Asheville holidays feature expanded Winter Lights Downtown and ‘upcycled’ holiday wreaths

The Winter Lights Downtown display in Pack Square Park West features a sequence of 7 colors shining on 8 trees.

Asheville’s holiday season sparkles a little brighter this year, accented by some fresh décor.

The City of Asheville is pleased to announce that its Winter Lights Downtown partnership with The N.C Arboretum will not only continue for a second year, but also expand. The City is also working with the Arboretum and the Asheville Downtown Association to refresh, and reimagine if you will, the decades-old wreath decorations that hang on Asheville’s lampposts during the holidays.


There are volunteer opportunities to help with the wreath transformation project. Yes, you can help decorate the wreaths used to add a festive flavor to Asheville.


Here is need-to-know information and how to get involved.


Winter Lights Downtown

For a second 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 Park near the Vance Monument and the Hoss Haley Fountain. Winter Lights Downtown will begin with a lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. Nov. 18, warmed by free hot chocolate from the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Look for some extra dazzle in the display this year in the form of a giant snowflake centerpiece and the display expanded to more trees.


The date coincides with the Asheville Holiday Parade, produced by the Asheville Downtown Association and presented by Bojangles, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., also on Nov. 18, making for a festive day – and night. This year’s parade theme is “Holiday Magic” and the Grand Marshal is WWE Hall of Fame inductee Beth Copeland. The fun continues after the parade with free photos with Santa and other holiday entertainment at Pack Square. A downtown holiday shopping program will also be launched on that date. (Stay tuned for details!)


Throughout the holiday season, downtown businesses will decorate their windows in keeping with the “Holiday Magic” theme. The Asheville Downtown Association holds a contest and winning windows will be announced Dec. 6. More information will be available at


Winter Lights Downtown will be on display nightly through mid-January 2018. Winter Lights Downtown serves as a bookend to The N.C. Arboretum’s own holiday display, Winter Lights, running nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 17 through Dec. 31. This outdoor walking tour of the Arboretum’s gardens dressed in glowing landscapes returns this year with lower, more family-friendly pricing and new nature-themed displays. Find out more at


“Partnering with the City of Asheville allows us to further expand our connection with the local community beyond the Arboretum’s 434-acre property,” said Arboretum Executive Director George Briggs. “We are excited for the opportunity to collaborate with the City again and share the joy of Winter Lights with locals and visitors alike.”


Reimagined wreaths and volunteer opportunities

The City’s wreaths will be “upcycled” for this holiday season, refurbished with a new and improved look. And you can volunteer to help decorate the new wreaths! The wreaths are 4 feet in diameter and there are 127 of them. Join in the wreath making fun!


Click here to sign up for one of the volunteer decorating shifts:

  •         Oct. 27, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.
  •         Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to noon and noon to 2 p.m.
  •         Nov. 4, 10 a.m. to noon and noon to 2 p.m.

The wreath refurbishment will take place at 137 Glenn Bridge Road in Arden. Some light lifting is required. Volunteers who participate in three separate Winter Lights shifts (including the wreath refresh opportunities) will be given two free tickets to Winter Lights at the Arboretum. For more details contact the Arboretum’s Volunteer & Guest Services Coordinator Cat Dillard at 828-665-2492, Ext. 219, or


Look for the newly refurbished wreaths to be installed on lamp posts along the Asheville Holiday Parade route the week of Nov. 13. The wreaths will be put up in other downtown areas the week of Nov. 27 and then the week of Dec. 4 in West Asheville.


West Asheville holiday activities

In addition to the refreshed wreaths, businesses in West Asheville are having a holiday window decorating contest. Windows will be complete by Dec. 1 and judged thereafter. Winners will receive awards at the West Asheville Business Association holiday event, open to the public, on Dec. 17. Find out more at

For more information on all of these activities, contact Asheville Downtown Development Specialist Dana Frankel at or 828-251-4051.