Kick Off the Holiday Season at a Jackson County, N.C. Celebration

Experience the spirit of the season in a Jackson County, N.C. mountain town, where the magic comes alive amidst the lights, parades and holiday markets!  

Old-fashioned holiday scenes and the joy and laughter of your loved ones will surround you as you celebrate the season in our mountains.

Our Holiday Calendar is packed with family-friendly events, and we have all the details here. So, plan your holiday getaway today!  

Gobble on the Green  

Before you gobble your Thanksgiving meal, get in some exercise in Cashiers at Gobble on the Green  

This 5K run/walk will be held at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, beginning and ending at The Village Green. The course will canvas Frank Allen Road and circle around Cashiers Lake.  

Kids can get in on the fun by participating in the Junior Warrior Course, a free, scavenger-hunt type of activity to be held at The Village Green Playground.   

The cost is $35 plus a $3.50 sign-up fee. Packets may be picked up early on Wed., Nov. 22, from 3 to 6 p.m. at The Village Green Lewis Hall.  Click here to register!   

Christmas Tree Lightings  

Jackson County features two festive tree lighting events: Fri., Nov. 24, in Cashiers and Fri., Dec. 1, in Sylva.  

In Cashiers, The Gazebo area of The Village Green will light up as part of a lively and heartwarming celebration featuring s’mores and cider and a dramatic entrance by Santa Claus. Festivities begin at 5:45 p.m., with the lighting after sunset. Pro Tip: Parking is limited, so arrive early. Be sure to park only in permissible spaces.   

Sylva’s tree lighting will be held at the bottom of the steps that lead up to the Jackson County Historic Courthouse/Public Library. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., live, musical performances will be held before the tree is lit to become the seasonal centerpiece for Main Street.  

Holiday Markets  

‘Tis the season to shop, and you’ll have several holiday markets from which to choose during Thanksgiving weekend!  

The Mistletoe Market will be held in Cashiers on Fri., Nov. 24, before the tree lighting events later that evening. From 10 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., The Village Green Lewis Hall will be filled with special, artisan gifts such as pottery, jewelry, handmade wreaths, homemade cookies and more! Admission is free.   

On Nov. 24 and Nov. 25, the Cashiers Festival of Trees will take place at the Summit Center, 370 Mitten Lane. Benefitting the Summit Charter School Foundation, the event will offer fully decorated Christmas trees, holiday décor, a variety of entertainment, personalized crafts and more. It will also feature a Dolly Parton Imagination Library Storytime Stage, a pop-up Build-A-Bear Workshop, a football Gameday Lounge and glass-bowling and blacksmith demonstrations by artisans from Jackson County’s Green Energy Park! Tickets are $5 for adults and may be purchased here. Guests ages 18 and under will be admitted free.  

A holiday favorite for 36 years, Mountain Artisans Hard Candy Christmas will take place at the Ramsey Activity Center, located at 92 Catamount Road in Cullowhee, Nov. 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 100 regional artisans will display their handmade items for purchase at this folk and heritage art and craft show. Tickets are $5 for adults, and children under 12 are admitted free. You’ll even find artists on the sidewalk and surrounding area outside the venue!   


Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries Turns 40  

The charming village of Dillsboro will again host Lights & Luminaries, and this year the celebration is extra special as it’s the event’s 40th anniversary! Journey back to the days of yesteryear at this enchanting festival, to be held two weekends: Dec. 1 – 2 and Dec. 8 – 9.   

Dillsboro will become a winter wonderland of lights, candles, music and merriment. More than 2,500 luminaries will light your way along the sidewalks to shops and studios. You can even get into the spirit with a complimentary horse-and-buggy ride! Enjoy a performance by Grammy-nominated, bluegrass legend Darren Nicholson on Dec. 9 and The White Triplets on all four nights. Even Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to visit with children of all ages! 

This event is free. Follow the signs for parking. 


Let’s Have a Parade!  

Two holiday parades will be held in Jackson County, the first in Cashiers on Dec. 2. With the theme, “Bright Lights, Big Christmas,” the Cashiers Christmas Parade will begin at 3 p.m. on Hwy. 107 South from Cashiers School Road and head north, turning left on U.S. 64 and ending on Frank Allen Road. Elaborately decorated floats by community organizations, marching bands, Santa Claus  — and maybe even farm animals – will be part of the parade.  

The next day, Dec. 3, the Sylva Christmas Parade will travel along Historic Main Street, beginning at 3 p.m.  With a theme of “A Superhero Christmas,” the parade will begin at the Sylva Fire Department and end at Mark Watson Park. Watch for Santa! Arrive early to select your spot along the route. 

Plan Your Visit! 

With so many holiday celebrations from which to choose, why not make it a mini vacation? Select from a variety of lodging options and plan to snuggle in. While you’re here, try our fantastic restaurants and other area attractions. Happy holidays!  

Photos courtesy Chelsea Cronkrite and Summit Charter School

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