The Historic Biltmore Village Association recently hosted a surprise celebration to honor Bruce Tompkins, owner of The Olde World Christmas Shoppe, and its opening in Biltmore Village in February of 1989. Guests enjoyed hot drinks and sweets in front of his store as they toasted Mr. Tompkins and his legacy of Christmas cheer, most evident in his creation of a longstanding, Village-wide Dickens Festival.
The kickoff was open to the local merchants, restauranteurs and, hoteliers who work together throughout the year to make the Village an openhearted neighborhood where guests and neighbors can lose themselves in the beauty reminiscent of simpler days. Speakers at the kickoff celebration shared information chronicling the growth of the Dickens Festival over the last 30 years, and unveiling the newest additions for 2018.
One of the most momentous additions for 2018 is a holiday “Local Lights” display designed by The North Carolina Arboretum team led by Drake Fowler, Chief Business and Operations Officer of and licensed landscape architect. The Arboretum team designed the Village Local Lights display to portray the traditions of old world warmth, while echoing the dramatic lightshow visitors expect when visiting the Arboretum’s annual Winter Lights show. The ceremonial first time lighting of Boston Way will took place at Tompkins’ shop on the 28th.
Robert Foster, General Manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore Village says, “Every member of the Biltmore Village Association is proud to have this opportunity to honor our friend and neighbor, Bruce Tompkins. His original founding of the Dickens celebration and continued contribution over the years has inspired us all to give it our best, so we can share our holiday traditions with guests and residents of our region.”