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LOCAL BRIEFS: Santa aboard a fire truck, toys for youth, holiday garden sale

Santa is coming to town, aboard a fire truck

The Mills River Fire Department, in partnership with the Mills River Parks and Recreation Department and the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, is bringing Santa Claus to Mills River neighborhoods Saturday, Dec. 10.
Santa will be traveling through town on a big red fire truck bringing holiday cheer to the boys and girls of Mills River. The Santa ride along begins at 9 a.m. Santa will return to the North Pole by 5 p.m. Due to Mills River’s size and mountainous roads, the fire truck will not be able to travel up each road in town but will travel along the main roads and visit as many neighborhoods as possible.
Those not along Santa’s Route can catch a glimpse of the jolly old elf at one of the designated “Santa Stops.” Santa’s helpers will be on hand to give out candy canes to any children they see along the way.
Beginning at 9 a.m. residents will be able to track Santa live via GPS on the town’s website and on the new Mills River Parks & Recreation Facebook page. To find out when Santa will be in your neighborhood visit
Please remember that all times are approximate and the town cannot guarantee arrival times. The best way to know Santa is coming is to use the live tracker and listen for the holiday music and sirens and to look for the flashing lights coming down the street. For all the details on the Mills River Santa Tour 2022 visit or call 828-890-2901.

 Boys & Girls Club collecting new toys

The Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County is collecting new, unwrapped toys for club members, ages 6-11, through Dec. 14. All toys will be given to children through the club’s annual Santa’s Workshop holiday gifting program.

So far this year the Club has served over 1,000 youth, 91 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch. With this, the gifts given to members at Santa’s Workshop are especially treasured.
However, it can’t happen without the help of the local community. “We work constantly with partner agencies to make sure that children in need have resources for adequate food and clothing, but because toys are not viewed as a necessity, they often become an afterthought,” said Club staff member Bonnie Gibson. “Individuals and businesses in our community make the holidays happen at our club every year, and we are so grateful for their support.”
To donate a new, unwrapped toy or make a monetary donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County, please call 828-693-9444 or bring your donation to 1304 Ashe Street. The deadline for toy donations is Wednesday, Dec. 14.

Santa Claus is coming  to town — after dark

Hendersonville’s downtown Christmas parade is moving from a daytime event to an evening procession this year.
Leaders of the Hendersonville Merchants Association, which organizes the Fourth of July and Christmas parades downtown, said merchants had encouraged the change.
The parade route will remain the same, with the parade beginning at 6 p.m. The staging area will also remain the same — along Oakland Street at Asheville Highway. Parade floats and participants are also able to use the Hendersonville High School parking lot on North Church Street. Main Street will close at 4 p.m. and reopen after the parade ends and the crowds have dispersed.


Bullington Gardens sets holiday greenery sale

Bullington Gardens, a horticultural education center and public gardens, will hold its 18th annual Holiday Craft and Greenery Sale 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3.

Greenery and locally-grown holiday plants including cyclamen, amaryllis and poinsettia are available. Wreaths and swags enhanced with botanicals gathered on the Bullington Garden grounds and created by volunteers are ready to take home.

The Holiday Craft Sale features nature-themed, handcrafted items including ornaments, textiles, botanical beauty products, honey from Bullington’s hives and holiday decor. Bullington’s evergreen gnomes add a whimsical touch to the holidays.

The Holiday Greenery Sale features premium freshly-cut Fraser fir trees ranging in height from five to eight feet. The native trees grown in the Western North Carolina mountains are wrapped for protection during transport. Also available are premium garlands in a 25-foot length, plus unadorned 12-inch wreaths. Holiday greenery must be ordered by Monday, Nov. 21.

In partnership with local veterans and volunteers, Bullington Gardens offers Veterans Wreaths. A donation to honor a fallen veteran buys a 12-inch wreath, decorated with a red bow, that will be placed on a gravesite at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain.

Bullington Gardens is located at 95 Upper Red Oak Trail in Hendersonville. For more information, visit or call 828-698-6104.

HSO performs holiday concert Saturday, Dec. 3

The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra will present “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” a concert for all ages, at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Blue Ridge Conference Hall at BRCC.
Single-seat, single-date tickets are $45 for adults and $12 for students. Good seats are still available for both performances, but they are sure to sell out. Tickets are available online at or by calling 828-697-5884.
“We are very excited to open the holidays for Hendersonville with spirited sounds of the season,” Music Director and Conductor John Young Shik Concklin said. “Bring the whole family and kick off your Dec. tradition with us!”
“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” the third concert in the HSO’s 2022-2023 season, is always a favorite among holiday performances events in the region. This year’s concert repertoire will feature “The Nutcracker” and Fledermaus, traditional carols, “Sleigh Ride” and a few surprises along the way.
As always, it isn’t a holiday HSO concert without audience participation. A medley of well-known Christmas carols arranged by Arthur Harris will allow everyone to raise their voices to ring in the holidays.
Founded in 1971, the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra exists to enrich the Hendersonville and Henderson County communities with live symphonic performances and music education opportunities for youth and adults. For more information, visit or call 828-697-5884.

Chamber Orchestra to perform Nov. 20

The Four Seasons Chamber Orchestra will present its fall concert, Mes Amis,Les Animaux, at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20 at Grace Lutheran Church. The program includes Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev, The Swan of Tuonela by Sibelius, Romance by Beach and The Swan by Saint-Saens. Cellist Christine Lance Lee is the featured soloist. Tickets are $10 at the door. Donations will be accepted for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue.


Community leaders to join Pipes & Drums performance

When the soul-stirring sounds of the Montreat Scottish Pipes and Drums fill the nave at St. James Episcopal Church this year, they will be joined by the voices of community leaders.

The annual Advent Service of Lessons and Carols, a signature choral experience that draws attendees from across the area, will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 and Sunday, Nov. 27. Doors open at 4 p.m. The church is at 766 N. Main St.


This year, following the earliest traditions of the service that originated in Cambridge, England, more than a century ago, local officials representing areas of community life will read lessons at the Sunday service.

“This service is one of extraordinary beauty and transcendence, and it’s a real gift to the community offered by our choir and music director Brad Gee,” said the Rev. David Henson, rector of the parish. “By inviting leaders to participate for the first time in this extraordinary service, we hope to share this gift more broadly and for it to be a true celebration of the goodness of our community here in Hendersonville. We pray this symbolic joining of hands can serve as a shining example of unity in our deeply divided world.”

Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk, representing civic life, the Rev. Karla Miller of First Congregational Church, representing local faith communities, and a representative of local schools will each read a lesson as will parish leaders.

Directed by Gee, the St. James Choir will sing carols and anthems of the Advent season joined by instrumentalists on trumpet and flute as well as the bagpipes and drums.

“There is something special about this service, each and every year,” Gee said. “Our beautiful neo-Gothic church is decorated with greens, candles twinkle in the widows, and the church fills up and the beautiful sound of choral music moves people deeply, some even to tears.”
Carols and anthems to be featured this year include “Advent Responsory” by Michael McCarthy, “Christ Hath a Garden” by Gerald Near, “Sans Day Carol” by John Rutter, and other carols by John Ferguson, Robert Lehman, and Paul Manz. Pre-service music will include the first movement of Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Two Trumpets” featuring Bryan and Michelle Kraak, and Paul Doebler playing “Three Carols for Flute and Organ” by Michael Barker. Howard Bakken will be the organist for the pre-service music, and Timothy Whissler will be the organist for the service.

While no tickets are required, contributions of any amount are welcomed and appreciated in support of the music ministry of St. James. A donation of $10 per person is suggested.