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It’s A Carolina Christmas

Discover a wonderland with 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.

Download our ‘Hometown Holiday Trail Map’ for an easy to follow guide to experience a true Carolina Christmas!

In Lake Lure and the Blue Ridge Foothills in Western North Carolina, 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 23 at 6pm

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, complete with cookies and hot cocoa, and an outdoor ice skating rink will be open until 9pm. A special guest will flip the switch to illuminate more than a million Christmas lights.

Forest City Christmas Parade

McNair Field
Sunday, November 26 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, December 1, 8, 15, 6pm – 9pm
Saturdays, December 2, 9, 10, 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.

Santa Paws Pet Pictures

Main Street, Forest City
Sundays, December 3, 10, 17, 2pm – 6pm

Every animal owner knows that pets are a special member of the family. Share holiday joy with your pet by dressing them up and getting their picture taken with Santa. Look for it at N. Broadway and E. Main Street in Kimbrell’s parking lot.

Chimney Rock Village Christmas

Main Street, Chimney Rock
December 1 and 3 5pm – 9pm

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.

Small Town Christmas: Holiday Events

Main Street, Rutherfordton
Saturday, December 2, 1pm – 7pm

Throughout this action-packed day, downtown Rutherfordton transforms into a wonderful winter wonderland. Shop sidewalk vendors at the Christmas Market from 1pm – 5pm and peruse the storefront windows featuring live interactive displays and lots of colorful, hand-painted artwork (2pm – 4pm). Bring your Christmas lists to share with Santa & Mrs. Claus inside Main Street Park (1pm – 2:30 pm) 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 at 6pm.

Santa on the Chimney

Chimney Rock
December 2 and 10, 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.


Lake Lure New Year’s Day Polar Plunge

1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa, Poolside
Sunday, January 1, 2017, 12pm – 4pm

While the lake’s historic dam undergoes some major repairs, the 9th Annual Lake Lure Polar Plunge goes poolside to celebrate the New Year. A change in venue never dampens the enthusiasm of these die-hard, must see “Polar Plungers.” Join the fun and ring in 2017 with a refreshing plunge into the pool at the 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa, right across the street from the beach. Dress up in your most outrageous costumes for this annual fundraiser. Make sure to stick around after the plunge for food and drink around the fire pits.