. The celebration will include holiday ornaments, crafts for kids, hot apple cider, information on green holidays and music by Matt Kinman and Josh Hayes. For more info, call 828-262-3525.

Holiday Open House—December 5
The Acorn Gallery in West Jefferson will host its 17th annual open house on Saturday, December 5, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The open house includes the release of new giclees “Christmas at Historic Black Bear Inn” and “Ashe County High School” by Raney Rogers. Refreshments and special sales will be available throughout the day. For more info, call 336-246-3388.

Children’s Council Holiday Family Fest—December 5
The Children’s Council will host a Holiday Family Fest on Saturday, December 5, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at High Country Press, located behind Mast General Store in downtown Boone. Children will be escorted by elves to a special area to create gifts for their family members at a low cost. Parents can shop for gifts with local vendors. Children can also have their picture made with Santa. Hot cider, coffee, hot chocolate, chili and nachos will be served. All proceeds benefit The Children’s Council. For more info, call 828-262-5424.

Holiday Open House with the Arts—December 5
The galleries in West Jefferson will host a holiday open house on Saturday, December 5, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. The open house will feature a vast selection of art, refreshments and an opportunity to meet the artists. For more info, call 336-246-4483 or 336-846-2787.

Have your pets’ portrait taken with Santa Claus on Saturday and Sunday, December 5 and 6, at the Little Red School House in Valle Crucis.

Santa Paws Portraits—December 5 and 6
The Watauga Humane Society will host a Santa Paws portrait session at the Little Red School House in Valle Crucis, located behind Mast General Store, on Saturday and Sunday, December 5 and 6, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. each day. All varieties of pets can pose with Santa. Dogs must be on a leash. Prints are $10 for a 5-by-7 and $5 for additional copies. Weaver Cindy Long will demonstrate spinning. For more info, call 828-266-3568. The snow dates are December 12 and 13.

Moravian Christmas Lovefeast—December 6
The First Presbyterian Church in Boone will celebrate Advent with a Moravian Christmas Lovefeast on Sunday, December 6, at 6:30 p.m. A brass choir concert will begin at 6:00 p.m. For more info, call 828-264-3906.

Holiday Open House—December 8
High Country Host will hold a holiday open house on Tuesday, December 8, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Visitor’s Center in Boone. The open house will feature holiday snacks and door prizes every half hour. Participants are encouraged to bring an unwrapped children’s Christmas gift or a donation to Santa’s Toy Box. No RSVP is required. For more info, call 828-264-1299.

Further Out…

Santa’s Visit and Tree Lighting, Beech Mountain…December 19
Christmas Eve Outdoor Service, Beech Tree Village, Beech Mountain…December 24
Horse and Carriage Rides, Chetola Resort, Blowing Rock…December 27 and 28
Bonfire and Hayrides, Beech Mountain Town Hall…December 29

High Country Press has received reports that a man known as Santa Claus is going to be traveling through our area. Mr. Claus is described as an elderly male with a thick white beard, twinkling eyes and rosy cheeks, wearing a red jacket, pants and hat with white trim. Also goes by the aliases of Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas and St. Nick. Responds well to hugs, cookies and milk. Could be traveling alone or with eight reindeer.

We’ve heard rumors that he’ll be appearing at the following locations throughout the High Country…

  • Visit with Santa in the Memorial Park gazebo in Blowing Rock from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. this Friday, November 27.
  • Riding in an antique fire engine, Santa Claus will stop by the Hometown Christmas celebration in downtown West Jefferson this Friday, November 27, at 5:00 p.m.
  • Don’t miss the big man in red at the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis this Friday through Sunday, November 27 to 29, in the afternoons.
  • Cherish a family moment with Santa on Friday and Saturday, November 27 and 28, at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, where photos with Santa are available in the Manor House lobby from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. each night. Photos cost $11.
  • Santa will visit the Ashe County Farmers’ Market in West Jefferson on Saturday, November 28, from 11:00 a.m. to noon.
  • Be sure to wave at Santa as he passes by in the Blowing Rock Christmas Parade this Saturday, November 28, at 2:00 p.m.
  • At the Banner Elk Open House and Tree Lighting on Friday, December 4, sip on hot chocolate or cider while discussing your wish list with Old St. Nick. Be at the Tate-Evans Park and Town Hall at 5:00 p.m.
  • Make your case to Santa at the Boone Mall Fridays through Sundays, December 4 to 6, 11 to 13 and 18 to 24. Santa’s hours will be 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Fridays, 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturdays and 1:00 to 5:30 p.m. Sundays. Santa will also receive last-minute requests on Thursday, December 24, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Children can have their pictures made on Santa’s lap at the Holiday Family Fest hosted by The Children’s Council at High Country Press on Saturday, December 5, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Have your pets’ portraits taken with Santa Claus on Saturday and Sunday, December 5 and 6, at the Little Red School House in Valle Crucis from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. both days.
  • At the annual Candlelight Christmas Concert taking place at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk on Saturday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 6, at 2:00 p.m., Santa is scheduled to appear.
  • Mr. Claus and all his local friends will ride by in the Boone Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 12, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
  • Santa will be on skis at Sugar Mountain Resort to hit the slopes with all the good boys and girls Saturday, December 12, through Thursday, December 24.
  • Your last chance to spot Santa in Beech Mountain will likely be at the tree lighting on Saturday, December 19.