Bryson City May be a Small Town, but We Celebrate Holidays in a Big Way!

The streets are decorated with holiday lights and garlands; and our shops offer plenty of gifts and one-of-a-kind arts and crafts, as well as tasty foods and wines. Our 75-foot Christmas tree on the town square is just across the street from the Visitor Center, where you’ll find cookies and hot cocoa and everything your children need to write letters to Santa. Scroll down for all events.

All Aboard the Polar Express!™ Sing some Christmas carols, and enjoy warm cocoa and a treat, while listening to this magical children’s story. Santa is waiting at the North Pole, where he’ll board the train, greeting each child, giving them their own silver sleigh bell. (1-1/4 hour round trip). Don’t forget to wear your pajamas! November 9 – December 31. This year a new sound and light show have been added to the experience. More info

Take time for a visit with the old Appalachian Toymaker, located in the Storytelling Center across the parking lot from the train depot. Watch the toymaker create handcrafted wooden toys and listen to a holiday story or two. Toymaker Schedule

For a great family experience, visit the Ted Craig Farm in Alarka for a choose and cut Frasier Fir. Precut trees, live trees and wreaths available. More information and directions. Of course precut trees are available in town at several locations. We can beat big city prices with our locally grown trees.

During the November – December Polar Express season, expect wait times at restaurants. Reservations, where accepted, are recommended.

2018 Event Dates

(2019 events will be posted soon)

Letters to Santa, Cookies & Cocoa, November 10 – December 10

Available every day. Write your letter to Santa and mail it at the Swain County Visitor Center. All materials provided. Cookies and cocoa served in the lobby all day.

Santa at the Museum, November 24 & December 1

Santa will be available to visit with children on the porch of the cabin located in the Swain County Heritage Museum. Bring your camera or cell phone to commemorate this fun event. Cookies and cocoa served in the lobby. November 24 (6:30 – 8 pm) December 1 (5 – 8 pm).

Saturday, November 10

10:30 am. “Uncorked” Wine and Train Event. Full service all-adult first class ride on the Tuckasegee River Excursion, pairing four wines with a meal. Age 21 and over only. Learn more

Tuesday, November 13

Guided Hike: North Shore Road Loop with Friends of the Smokies. More info

Saturdays, November 17 & December 15

1 – 3 pm. Back Porch Old Time Music Jam at Oconaluftee visitor Center, Cherokee. Stick around after the music and you might just spot some elk on the grounds. 828-497-1904.

Saturday, November 17

Turkey Strut 5K Walk/Run in Cherokee. 10:30 am registration. Race starts at noon. Race begins and ends at the Kituwah Mound. Learn more

Thursday, November 22 – Sunday, December 30

Evening Hayrides at Darnell Farms. Thursdays – Sundays from 6:30 – 10:30 pm. $8 per person (2 and under free). Meet Santa Claus and his elves as they work in Santa’s barn. Other activities and items for sale include: Paint your own Christmas ornaments and other crafts. Choose from locally grown Christmas trees and wreaths. Enjoy hot chocolate, Christmas-themed ice cream whips, coffee and hot ciders, fresh citrus, Christmas candy, and fruit baskets. US 19 East of Bryson City, on the Tuckasegee River. Facebook

Friday, November 23

Green Day Fundraiser. Join Wildwater for the 5th Annual Green Friday at their adult and kidzip Zipline Canopy Tours location in the Nantahala River Gorge. Half the proceeds go to local environmental groups, helping to plant trees and improve green spaces in our community. Learn more

Friday & Saturday, November 23-24

You’re invited to visit local artists’ studios and galleries during the Annual Stecoah Arts & Crafts Drive-About Tour. Find that one-of-a-kind holiday gift made by a local artisan in Bryson City and Robbinsville/Stecoah. Free self-guided tour. More info and directions.

Saturday, November 24

Shop Local Saturday! Bryson City is a great town to shop at small businesses. You’ll find unique crafts, trendy clothing, souvenirs, furniture, antiques, bakeries and more. And a surprising variety of restaurants for a small town.

6 – 8 pm. Spirit of Christmas. Join friends and neighbors for caroling at the lighting of the 75-foot-tall town Christmas tree at the corner of Main and Everett. Afterwards come inside the Visitor Center for hot cocoa and cookies, letter writing to Santa, and a visit with St. Nick himself! In the true Spirit of Christmas bring a canned good to donate to the food pantry or a new unwrapped gift for for the local toy drive!

Saturday, December 1

8 – 10 am. Breakfast with Santa. At the Rescue Squad Building at 111 Bryson Walk (Behind the Everett Street Dollar General.) $5 pancake breakfast. Bring your own camera for photos with Santa. 828-488-3681 or 800-867-9246.

Beginning at 9 am. Annual Cookie Walk & Christmas Bazaar. Fellowship Hall, Bryson City United Methodist Church. 76 Main Street.

2 pm. “The Biggest Little Christmas Parade in the Smokies” takes to the streets. This annual parade features floats, fire trucks, bands, classic cars, beauty queens and more …and of course, Santa!

6 pm. Share the Joy Concert featuring Alma Russ. 1415 Fontana Rd. at Swain County High School Arts Center. Tickets are $10 or $5 with the donation of a new child’s toy. Toys will be donated to the Swain Family Resource Center. Alma is a local singer/songwriter who sings a blend of folk, bluegrass, and mountain ballads and plays fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, and guitar. Alma was a contestant on Season 1 of American Idol and received yeses for the “golden ticket” from Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie. The evening will also mark the opening of the Winter in the Smokies exhibit of over twenty local artists. Presented by Swain County Chamber of Commerce.

December 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17

A Tuna Christmas, presented by the Smoky Mountain Community Theatre. 134 Main Street. $14 for adults, $8 for children 6-17. Cash only at the door. 7:30 pm on December 7, 8, 14, 15 & 17. 4:00 pm on December 9 & 16.  The plot of A Tuna Christmas centers on the Tuna, Texas annual Christmas Yard Display Contest, won 14 times in a row by Vera Carp. A mysterious “Christmas Phantom,” known for vandalizing the yard displays, threatens to throw the contest into turmoil.

Tuesday, December 11

Guided Hike: Kephart Prong with Friends of the Smokies. More info

Saturday, December 15

10 am – 2 pm — Holiday Homecoming. Enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas celebration in the Smokies with traditional music, holiday crafts, and cider and cookies! Oconaluftee Visitor Center & Mountain Farm in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee. Music Jam, 1-3 pm. More info

Monday, December 31

10:30 am. “Uncorked” Wine and Train Event. Full service all-adult first class ride on the Tuckasegee River Excursion, pairing four wines with a meal. Age 21 and over only. Learn more

More events just a short drive away

Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, Franklin. A John Berry Christmas, November 24. A Rocky Mountain Christmas Featuring Jim Curry & the Music of John Denver, December 1. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!, December 6-8. A Christmas Together: An Evening of Stories, Songs & Family, December 18. A Bluegrass Christmas with Sierra Hull, December 21. More info

December 1. Christmas in the Mountains Indoor Arts & Crafts Show & Sale at the Stecoah Valley Center. 9 am – 2 pm. More info

December 2. Folk School Fireside Sale. Shop for holiday gifts made by local and regional artists. 800-365-5724. More info

December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22. Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries 2,500 luminaries light your way to shops and studios, carolers, holiday treats, live music and a visit with Santa. More info

Come enjoy our crisp, mountain air and breathe in some holiday spirit!

Sponsors of Bryson City Chamber of Commerce Events

Bryson City - Swain County
Chamber of Commerce

210 Main Street
P.O. Box 509
Bryson City, NC 28713

Karen Proctor Wilmot
Executive Director

800-867-9246 toll-free

828-488-3681 local

828-488-6858 fax

Free 2019 Travel Guide to the Smokies — Includes the Official 2019 All Aboard for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.