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It’s A Carolina Christmas

Discover a wonderland made up of more than a million Christmas lights, where Santa rappels down America’s largest outdoor “chimney,” and where parades, hayrides, carriage rides and Santa visits are plentiful and fun.

Visit Lake Lure and the Blue Ridge Foothills of Rutherford County, North Carolina and start a new holiday tradition that will bring you back year after year.

Your Guide to a Carolina Christmas

Get your Guide to a Carolina Christmas which contains our popular holiday map, a full list of events, seasonal dining specials, and the best places to find unique holiday gifts.

See the Largest Living Cedar Christmas Tree

December 1, spend the day in Rutherfordton and visit with Santa, shop our holiday market, interact with painted holiday window displays, watch the Christmas Parade, and listen to your favorite holiday...

Santa Rappels Down World's Largest Natural Chimney

Watch Santa take a test run on the World's Largest Natural Chimney at Chimney Rock Sate Park.

Our winter events are steeped in tradition and sprinkled with enchantment. Here are a few Christmas and New Year’s events sure to bring together all of your favorite holiday traditions.



Hometown Holidays: Annual Christmas Lighting Ceremony

Main Street, Forest City
Thursday, November 22 at 6:00 pm

Create lasting memories and kick off a month’s worth of holiday fun at the Thanksgiving night lighting ceremony in downtown Forest City. The evening includes live music, Santa’s House,  and of course cookies and hot cocoa. A special guest will flip the switch to illuminate more than a million Christmas lights.

Forest City Christmas Parade

McNair Field
Sunday, November 25 at 3pm

It just isn’t Christmas without a hometown parade. Starting at McNair Field, this traditional Christmas parade is part of the Hometown Holidays festivities. The parade meanders down Main Street and ends at Forest City Methodist Church.


Hometown Holidays: Christmas Festivities

Main Street, Forest City
Fridays, November 30, December 7, 14, 21  6pm – 9pm
Saturdays, December 1, 8, 15, 22 5pm – 9:30pm

Make memories all month long at Forest City’s Hometown Holidays celebration. Each weekend, visit Santa’s House on the corner of N. Broadway and Main Street in Kimbrell’s parking lot, or strap on skates and cruise the ice rink near N. Broadway and E. Main Street in the BB&T parking lot. Hop on a hayride on Friday nights or an enchanting carriage ride on Saturday nights near the fountain area on Main Street.

Small Town Christmas: Holiday Events

Main Street, Rutherfordton
Saturday, December 1, 11am – 9 pm

Throughout this action-packed day, downtown Rutherfordton transforms into a wonderful winter wonderland. Shop our Christmas Market from 11pm – 4pm and peruse the storefront windows featuring lots of colorful, hand-painted artwork. Bring your Christmas lists to share with Santa inside Main Street Park (11am – 2pm) followed by the annual Christmas Parade at 5pm. Enjoy the entire parade from start to finish by heading over to Spindale where it begins at 3:30pm with marching bands, decorated floats, horses, dance troupes and Santa Claus, of course. As an added treat, the Town of Rutherfordton will light one of the tallest cedar trees in Western North Carolina at its tree lighting ceremony in front of the county courthouse immediately following the parade. Ole' Jazz 74 band will be playing on the courthouse lawn before and after the tree lighting, so make sure to stick around and enjoy the music!

Santa on the Chimney

Chimney Rock
December 1 and 8, 11am – 2pm

The holiday season just isn’t complete without watching Santa rappelling down one of the world’s largest natural “chimneys,” Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park. Witness this annual tradition of Santa practicing his chimney descents on the face of the rock. Then, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, listen to holiday music, sip hot cocoa with cookies and have fun with kids’ activities. On December 10, the Chase High School Marching Band will perform at the Park and afterward, in downtown Chimney Rock.

Chimney Rock Village Christmas

Main Street, Chimney Rock
December 1 and 8

Experience a tiny village decorated in colored and white lights from one end of Main Street to the other. Get in on the annual Chili Cook-off and Christmas tree lighting ceremony. This traditional event includes a cakewalk, bingo games, carolers, and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus. Local merchants will stay open later and be ready to fill your bags with Christmas gifts for the entire family.


Lake Lure New Year’s Day Polar Plunge

Lake Lure Beach
January 1, 2019

The Lake Lure Polar Plunge is an annual fundraiser that encourages you to dress up in your most outrageous costume and join us at Lake Lure Beach at noon to start the new year off with a chilly plunge into the lake. Make sure to stick around afterwards for food and drink around the fire pits.