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Asheville Holiday Parade and More Fun November Events!

Asheville Holiday Parade








November 17, 2018 11am - 1pm

The festive Asheville Holiday Parade in downtown is a fun way to kick off the Christmas season - complete with local personality for plenty of smiles. It starts at 11 AM, so several downtown streets will be close that morning. Come early to find you a spot along the one-mile route.

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Downtown Lighting Ceremony









Saturday (Nov. 17), 6 p.m.
Pack Square/Hoss Haley Fountain, Downtown Asheville

Be among the first to see Asheville’s downtown Local Lights display when the lights turn on Saturday at 6 p.m. The lights display will feature the beloved “Starflake.” Photos with Santa begin at 5 p.m. in Pack Square. The free, family-friendly event includes hot chocolate from French Broad Chocolate Lounge and carols with the Asheville Gay Men's Chorus. The downtown Local Lights display will remain up throughout the winter season

**The same Smoky Mountain Santa & Mrs. Claus that will be in the parade and then available for photos in Pack Square will also be avaialble for photos and more fun at our 7th Annual Home for the Holidays FUNdraiser on FRIDAY Nov. 30th at The Orange Peel where admission will be by donation at the door!


National Gingerbread House Competition

The 26th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition™ will be held on Monday, November 19, 2018. The winning creations will be on display Sunday, November 25, 2018 - January 4, 2019. As a means to preserve the overall guest experience, The Omni Grove Park Inn invites guests not staying at the resort to view the display after 3:00 p.m. on Sundays or anytime Monday through Thursday, based on parking availability and excluding holidays (December 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31 and January 1, 2019).

To see the top winners from the 2017 competition please click here.






How it all Began

It all began with a small group of gingerbread houses built by community members in 1992 as another way to celebrate the holiday season with no plans to continue the following year. There was no possible way to know that more than two decades later The Omni Grove Park Inn National Gingerbread House Competition™ would be one of the nation's most celebrated and competitive holiday events.

As the event grew, so did the caliber of judges and competitors. Our panel of judges represents nationally renowned food, arts, and media professionals and the level of competition has attracted the highest quality of design, artistry and pastry expertise. The competition has merited broadcast coverage by ABC's Good Morning America, the Travel Channel, and the Food Network.

The gingerbread display has grown in more than just entries; it has become a true family holiday tradition. From the very young to the very young at heart, the reaction to this magical experience is the same - one of wonder, awe and delight. 

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Winter Wonderland at the Grove Arcade






















Beginning Nov. 16, visitors to the Grove Arcade can recapture the holiday magic of yesteryear with the annual Winter Wonderland celebration amid the historic building’s beautifully decorated halls.

The opening-night festivities from 5-8 p.m. include a Deck the Halls Lighting Celebration; a performance by the Asheville Symphony Chorus starting at 6 p.m.; Story Time and Photos with Santa Claus; and more. There is no charge for admission.

In addition to the wide variety of local shopping, dining and essentials enjoyed year-round in the elegant building, ongoing Winter Wonderland events at the Grove Arcade include Sunday appearances by Santa Claus from 1-5 p.m. on Dec. 2, 9 and 16. And starting Nov. 21, Grove Arcade’s halls feature a Gingerbread House Display in partnership with The Omni Grove Park Inn, celebrating the 26th year of its National Gingerbread House Competition. It all adds up to a holiday season of wonder in one of Asheville’s architectural treasures.

Guests attending Winter Wonderland this year also will have a special opportunity to contribute to a fund for Jones County RISE, helping the town of Trenton, N.C., and Jones County recover from the devastation of Hurricane Florence. Donations received at the Grove Arcade will be used specifically for pre-lit Christmas trees for families who lost most or all of their possessions because of the historic storm.

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Ginger's Revenge Beer Release and Appalachian Makers Market







Saturday, November 17th 12:00-6:00pm

As part of the celebration of our Appalachian Ginger Beer Release, we will be hosting an Appalachian Makers Market, with local Appalachian artists and makers.

Vendors include:
AppalaChai (chai tea)
Cotton Blossom Press (letterpress calendars, cards & prints)
Elder & Co. (candles)
Fox & Fir Design (eco shirts & stickers)
Hap Mountain Herbal (lip balm & skincare)
Red Moon Herbs (herbal products)
Spoon + Hook (wooden wares)
Wehrloom Honey (honey and honey products)

Deli Llammma Food Truck will be on site serving delicious food from 1-7pm.

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Ginger's Revenge donated some great items for our silent auction that will be held during our 7th Annual Home for the Holidays FUNdraiser! Don't miss it!


Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum








Nov. 16 – Dec. 31, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Daily)
North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville

One of Asheville’s newest and brightest holiday traditions kicks off this weekend at the North Carolina Arboretum. More than half a million lights will be on display as part of this self-guided walking tour through the nationally-recognized gardens. Transportation from downtown and Biltmore Village is available every Thursday through Saturday with a special trolley ticket.

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The Arboretum has also generously donated a 1 year membership to our 7th Annual Home for the Holidays FUNdraiser silent auction!


7th Annual Home for the Holidays FUNdraiser









Join us and share the love as we celebrate the season by supporting local non-profits that concentrate on the homeless population and those in crisis throughout our Asheville and WNC community.

*Admission is by donation at the door, you choose what you want to give!*

Your gift will go a long way to help members of our community have a place to call HOME.

We have chosen 5 local non-profits to help support this year: Homeward Bound of WNC, Helpmate, BeLoved Asheville, Eliada, & Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry's Steadfast House!

We have set our goal to raise $20,000 and we will be matching all donations up to $10,000!

We are thrilled to have kids' activities, visiting with Smokey Mountain Santa & Mrs. Claus, LIVE LOCAL music, ShutterBooth Asheville's photo booth, LOCAL drinks, incredible silent auction & raffle with amazing finds donated from generous local businesses + more!


5pm - 6:30pm - Kids' activities including photos with Smokey Mountain Santa & Mrs. Claus, games, face painting with The Page for Gyspy face & body art and more!

7pm - Dinner with amazing LOCAL food donated from all over Asheville & Western NC - PLUS Catering By Corey, LLC & MORE!

7:15pm - 10pm - Live Local Music from Leeda Lyric Jones & Swing Step!


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