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Holidays in Downtown Asheville

The Asheville Holiday Parade, presented by Bojangles of WNC, rolls, dances and marches through downtown Asheville on Saturday, November 17 beginning at 11am. The parade features about 100 entries including marching bands, dance and cheer squads, nonprofits and businesses. This year’s parade theme is “Appalachian Holiday.”

Parade Applications are available here. The deadline for applications is September 28th.

Click here for street closure information.

General Parade Information can be found here.

The 2018 Grand Marshal is hiker, author and speaker Jennifer Pharr Davis. In 2011, Davis completed the Appalachian Trail (2,185 miles) in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes, making her the fastest A.T. hiker until the record was broken again in 2015. In total, she’s hiked more than 14,000 miles of long-distance trails on six continents — adventures that informed her seven books, numerous articles and interviews, and speeches on making the wilderness accessible to all. This Ashevillean served as board member for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and an ambassador for the American Hiking Society. The Grand Marshal float is sponsored by Apple Tree Honda.

Other parade entries include a little something for everyone with decorated floats, adoptable pets from area rescue organizations, our Honored Veterans float, live music, performances and of course, Santa Claus, brought to you by the NC Arboretum’s Winter Lights.

The performance stop is located at the corner of Biltmore and Patton Avenues. After the parade, families are invited to Pack Square for photos with Santa (hours TBA).

For a third year, the Arboretum will partner with the City of Asheville for Winter Lights Downtown, an artistic holiday light display festooned in the trees in Pack Square. Winter Lights Downtown will begin with a lighting ceremony (hours TBA). Look for some extra dazzle in the display this year in the form of a giant starflake centerpiece, sponsored by the Asheville Downtown Association, and the display expanded to more trees.

Adding to the holiday fun is the Asheville Downtown Association’s Holiday Windows Contest. Downtown businesses decorate their windows in keeping with the “Appalachian Holiday" theme. Businesses can visit ashevilledowntown.org to download an application to participate. Applications available in October.

2018 sponsors include: Bojangles of WNC, The North Carolina Arboretum’s Winter Lights, Apple Tree Honda, Kudzu Branding, Aloft Asheville Downtown, WLOS ABC 13, My40, Mix 96.5, Star 104.3, The 828.com, 99.9 Kiss Country, Asheville Scene, Asheville Citizen-Times and Asheville Color & Imaging.