This Week in the Swannanoa Valley


Biltmore Village has Dickens-inspired Christmas

Historic Biltmore Village celebrates Christmas the old-fashioned way with tree lighting, carolers and a special visit from Santa. At 6 p.m. Dec. 4, more than 1,000 luminaries will line the streets to celebrate the lighting of a 25-foot Christmas tree. Performing will be the choirs from the All Saints Cathedral, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit. Roasted chestnuts, Christmas wreaths for sale and horse-drawn carriage rides will be part of the evening, as will an art gallery stroll until 9 p.m.

From 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 5, carolers dressed in period costumes will stroll through the village. The Montford Park players will entertain, and the roasted chestnuts and horse-drawn carriage rides will be back.

See the ‘Deck the Trees’

at Monte Vista Hotel

The public is invited to the Historic Monte Vista Hotel from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 3 for the first viewing party of its annual “Deck the Trees” Christmas Celebration. Beautiful and unique hand-decorated Christmas trees in the theme of “Christmas Is ...” will be on display Dec. 3-31. Santa Claus will visit on the afternoon of Dec. 7; pictures with him will be made 3-6 p.m.

Your vote by cash or check for your favorite tree helps to raise funds for those in need within our community. Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministries receives all funds raised through this annual celebration of the Christmas season. Award-winning trees will be announced 6-8:30 p.m. Dec. 18.

Handel’s ‘Messiah’ performed in Montreat

A 35-voice choir and 10-piece orchestra will perform Handel’s “Messiah” during “Messiah in Montreat” at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29 in Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall in Montreat. Admission is free; donations are welcome.

Kerlee Baptist holds concert on Sunday

Kerlee Baptist Church on Kerlee Heights Road is inviting the public to a concert by the ensemble Purpose at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 29. The church will provide lunch.

Orchestra stages early Christmas concert

The Blue Ridge Orchestra and the Reuter Center Singers are getting an early start on the holiday season with concerts Dec. 5-6. The program, “Holiday Fantasies,” marries a 70-piece orchestra with 60 voices in service of beloved holiday standards. The performances will be 3 p.m. Dec. 5 at A-B Tech's Ferguson Auditorium and 3 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Tickets - $15 general admission, $10 Friend of the Orchestra and $5 student - are available at

Although the concert is early in the month, the performers hope concertgoers will join them in bringing the season to life with classics such as Leroy Anderson's “Sleigh Ride,” Gustav Holst's “Choral Fantasy on Old Carols,” “White Christmas,” “The First Noel” and the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Give gift of blood

during the holidays

Despite the busy holiday season and threat of extreme weather, the need for blood remains steady. Blood donations often decline through New Year’s Day when holiday festivities pull people away from donation appointments. Seasonal illnesses, such as colds and the flu, also have a serious impact on blood donations, but demand remains high. The next blood drive in Black Mountain will be 1:30-6 p.m. Dec. 10 at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, 117 Montreat Road.

Fly fishing expo

returns to Ag Center

The seventh annual WNC Fly Fishing Expo is Dec. 4 and 5 at the WNC Agricultural Center. The Southeast’s largest event for fly-fishers, the expo will feature local fly shops, conservation organizations, professional fly-fishing instructors and guides, as well as fly-tying demonstrations.

A 3,200 square-foot indoor casting pond will allow participants to work with professional fly casting instructors to improve their casting skills. Hands-on fly tying clinics will be available. Hours are noon-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6. Tickets are $15 for adults and free for children 16 years of age and younger. Free Saturday admission with Friday ticket purchase.

Caldwell Arts seek

2017 submissions

The Caldwell Arts Council is accepting portfolios from local and regional artists for possible exhibitions in 2017 at either its Caldwell Arts Council gallery (four two-month-long exhibit opportunities) or at the Art-in-Healing Gallery (three three-month-long exhibit opportunities) at Caldwell Memorial Hospital.

Details for submitting a portfolio are available at Portfolios will be accepted through Jan. 30, 2016 and may be delivered or mailed to Caldwell Arts Council Exhibit Selection Committee, 601 College Ave SW (PO Box 1613), Lenoir NC 28645 or emailed to

Children’s rates for ‘Nutcracker’ offered

As a key component of its educational outreach program, The Asheville Ballet will perform its entire two-hour production of the holiday classic “The Nutcracker” for school children at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 10 at Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville. Children’s tickets will be $5 again this year. For reservations, contact company director Ann Dunn at 215-3728 or adunn@

The show, including intermission, is the real professional deal — original Russian choreography, men leaping, women twirling, soldiers tapping, jazzy rats, waltzing flowers and a magical snow scene. The Asheville Ballet will use full sets and elaborate costumes to create the theatrical experience it wants young people to have.

Orrs to sign ‘Wayfaring Strangers’ at store

Doug and Darcy Orr will sign their popular book, “Wayfaring Strangers,” at Black Mountain Books, 6 to 8 pm, during Holly Jolly on Dec. 4. Doug Orr, president emeritus of Warren Wilson College, co-authored the book with Fiona Ritchie, host of National Public Radio’s “The Thistle & Shamrock.”

Darcy Orr did extensive research on the epic journey of the Scots and their music from Scotland to Ulster to the United States.

Doug plans to be clad in a kilt to set the Scottish atmosphere.

“Wayfaring Strangers” is now in its third printing, since first being published in September 2014. It has been the fastest-selling book in the history of the UNC Press, one of the nation’s foremost university presses.

The book contains letters chronicling the arduous voyage for the Scots migrating during the 18th and 19th centuries.

More programs coming to our area libraries

Bring a clean cotton adult-size sock at the Swannanoa Library at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, and you’ll be shown how to turn it into a tug toy for dogs. Ages 8 and up, with parental guidance as necessary, are invited to attend. It’s free, but bring a can or bag of pet food for the Meals on Wheels food drive if you can.

Also at the Swannanoa Library, schedule time with a certified health care navigator who will help you sign up in the N.C. Health Insurance Marketplace at 6 p.m. Dec. 3 and 17. Schedule a time at 855-733-3711.

At the Black Mountain Library, the Barbara Kingsolver Book Club will discuss “Pigs in Heaven” at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4.

The Swannanoa Library is at 101 W. Charleston St., Swannanoa. Contact it at 250-4750. The Black Mountain Library is at 105 Dougherty St., Black Mountain. Contact it at 250-4756.

Celebrate Recovery provides holiday support

December is a month to celebrate in the midst of winter cold. Celebrate Recovery invites the public to celebrate the new life possible when people learn to shed old, destructive habits, to forgive old hurts and to overcome old hang-ups. Celebrate Recovery meets 6:15-9 p.m. every Tuesday at Mountain View Church, 2221 North Fork, Right Fork Road, Black Mountain. It offers free childcare and a free dinner, plus special entertainment, worship music, open share and 12-step study groups. For more, call 669-1981.

Old Fort chorus presents Christmas concert

The Old Fort Community Chorus will present its annual Christmas concert on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. at Greenlee Baptist Church, 5967 U.S. 70 West, Old Fort.