What are your goals for 2021 and the months ahead? Are they to try something new, get out more (even figuratively), and enjoy life? If so, we know how to start off the new year right!
Here are nine local events across Western North Carolina to help you ring in 2021:
Editor’s Note: Start 2021 safe and well. If you do choose to go out, maintain social distancing guidelines.
Ingles Presents Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at TIEC!
November 20–January 3, 2021 | Tryon
Experience the ultimate Christmas experience as you drive through hundreds of thousands of lights animated to music from the comfort of your car. On select nights, enjoy LIVE! performances from your favorite Christmas characters, plus a live nativity. Admission on LIVE! nights is $35 per passenger vehicle (max 8 people). Standard admission on nights without the LIVE! theater performances is $30 per passenger vehicle (max 8 people).
Learn more: tryon.coth.com
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
November 20–January 10, 2021 | Asheville
Don’t miss the North Carolina Arboretum’s elaborate Winter Lights show! This year’s event was converted to a spectacular one-mile stretch of unique exhibits covered with thousands of holiday lights! Drive through spectacular displays and see the gardens in a completely new way. The Winter Lights show is designed with an artistic aesthetic to enhance the natural beauty of the gardens as you celebrate the holidays. Tickets required in advance.
Learn more: ncarboretum.org/winter-lights
Lake Lure Flowering Bridge Light Display
December 2–January 4, 2021 | Lake Lure
See the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge lit up for the season! Enjoy walking through this magical display during the daytime to see the gnomes, wreaths, and bows. Or come after 5:00PM to see the bridge transformed! Face coverings are required. The display is open now through January 4 from 5:00PM–6:00AM daily.
Learn more: facebook.com/lakelurefloweringbridge
A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas, A Virtual Production
December 31 @ 10:00AM–11:59PM | Online
Experience the magic and merriment with your favorite Vagabonds on stage and around town. This year’s one-of-a-kind production was filmed on location while adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. It captures the spirit of the holidays like never before with dancing on Main Street, fireside singing, stunning performances on stage, and a virtually connected chorus. Enjoy favorites old and new like “White Christmas,” “O Holy Night,” “Carol of the Bells,” “This Christmas,” and many more. $50.
Learn more: flatrockplayhouse.org
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride
December 31 @ 5:45 or 7:45PM | Bryson City
All aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride! This memorable journey will take you on an incredible 75-minute round trip ride! From the Bryson City depot, journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit to 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. Tickets required.
Learn more: gsmr.com
New Year’s Eve Event at Lake Lure Beach
December 31 @ 7:00–9:30PM | Lake Lure
Join family and friends for a New Year’s Eve beachside bonfire with fireworks on the beach in Lake Lure. Your $10 admission (children under 6 are free) includes access to the beach, bonfires, party favors, fun activities, s’mores, and music. There will also be a cash bar with beer, wine, and soft drinks. Hand sanitizer stations will be available, and guests are asked to wear their masks when six-foot social distancing is not possible. Get together and say BYE to 2020! Fireworks will start at 9:00PM.
Learn more: rumblingbald.com
2021 New Year’s Resolution Run
January 1, 2021 @ 10:00AM–12:00PM | Asheville
Celebrate the love of running, fitness, and the new year with iDaph Events’ 7th Annual Resolution Run in Downtown Asheville. This annual in-person running event has assigned wave start times beginning at 10:00AM, so you can watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve and still get up in time to kick off the first day of the year on the right foot. Major changes were implemented to allow for a safe and socially distanced event.
Learn more: idaph.net/resolution-run
Lake Lure New Year’s Day Polar Plunge
January 1, 2021 @ 10:00AM–2:00PM | Lake Lure
The 13th Annual Lake Lure New Year’s Day Polar Plunge is back! Plunge into 2021 at Lake Lure Beach on New Year’s Day. Prizes will be awarded to the best costume across several categories. Proceeds from the event support Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure Fire & Rescue, and Hickory Nut Gorge EMS.
Learn more: rumblingbald.com
Virtual Run in 2021 5K
January 1–3, 2021 | Cullhowee
Stay safe while running toward a new year! Join the Jackson County Parks & Recreation Department for their first virtual 5K race. The virtual race begins at 6:00AM on Friday, January 1. Run or walk your 5K (3.1 miles) on a treadmill or outdoors. Then, submit your results at runsignup.com before 12:00PM (noon) on January 3. Registration is $20.
Learn more: runsignup.com