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Arts & Entertainment Franklin lights up the holidays

Christmas activities kick off the weekend after Thanksgiving

Historic downtown Franklin will welcome the holiday season with two weekends of family fun beginning the day after Thanksgiving. On Friday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m., join the Town of Franklin for the annual tree lighting ceremony to officially kick-off the holiday season. The event will feature complimentary hot cider and cookies, music, great shopping, as well as a candlelight service sponsored by downtown merchants.

This event is followed on Saturday, Nov. 24, by Cookies with Santa in the lower level of Franklin’s Town Hall located on Main Street. “All children are welcome to come visit with Santa and even write a letter to Santa and put in the special mailbox in front of Town Hall,” said Linda Schlott, Franklin Main Street Program Executive Director. Cookies with Santa will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A wonderful tradition falling on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the 2012 Christmas Parade is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 25, beginning at 3 p.m. “A Country Christmas” is the theme of the parade.

The Franklin Chamber invites parade-goers to participate in a food drive collecting canned goods and nonperishable items to be donated to CareNet. The upcoming holiday season offers each of us an opportunity to help those in need.

Be sure to mark your calendars for Friday, Dec. 7, as Historic Downtown Franklin will be transformed into a “Winter Wonderland.”

“This year we will have more music than ever before,” Schlott said. “We’re pleased to have the Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet headlining our entertainment.”

Since its founding in 1993, the Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet has entertained audiences around the world in seven countries on three continents in venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and Shostakovich Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia. The group dedicates time to the education of young musicians and serves as Quintet in Residence at Western Carolina University.

Other groups performing include the Franklin High School B-Naturals, South Macon Elementary Choir, Nikwasi Dulcimer Players and John Hawk all performing at various venues throughout downtown.

This year’s schedule of events also includes ice artist Ryan McCurdy from Asheville, N.C. McCurdy and crew will create a special slide made of ice for the young and young at heart to enjoy. “This is a working slide and takes the crew around three hours to set up,” said McCurdy. “We’re sure all of the kids attending this winter festival will enjoy it.”

Free wagon rides will also be offered during Winter Wonderland.

“We’re excited to have Curtis Allison back with us again this year,” said Schlott. The bright red wagon will be decked out for the holidays and will give those riding a whole new perspective on the evening’s activities as they tour Historic Downtown Franklin. The free wagon rides will be offered beginning at 5 p.m. and run until the end of the event. Riders will board at Town Hall.

Roxy the miniature horse will also be back in action offering free rides to youngsters throughout the event at Franklin Town Hall. Keep in mind, those wishing to ride Roxy can weigh no more than 80 pounds. Holiday characters will also be roving the streets for the young and young at heart to enjoy. Plus, many merchants’ windows will feature living displays of the holiday season. So be sure to bring a camera.

Downtown Franklin Merchants will also get in on the holiday fun. Stores will be open late offering great shopping plus free refreshments including hot cider and delicious treats for their patrons. “We’ve worked hard to create an event that celebrates not only the holidays but the winter season,” Schlott continued. “This is a great family event and we look forward to seeing visitors from all over the area here in Franklin, North Carolina for Winter Wonderland.”

Winter Wonderland is sponsored by the Franklin Main Street Program, Town of Franklin, Franklin TDA, and Macon County TDC. For additional information, visit or call (828) 524-2516.

Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet will perform at this year’s Winter Wonderland set for Friday, Dec. 7, in downtown Franklin.

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