Upcoming events and things to do in Asheville, NC. Below is a list of events for festivals, concerts, art exhibitions, group meetups and more.

Dec
17
Mon
2018
THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride
Dec 17 all-day

All Aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS! This memorable journey will take you on an incredible journey! Believe the magic this Holiday season!

Over 88,000 guests rode THE POLAR EXPRESS with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2017 and we hope to see you in 2018! The 1¼ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot.

THE POLAR EXPRESS begins November 9, 2018, and operates through December 31, 2018.

Reclaimed Creations @ NC Arboretum
Dec 17 @ 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Reclaimed Creations is a unique sculpture exhibit created by renowned artist Sayaka Ganz. Utilizing reclaimed plastic objects, such as discarded utensils, Ganz creates amazing sculptures that visually appear unified at a distance, but are in fact separated when examined up close. Described as using a “3D impressionistic” style, Ganz’s exhibit includes installations of animals in motion, which are in rich in color and energy, to create an illusion of form.

About the Artist

Born in Yokohama, Japan, Sayaka Ganz grew up living in Japan, Brazil and Hong Kong. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. A lecturer and teacher, Ganz’s work has been displayed at various institutions around the globe, including the Hermann Geiger Foundation in Cecina, Italy, the Isle Gallery in Isle of Man, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

My work is about perceiving harmony, even in situations that appear chaotic from the inside. When observing my sculptures up close, one might see gaps, holes and items being held on only by small points; step away, however, and the sculptures reveal the harmony created when the objects are aligned to the same general (but not identical) direction. Similarly, it is important to gain perspective by stepping back from current problems and look at the larger picture. Then one can perceive the beauty and patterns that exist.”

Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo @ Riverbanks Zoo
Dec 17 @ 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Bring the kids and the camera and see why Lights Before Christmas has continued as a family tradition for 30 years!

  • Nearly one million twinkling lights
  • Countless decorative images
  • Holly Jolly Christmas Parade
  • Animated Story Tree
  • Animal Characters
  • Nightly visits with Santa (start at 6:00PM through December 23)
  • Warm memories and holiday cheer around the Jingle Bell Bonfire
  • Hot cocoa, s’mores and other festive foods available for purchase

While you may spot a few night owls during Lights, most of our residents will be off-exhibit to catch some zzz’s.

Tweetsie Christmas @ Tweetsie Railroad
Dec 17 @ 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Open 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. Advance Tickets Required. Enjoy the wonder of the park dazzlingly lit for the holidays, with a nighttime train and more.

Dec
18
Tue
2018
THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride
Dec 18 all-day

All Aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS! This memorable journey will take you on an incredible journey! Believe the magic this Holiday season!

Over 88,000 guests rode THE POLAR EXPRESS with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2017 and we hope to see you in 2018! The 1¼ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot.

THE POLAR EXPRESS begins November 9, 2018, and operates through December 31, 2018.

Reclaimed Creations @ NC Arboretum
Dec 18 @ 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Reclaimed Creations is a unique sculpture exhibit created by renowned artist Sayaka Ganz. Utilizing reclaimed plastic objects, such as discarded utensils, Ganz creates amazing sculptures that visually appear unified at a distance, but are in fact separated when examined up close. Described as using a “3D impressionistic” style, Ganz’s exhibit includes installations of animals in motion, which are in rich in color and energy, to create an illusion of form.

About the Artist

Born in Yokohama, Japan, Sayaka Ganz grew up living in Japan, Brazil and Hong Kong. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. A lecturer and teacher, Ganz’s work has been displayed at various institutions around the globe, including the Hermann Geiger Foundation in Cecina, Italy, the Isle Gallery in Isle of Man, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

My work is about perceiving harmony, even in situations that appear chaotic from the inside. When observing my sculptures up close, one might see gaps, holes and items being held on only by small points; step away, however, and the sculptures reveal the harmony created when the objects are aligned to the same general (but not identical) direction. Similarly, it is important to gain perspective by stepping back from current problems and look at the larger picture. Then one can perceive the beauty and patterns that exist.”

Empower Hour @ YWCA of Asheville
Dec 18 @ 11:30 am

Join us for Empower Hour, a one-hour program and facility tour where you will experience firsthand the YWCA’s work to bridge gaps in earning power, education, health & wellness and access to childcare.

Empower Hours take place twice a month on the first and third Tuesday at 11:30 am.
Lunch is served as part of our Empower Hour, so reservations are required.

To make a reservation: contact Elizabeth Alvandi, Advancement Assistant, at (828) 254-7206 ext. 103 or [email protected]

Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo @ Riverbanks Zoo
Dec 18 @ 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Bring the kids and the camera and see why Lights Before Christmas has continued as a family tradition for 30 years!

  • Nearly one million twinkling lights
  • Countless decorative images
  • Holly Jolly Christmas Parade
  • Animated Story Tree
  • Animal Characters
  • Nightly visits with Santa (start at 6:00PM through December 23)
  • Warm memories and holiday cheer around the Jingle Bell Bonfire
  • Hot cocoa, s’mores and other festive foods available for purchase

While you may spot a few night owls during Lights, most of our residents will be off-exhibit to catch some zzz’s.

Tweetsie Christmas @ Tweetsie Railroad
Dec 18 @ 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Open 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. Advance Tickets Required. Enjoy the wonder of the park dazzlingly lit for the holidays, with a nighttime train and more.

A Christmas Together: An Evening of Stories, Songs & Family @ Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts
Dec 18 @ 7:00 pm
A Christmas Together: An Evening of Stories, Songs & Family @ Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

Come celebrate with the Overlook Theatre Company as we share some of our favorite stories and songs of the season. Featuring members of the theatre’s performance troupe, this evening of family, tradition (and a few surprises) is sure to inspire everyone’s holiday spirit.

Presented by the Overlook Theatre Company

Dec
19
Wed
2018
A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas @ Flat Rock Playhouse
Dec 19 all-day

All new! In 2017, we broke box office records with A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas. In 2018, come join us for a brand new version of this holiday tradition.

Matinees: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00PM

Evenings: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30PM. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00PM

Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage
2661 Greenville Highway Flat Rock, NC 28731

THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride
Dec 19 all-day

All Aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS! This memorable journey will take you on an incredible journey! Believe the magic this Holiday season!

Over 88,000 guests rode THE POLAR EXPRESS with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2017 and we hope to see you in 2018! The 1¼ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot.

THE POLAR EXPRESS begins November 9, 2018, and operates through December 31, 2018.

Reclaimed Creations @ NC Arboretum
Dec 19 @ 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Reclaimed Creations is a unique sculpture exhibit created by renowned artist Sayaka Ganz. Utilizing reclaimed plastic objects, such as discarded utensils, Ganz creates amazing sculptures that visually appear unified at a distance, but are in fact separated when examined up close. Described as using a “3D impressionistic” style, Ganz’s exhibit includes installations of animals in motion, which are in rich in color and energy, to create an illusion of form.

About the Artist

Born in Yokohama, Japan, Sayaka Ganz grew up living in Japan, Brazil and Hong Kong. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. A lecturer and teacher, Ganz’s work has been displayed at various institutions around the globe, including the Hermann Geiger Foundation in Cecina, Italy, the Isle Gallery in Isle of Man, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

My work is about perceiving harmony, even in situations that appear chaotic from the inside. When observing my sculptures up close, one might see gaps, holes and items being held on only by small points; step away, however, and the sculptures reveal the harmony created when the objects are aligned to the same general (but not identical) direction. Similarly, it is important to gain perspective by stepping back from current problems and look at the larger picture. Then one can perceive the beauty and patterns that exist.”

Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo @ Riverbanks Zoo
Dec 19 @ 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Bring the kids and the camera and see why Lights Before Christmas has continued as a family tradition for 30 years!

  • Nearly one million twinkling lights
  • Countless decorative images
  • Holly Jolly Christmas Parade
  • Animated Story Tree
  • Animal Characters
  • Nightly visits with Santa (start at 6:00PM through December 23)
  • Warm memories and holiday cheer around the Jingle Bell Bonfire
  • Hot cocoa, s’mores and other festive foods available for purchase

While you may spot a few night owls during Lights, most of our residents will be off-exhibit to catch some zzz’s.

Tweetsie Christmas @ Tweetsie Railroad
Dec 19 @ 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Open 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. Advance Tickets Required. Enjoy the wonder of the park dazzlingly lit for the holidays, with a nighttime train and more.

Dec
20
Thu
2018
A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas @ Flat Rock Playhouse
Dec 20 all-day

All new! In 2017, we broke box office records with A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas. In 2018, come join us for a brand new version of this holiday tradition.

Matinees: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00PM

Evenings: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30PM. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00PM

Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage
2661 Greenville Highway Flat Rock, NC 28731

THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride
Dec 20 all-day

All Aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS! This memorable journey will take you on an incredible journey! Believe the magic this Holiday season!

Over 88,000 guests rode THE POLAR EXPRESS with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2017 and we hope to see you in 2018! The 1¼ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot.

THE POLAR EXPRESS begins November 9, 2018, and operates through December 31, 2018.

Reclaimed Creations @ NC Arboretum
Dec 20 @ 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Reclaimed Creations is a unique sculpture exhibit created by renowned artist Sayaka Ganz. Utilizing reclaimed plastic objects, such as discarded utensils, Ganz creates amazing sculptures that visually appear unified at a distance, but are in fact separated when examined up close. Described as using a “3D impressionistic” style, Ganz’s exhibit includes installations of animals in motion, which are in rich in color and energy, to create an illusion of form.

About the Artist

Born in Yokohama, Japan, Sayaka Ganz grew up living in Japan, Brazil and Hong Kong. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. A lecturer and teacher, Ganz’s work has been displayed at various institutions around the globe, including the Hermann Geiger Foundation in Cecina, Italy, the Isle Gallery in Isle of Man, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

My work is about perceiving harmony, even in situations that appear chaotic from the inside. When observing my sculptures up close, one might see gaps, holes and items being held on only by small points; step away, however, and the sculptures reveal the harmony created when the objects are aligned to the same general (but not identical) direction. Similarly, it is important to gain perspective by stepping back from current problems and look at the larger picture. Then one can perceive the beauty and patterns that exist.”

Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo @ Riverbanks Zoo
Dec 20 @ 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Bring the kids and the camera and see why Lights Before Christmas has continued as a family tradition for 30 years!

  • Nearly one million twinkling lights
  • Countless decorative images
  • Holly Jolly Christmas Parade
  • Animated Story Tree
  • Animal Characters
  • Nightly visits with Santa (start at 6:00PM through December 23)
  • Warm memories and holiday cheer around the Jingle Bell Bonfire
  • Hot cocoa, s’mores and other festive foods available for purchase

While you may spot a few night owls during Lights, most of our residents will be off-exhibit to catch some zzz’s.

Tweetsie Christmas @ Tweetsie Railroad
Dec 20 @ 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Open 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. Advance Tickets Required. Enjoy the wonder of the park dazzlingly lit for the holidays, with a nighttime train and more.

True Home Open Mic at Flood Gallery @ Flood Gallery
Dec 20 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Uncensored expression: anyone is invited to step up to share song, music, poetry, comedy, rants & raves!

The most eclectic open mic around, in a welcoming gallery setting! 6 pm signup, perform 6:30-8:30 pm.

Smoke on the Mountain: Sanders Family Christmas @ Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre
Dec 20 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Come spend the holidays with your favorite SART family; THE SANDERS FAMILY! Jennifer O’Rear, Joshua Robinette Whitt, Natalie Brouwer Wilson, Lyn Nihart, Pem Price Tomaselli Brad Curtioff are back in this hysterical show. Timothy Wilds and Allen Law law are joining the Sanders Family this year and you don’t want to miss all the new funny moments!

Sanders Family Christmas is the sequel to Connie Ray and Alan Bailey’s wildly successful bluegrass gospel musical Smoke on the Mountain. It’s December 24, 1941, and America is going to war. So is Dennis Sanders, of the Sanders Family Singers. Join Pastor Mervin Oglethorpe and the rest of the Sanders family as they send Dennis off with hilarious and touching stories and twenty-five Southern Gospel Christmas favorites.

https://www.facebook.com/events/329224851172923/

Contra Dance At The OFB @ Warren Wilson College
Dec 20 @ 8:00 pm

Come on out and Contra Dance with the Old Farmer’s Ball. Free lesson starts at 7:30 PM and the dance starts at 8.

The Weepies – Holiday Acoustic Duo Tour @ The Orange Peel
Dec 20 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm

The Weepies
Holiday Acoustic Duo Tour
Show: 8pm
Doors: 7pm
$25 – $30
SEATED SHOW
Ages 18+

Tickets & Info: www.theorangepeel.net/event/the-weepies-holiday-acoustic-duo-tour/

Singer-songwriters Deb Talan & Steve Tannen began writing together the night they met, and soon formed indie band The Weepies. On the strength of their simple yet insightful songwriting and distinctive harmonies, they quietly sold more than 1.5 million records with over 54 million streams on Spotify, 25+ million views on YouTube, and over 110k social media followers. They married and had three children, rarely touring but continuing to release their music; five records over seven years.

Just before Christmas 2013, when their youngest son was 17 months old, Deb Talan was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. She was in chemo by New Year’s Eve.

In 2014, Deb beat cancer, and The Weepies recorded the best album of their career. Coming back from the edge sharpened their skills and focus. At 16 songs and almost an hour long, SIRENS shows a band at the height of its powers.

The couple was unable to travel while Deb was in treatment, so they worked at home, inviting guest musicians to record remotely wherever each musician happened to be, resulting in an unlikely superstar backing band. Players from across the spectrum jumped in, including: Pete Thomas and Steve Nieve (Elvis Costello), Gerry Leonard (David Bowie), Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters), Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel), Oliver Kraus (Sia) and Matt Chamberlain (Pearl Jam), as well as veteran Weepies compatriots Frank Lenz, Eli Thomson, Jon Flaugher, Meg Toohey, and Whynot Jansveld, plus a horn section from New Orleans.

The prophetic “No Trouble” was written prior to learning Deb’s diagnosis. “I don’t need no trouble, but sometimes trouble needs me,” sings Steve; Deb’s vocals were recorded during her first weeks of chemo. The couple continued to write and record throughout treatment, with Deb providing several key vocals far into the year, including title track “Sirens,” captured in one take on a day where Deb really only had one take in her; her vulnerability is tangible. “We just kept going,” says Deb. “We also have 3 small children, and were homeschooling, and the effects of chemo blew whole days out of the water.”

The band was able to use their limited studio time as an escape, leading to some of their most joyful tracks ever, including the genre-bending “Fancy Things” and the upbeat “Early Morning Riser,” aided mightily by a fantastic rhythm section and horns. There’s plenty of heart and comfort for long time Weepies fans too – the deceptively simple “My Little Love,” the gorgeous “Brand New Pair of Wings” and the straight ahead poetry of “River From the Sky.”

After The Weepies had officially finished the album, and Deb was in recovery, they continued to record remotely with their phenomenal backing musicians for fun, eventually adding a cover of Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” and a version of Irish balladeer Mark Geary’s “Volunteer” to the final album.

“No one song could capture that year,” says Steve. “16 seems like a lot to release at once, but each song reflects a different angle of that long, suspended moment. They hang together like a bunch of photographs from a certain time. It was intense, but there was beauty and inspiration, too. Deb made it back. And we’re still here.”

www.theweepies.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/1072542762913143/

Dec
21
Fri
2018
A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas @ Flat Rock Playhouse
Dec 21 all-day

All new! In 2017, we broke box office records with A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas. In 2018, come join us for a brand new version of this holiday tradition.

Matinees: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00PM

Evenings: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30PM. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00PM

Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage
2661 Greenville Highway Flat Rock, NC 28731

THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride
Dec 21 all-day

All Aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS! This memorable journey will take you on an incredible journey! Believe the magic this Holiday season!

Over 88,000 guests rode THE POLAR EXPRESS with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2017 and we hope to see you in 2018! The 1¼ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot.

THE POLAR EXPRESS begins November 9, 2018, and operates through December 31, 2018.

Reclaimed Creations @ NC Arboretum
Dec 21 @ 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Reclaimed Creations is a unique sculpture exhibit created by renowned artist Sayaka Ganz. Utilizing reclaimed plastic objects, such as discarded utensils, Ganz creates amazing sculptures that visually appear unified at a distance, but are in fact separated when examined up close. Described as using a “3D impressionistic” style, Ganz’s exhibit includes installations of animals in motion, which are in rich in color and energy, to create an illusion of form.

About the Artist

Born in Yokohama, Japan, Sayaka Ganz grew up living in Japan, Brazil and Hong Kong. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. A lecturer and teacher, Ganz’s work has been displayed at various institutions around the globe, including the Hermann Geiger Foundation in Cecina, Italy, the Isle Gallery in Isle of Man, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

My work is about perceiving harmony, even in situations that appear chaotic from the inside. When observing my sculptures up close, one might see gaps, holes and items being held on only by small points; step away, however, and the sculptures reveal the harmony created when the objects are aligned to the same general (but not identical) direction. Similarly, it is important to gain perspective by stepping back from current problems and look at the larger picture. Then one can perceive the beauty and patterns that exist.”

Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo @ Riverbanks Zoo
Dec 21 @ 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Bring the kids and the camera and see why Lights Before Christmas has continued as a family tradition for 30 years!

  • Nearly one million twinkling lights
  • Countless decorative images
  • Holly Jolly Christmas Parade
  • Animated Story Tree
  • Animal Characters
  • Nightly visits with Santa (start at 6:00PM through December 23)
  • Warm memories and holiday cheer around the Jingle Bell Bonfire
  • Hot cocoa, s’mores and other festive foods available for purchase

While you may spot a few night owls during Lights, most of our residents will be off-exhibit to catch some zzz’s.

Tweetsie Christmas @ Tweetsie Railroad
Dec 21 @ 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Open 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. Advance Tickets Required. Enjoy the wonder of the park dazzlingly lit for the holidays, with a nighttime train and more.

A Bluegrass Christmas with Sierra Hull @ Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts
Dec 21 @ 7:00 pm
A Bluegrass Christmas with Sierra Hull @ Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts |  |  |

Sierra Hull is a singer, mandolinist and former child prodigy who signed with Rounder at age 13 and distinguished herself by becoming the first bluegrass musician to receive a Presidential Scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Though she is best known for her work as a mandolin player, Hull is also respected as a composer and lyricist, having worked closely with 15-time Grammy Award-Winner, Bela Fleck. And now, Sierra invites everyone to enjoy the musical sounds of a Bluegrass Christmas celebration.