Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mountain Spirits: Fundraising Beer Tasting at Hops and Vines in Asheville

November 21, 4 - 8 PM at Hops and Vines, 797 Haywood Rd, Ste 100 in Asheville NC - Homebrews Fundraiser for Francine Delany New School for Children.  Delicious homebrews donated by Alex Buerckholtz, Rob Wise, and Brian Pesci. 

Alex will be pouring his German style Alt, Rob his Cider and Brian his Irish Stout and hopped up Amber. There will be some snacks and non-alcoholic beverages provided plus a homebrew and beer themed raffle and other prizes from local businesses. All of your contributions for the beer and raffle tickets will help decrease the cost per student for the upcoming field trip to the Outer Banks and provide partial scholarships. Enjoy some great homebrew while supporting such a memorable trip for youngsters. 

Every fall the 6th graders of Francine Delany New School for Children take a four day field trip to the Outer Banks to participate in a program where they learn about ocean, maritime forest, and sound by actually going in and doing research. The field trip is such an enriching, educational experience, but is expensive.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Asheville Rings in the Holiday Season this Saturday

November 22, 2014   Asheville Holiday Parade   The 68th Annual Asheville NC Holiday Parade, presented by Bojangles, rolls through downtown Asheville beginning at 11 AM. The parade starts on Biltmore Avenue near South Charlotte Street, makes a left on Patton Avenue, and ends at French Broad Avenue. Caleb Johnson, winner of 2014 American Idol and Asheville native will be grand marshal, in a float sponsored by Mission Health. Bojangles will have food and beverages available for sale along the parade route.

JingleFest   Beginning at 12 PM at the US Cellular Center (Civic Center), JingleFest kicks off with nonstop entertainment with performances from many of the groups that participated in the parade, inflatables and bouncy houses, kid’s activities, and of course, photos with Santa. A handmade holiday craft market will also be held in the concourse area, featuring local crafters and artisans. Parade Grand Marshal, Caleb Johnson, will stop by for a meet and greet with area fans and sign autographs.  


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday Gift Ideas: Golf Accessories from The Smky Mountain Country Club

Shop online or stop by the pro shop at the Smoky Mountain Country Club, 1300 Conleys Creek Road in Whittier NC.

  • SMCC Logo Shirts, Hats,Visors, Towels and Balls
  • Individual & Multi-Round Gift Certificates
  • Individual & Multi-Lesson Gift Certificates

For more information about Whittier  go to the 

Monday, November 17, 2014

31st Annual Festival of Lights and Luminaries in Dillsboro NC

The year was 1983. A clear mountain night was filled with stars echoed by twinkling lights set around all the downtown Dillsboro businesses. No shops were open, and there were no electric lights - just the simple twinkling lights, the luminaries. Residents of the area drove through the town or walked along the streets. On that first beautiful night of Luminaries with the moon and stars shining above,  the streets of Dillsboro were all aglow. The next morning Dillsboro was the talk of the mountains.  A tradition was born.

And so on this, the 31st Festival of Lights and Luminaries, “Follow the Star” to the historic town of Dillsboro, NC once more to experience the spirit of Christmas. On the first Friday and Saturday of December as well as the second Friday and Saturday from 5 PM to 9 PM, there will be thousands of white lights adorning the historic buildings, while the flickering flames of luminaries cast soft shadows along the streets. Excitement will abound as the merchants of Dillsboro open their doors and hearts to the community. 

Each night of the Festival shops will stay open long into the night providing free refreshments as musicians and singers perform at individual shops. The clip-clop of hooves will be heard in the streets as guests enjoy old-fashioned horse and buggy rides. 

Festival goers can purchase Christmas trees, greenery and wreaths in the yard of Nancy Tut’s Christmas Shop. Children may share their wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Workshop in Dillsboro’s Town Hall. With retail shops offering a variety of quality arts and crafts, unique gifts, clothing, gourmet foods and wine, and specialty Christmas items, the festival also provides a unique holiday shopping experience.

And still, above all the fun and splendor will be the Star, leading the way to a live nativity scene at Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church. Nestled in the center of town, the Church invites all to “Follow the Star” and return to the town of Bethlehem on the glorious night that started it all.  Look carefully and you may see Mary atop a donkey, as she and Joseph make their way through town, followed by the Wisemen. The church will begin the walk though the Nativity at 6:30 PM and will also open the Fellowship Hall for a warm break from the cold with refreshments.

Friday, December 5, is Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College Night. The WCU Holiday Dancers will kickoff the Festival activities at 5:30 PM by performing “Happy Holidays” on Front Street. The dancers are led by Karyn Tomczak, a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette and director of WCU’s dance program.

Claymates will offer a free paint-your-own ornament (one per customer while supplies last). The Jackson County Green Energy Park will have a Gallery show, demonstration and Christmas sale. Dillsboro Merchants will donate a percentage of their sales on College Night to The Christmas Connection, which provides new toys and clothing for children of families in Jackson County who need assistance during the holidays. Festival attendees are also invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to The Christmas Connection. There will be several collection boxes throughout the town. 

WCU’s Staff Senate will also be selling WCU 125th Anniversary ornaments in front of Nancy Tut’s Christmas Shop. Proceeds will support student scholarships. 

Free parking and shuttle transportation for the event will be available at Monteith Park each night of the festival. Come on out, bring your sweetheart, your friends or the family and stroll among the lights illuminating this special mountain town and start your holiday full of good cheer. Sing along with carolers, take the children to see Santa Claus and have some hot chocolate or hot cider. All the restaurants will be open, so come for an early family meal and then join in the festivities. 

Dillsboro NC is located in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina at the intersection of US Highways 19/74 and 441, 45 minutes west of Asheville and 20 minutes from Franklin, Cherokee or Bryson City. For more information, call the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce call 1-800-962-1911 or visit

a special thanks to Amy Ammons Garza and Catch the Spirit of Appalachia for
providing the news release and information for this post

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NEWSMAKERS: The Future of WNC's National Forests

submitted by Carolina Public Press

First up:

The Future of WNC's National Forests
Thursday, Nov. 13
9:30-10:30 a.m.
Handmade in America
125 S Lexington Ave #101, Asheville

Featuring a live interview and public Q&A with:
Jack Igelman, Carolina Public Press
Kristin Bail, National Forests of NC
Kevin Colburn, American Whitewater
Hugh Irwin, The Wilderness Society
Gordon Warburton, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

NEWSMAKERS is a new live interview and public Q&A series from Carolina Public Press to feature smart, nonpartisan conversation between top local, regional and statewide journalists and people making and influencing the news.

This forum will discuss the future of the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests which are – for the first time in 20 years – undergoing an extensive re-planning process. This process – which will ultimately oversee more than 1 million acres in 18 mountain counties using a process that has been largely untested on the East Coast – will have innumerable impacts on Western North Carolina’s residents, economies and environment.

The forum coincides with a month-long reporting series from Carolina Public Press. In Forest Lookouts, Carolina Public Press will pull back the layers of bureaucracy to report on the plan’s players and leaders, analyze the plan’s inception and implementation, find what community leaders, elected officials and conservationists think are the biggest issues facing the forests and explore the best ways to manage the forest for future generations — all to help residents across North Carolina understand what’s going on and how to participate.

Reserve your seat at this free and public forum today. Questions? Write or call 828-279-0949.

Monday, November 10, 2014

WCU (Western Carolina University hosts Native American Expo

November 10 - 12, 2014   Native American Expo   The fifth annual Native American Expo at Western Carolina University including a series of events and presentations centered on Native American values, traditions and culture. 

The Native American Expo provides a venue for the campus community to learn more about Native American identity. It also provides an opportunity for participants to engage in dialogue about community, family, and societal roles/expectations of various Native American tribes. 

For more information on the Native American Expo, contact Intercultural Affairs at or (828) 227-2276. 

 Western Carolina University is located in Cullowhee NC just north of Sylva. The school and its facilities offer a variety of events for both students and the public. Check the WCU event calendar here


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Asheville Cinema Festival Returns for a 4th Year

November 6 - 9, 2014    Asheville Cinema Festival   This is Asheville's 4th annual festival and offers 40 films including a mix of feature-length movies and shorts. Downtown Asheville viewing venues are the Asheville Community Theatre, Altamont Theatre, The Fine Arts Theatre and the Masonic Temple theater. 

Opening Night Film Thursday Screening: “The Imitation Game” - $25 (Price includes the after party located at the Century Room of Pack’s Tavern where you will receive complimentary appetizers and a cash bar and Previews of the slate of films with be shown).  Additionally, there will be a stand up performance by Tom DiMenna, one of the filmmakers whose film, “Bologna Warrior” is included in the line-up.

Closing Night Film: Sunday Screening “The Face of Love”  stars Annette Bening, Ed Harris and Robin Williams,  which was one of Robin Williams’ last films, a film about love wrapped in mystery. It will screen on Sunday, November 8th @ 7pm at the Asheville Community Theatre. All the films slated for this year’s festival whether documentary, animation, narrative drama, short films, student films or comedy promise to make you
laugh, make you cry, scare you or make you think.  $10. All other screening tickets are $8, $5 for students. VIP passes available.

VIP PASSES: One VIP Pass = $100 Two VIP Passes = $175 The VIP Pass benefits include: 1. A Guaranteed seat for The Opening and Closing Night Films. 2. The Opening Night Film Reception at the Century Room at Pack’s Tavern with complimentary appetizers and a cash bar. 3. The 2014 Award’s Party hosted by Strada Restaurant in downtown Asheville on Saturday night, November 8th with Strada providing appetizers and a cash bar. ACF will occupy the entire restaurant for the unveiling and presentation of ‘Mythosa, the Godd.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fall Trout Fishing in the Smokies

November 7 - 9. 2014   The Rumble in the Rhododendron Fly Fishing Tournament   $10,000 in prize money awarded to 1st place team ($5,000), 2nd place team ($3,000) and 3rd place team ($2,000) 

This two person team fly fishing competition is held on the 2.2 miles of Trophy, Catch-and-Release water on the Cherokee Reservation. A modified fips mouche format will be used with a tag out system being incorporated as only one team member may fish at a time. 

Fishing sessions are three hours long. Registration fee includes tournament registration for two people, competitor swag, several meals during the competition and more.

For Cherokee lodging, information and rentals  visit the Cherokee NC Guide. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Final Spots of Fall Leaf Color in Lower Elevations

Final Leaf Color Report for 2014 Season: YES - there is still some fall color! Although the unexpected and early snow caused closures on the Parkway and parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along with taking down most of the remaining fall leaves, color can still be seen in many valleys and the lowest elevations. You will find the most of the lingering color in the Chimney Rock and Lake James areas and the southwest mountains. 

Get links for details and photos on the NC Mountain News Guide.