All around our close-knit community, the holiday season beckons with warmth and merriment. The spirit of the season resonates as neighbors adorn their trees, sing beloved carols, bake tasty treats, and relish the snow. Many look forward to the holiday events in our region, with their perfect mix of holiday cheer and heartwarming memories in the making. If you’ll be in town as Santa and his elves prepare to delight children in our winter wonderland, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a look at Banner Elk’s 2023 holiday events and traditions that define this time of year.  

A Small Town Christmas

We’ve written about A Small Town Christmas before, as this event is a cherished tradition for many in our community. This year’s festivities take place December 1-3, 2023, at 185 Azalea Circle SE. 

The fun begins Friday evening with a tree lighting and a holiday variety show from Ensemble Stage at the Historic Banner Elk School. Saturday’s Christmas delights feature a 5K run, Breakfast with Santa, a candy cane hunt, storytelling sessions, ornament crafting, cookie decorating, and an evening Christmas parade. Saturday activities also include train rides, time to meet Santa, and an enchanting light show. To complete the holiday experience, shopping will be available on-site for everyone on your list. Sunday’s focus is on finding the perfect Christmas tree, as trips to nearby tree farms take center stage. 

For the most up-to-date event details, please stop by the Banner Elk website, or call the Chamber of Commerce at 828-898-8395.

Beech Mountain Sledding Hill

“It’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.” 

Sledding fun for little ones is just a short drive away at Beech Mountain, an ideal way to show them the world of winter sports. This municipal sledding hill is perfect for children 12 and under (adults may accompany toddlers). Remember to bring a plastic sled; rentals are also available. The action kicks off in late November (weather permitting) and runs through early March. Get the specifics on the Beech Mountain website

Parade of Wreaths at Beech Mountain

Do you have the holiday crafting bug? A new recommendation for 2023, Buckeye Recreation Center’s Parade of Wreaths will be held November 25. Attendees are invited to decorate their own wreaths and vote on submitted entries. The winner will be announced at 4 pm during Buckeye’s Holiday Market. For more information contact 828-387-3003.

SugarFest at Sugar Mountain

This year’s SugarFest takes place Dec. 8-10 at Sugar Mountain and includes ski clinics from an Olympic medalist. Demo the latest in ski equipment from the leading manufacturers and savor your favorite flavors at SugarFeast. Food and drink include a Hot Chocolate and Whipped Cream bar, Soup Safari, BBQ and Sweet Tea Lunch and Dinner. Live music, drinks, and dancing are on the agenda, and this year’s After Party features Glen Harlow and North Fork from 3-5 pm on Saturday followed by fireworks at 5:45 pm. Learn more about SugarFest on the Sugar Mountain website. 

Christmas Parades

Have a cozy Christmas with Beech Mountain’s Christmas Parade planned for Dec. 21 from 4-6 pm. The parade begins at the Beech Mountain Ski Resort and travels to White Wolf Lodge. Santa’s Workshop will be set up at Brick Oven Pizzeria, complete with complimentary cookies, cocoa, and photos with Santa. For more information, please call 828-387-3003. Just a little further from home, Boone, Sparta, Wilkesboro and neighboring towns also offer Christmas parades—refer to the High Country Host website for information. 

Christmas Festivities at Apple Hill Farm

Picture yourself making Christmas memories at a mountaintop alpaca farm. Apple Hill Farm is a family-owned, working fiber farm in Banner Elk. From November 17-Jan. 1, the farm is decorated for the season and offers holiday farm tours every 30 minutes between 11 am and 2:30 pm. 

A Tweetsie Christmas

Another addition to our holiday roundup is Tweetsie Railroad. Surprise the whole family with a 20-minute nighttime train journey at Tweetsie Railroad. You’ll set off in an open-air carriage, pulled by one of the park’s historic steam locomotives. The three-mile route is adorned with more than 1 million twinkling Christmas lights. There’s also a lively Christmas variety show, kid-friendly rides, meet-and-greets with Santa in his charming Gingerbread House, and s’mores by the fire. Visit their website for dates and times (runs select dates from November 24-December 30).