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Holiday Happenings: Christmastime Events for You to Enjoy Around the High Country This Year

Holiday season has arrived in the High Country, and there are so many ways for you and your loved ones to celebrate. Each local community has a variety of festive events slated for the next couple of weeks, including Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk, West Jefferson and more. Check out our rundown of holiday events and programs throughout the area and use it as your guide for making plans with friends and family. How will you enjoy the season?

Choose-and-Cut Christmas Trees – Ongoing

Go online to ncchristmastress.com to find a choose-and-cut tree farm near you. Make plans to head out for a day of family fun, pick out your favorite tree, take it home and deck it out.

Christmas Celebration at Apple Hill Farm – through mid-December

Meet the animals and take a tour of this mountain alpaca farm in Banner Elk and shop the store. The farm will offer mini-tours every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through mid-December. The walking tour will last approximately 45 minutes. Dress appropriately for the weather and wear closed toed walking shoes. $7 for adults, $5 for ages 4-10, children under 3 are free. Discounts offered for military and seniors. Complimentary hot chocolate, apple cider and cookies will be available. Call 828-963-1662 or visit applehillfarmnc.com for more information.

Santa at Sugar – Dec. 11-24

Hit the slopes with Santa Claus, who will be skiing, riding and talking with all the good boys and girls this season at Sugar Mountain Resort. Visit skisugar.com for details or call 828-898-4521.

Drayton and the Dreamboats Christmas Concert – Dec. 15

Lost Province Brewing Company will host a special Christmas Show with Drayton and the Dreamboats from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15. This will be a fun Christmas show with jazzy, poppy and sometimes silly arrangements of old Christmas tunes plus an original new Christmas tune appropriate for all ages. Lost Province is located at 130 N. Depot St. in downtown Boone. Call 828-265-3506 or visit lostprovince.com for more information.

SugarFest 2015 – Dec. 18-20

1992 Olympic Figure Skating Silver Medalist Paul Wylie will dazzle us with an amazing ice show followed by an on-ice skating clinic, a meet and greet sessions and a chance to hold a real Olympic silver medal. Consumer ski/snowboard equipment demos, live, straight-up, traditional North Carolina bluegrass music by Mountain Creek, fireworks, preseason adult ski clinic featuring Olympian Diann Roffe, EDGE of the WORLD mini games, appearances by Sweetie and Sugar Bear, and lodging specials are some of SugarFest’s fun happenings. If that’s not enough, let SugarFEAST entice you. Indulge in a hot chocolate and whip cream bar, a soup safari and North Carolina BBQ. Visit skisugar.com for details or call 828-898-4521.

Christmas Variety Show – Dec. 18-20

Ensemble Stage will bring you this holiday musical variety show patterned after the Andy Williams and Bing Crosby TV specials of the 60s and 70s. Enjoy singing, dancing, comedy sketches and more. The event begins at 7 p.m. each night at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium, 160 Sunset Drive. Great fun for the whole family! Call 828-414-1844 or visit ensemblestage.com for tickets.

Boone’s Winter Farmers’ Market – Dec. 19

Do you love to cook with and enjoy fresh local foods? If so, you’re in luck this winter season! Colder weather may be setting in here in the High Country, but there’s a new farmers’ market in town that will keep your kitchen stocked with local products through the next five months.

The inaugural Boone Winter Farmers’ Market will take place the first and third Saturday of each month through April at the N.C. Agricultural Extension Conference Center, 252 Poplar Grove Road in Boone.

Boone’s Winter Farmers’ Market will be held on the following dates:

  • Dec. 5, 19
  • Jan. 2, 16
  • Feb. 6, 20
  • March 5, 19
  • April 2, 16

For more information, call 828-773-3677 or visit www.PHARMN.org.

Skiing with Santa – Dec. 24

Hit the slopes with Old Saint Nick at Appalachian Ski Mountain from 1-4 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The ski mountain will then be closed for the night session on Christmas Eve and both day and night skiing on Christmas Day. Visit ASM online for details.

Christmas Day Ice Skating – Dec. 25

Celebrate the holiday on the ice arena skating rink at Appalachian Ski Mountain with sessions from noon to 2 p.m., from 2:30-4:30 p.m. and from 7-9 p.m. Check out ASM online for more information.

Midnight Blast Holiday Nights – Dec. 26-31

Slopes will be open continuously from 9 a.m. to midnight over this special holiday period at Appalachian Ski Mountain for the annual extended Midnight Blast Sessions. Enjoy the region’s only late-night skiing and snowboarding! Visit ASM online to learn more.

New Year’s Eve Extravaganza – Dec. 31

Get fired up this New Year’s Eve with Appalachian Ski Mountain. Skate on the ice rink from 10 p.m. to midnight or ski until 11:30 p.m. Restaurant specials will be offered from 9 p.m to midnight. Torchlight parade and fireworks at midnight will follow the festivities. Visit ASM online or call 800-322-2373 for more details.

New Year’s Celebration – Dec. 31

This New Year’s celebration mountain style will feature live music by The Johnson Brothers from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. A fee and reservations for the indoor festivities are required and should be made in early December. The general public is invited to attend the torch light parade free of charge at 11:45 p.m. followed by fireworks at midnight. Call 828-898-4521 ext. 233 for reservations and more information.

Past Events:

Madrigal Dinners in West Jefferson – Nov. 20-21

Madrigal dinners are an American form of theatre often held during the Christmas season. Stories are usually set in Medieval and Renaissance time periods. The events include a meal, music and performances. The events will begin at 6 p.m. each night with dinner catered by Rosie Bolac and choral selections with 12 performers. Tickets are $40 per person with reserved seating. The Ashe County Arts Council will host these dinners at the Ashe Arts Center in downtown West Jefferson. Call 336-846-2787 for tickets and more information.

Pet Photos with Santa – Nov. 21

Santa will be at the Watauga Humane Society adoption center, 312 Paws Way in Boone, for a photo opportunity with your pet. Elves are offering four poses per group for $20. All proceeds will support the animals. Photos will be emailed to you unless you request a CD.

SNIPS will be selling handcrafted items and Bare Bones Boutique will host a jewelry and holiday décor annual sale. Luminaries will be on sale through the Dec. 11 lighting, when they will line Main Street of Blowing Rock during the holiday stroll.

Holiday honor cards will be available for a minimum donation of $5 each. Those who purchase honor cards can send them to friends and family, indicating that they have been honored by a donation to the humane society.

Visit wataugahumanesociety.org for details or follow WHS on Facebook.

West Jefferson Holiday Parade and Light Up the Town – Nov. 21

The parade will take place from 3-4 p.m. in downtown West Jefferson and will include local bands, dance groups, churches, businesses, fire/rescue trucks, police cars and Santa.

Starting at 5:30 p.m., downtown West Jefferson will light up with more than 30 holiday displays. See everything form trains to nativity scenes. Downtown stores and restaurants will be decked out for the season and will have specials, live music and giveaways. Call 866-607-0093 or go online to visitwestjefferson.org for details.

Beech Mountain Holiday Market – Nov. 28

Get an early start on your holiday shopping at the Buckeye Recreation Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28 for the annual Beech Mountain Holiday Market.

Shop handcrafted jewelry, pottery and woodwork, copper and steel artwork, decorations and accessories, unique local crafts and more. Enjoy free samples and demonstrations, kids activities all day long and games and prizes.

Fabulous hourly door prizes will be awarded and you’ll find plenty of great gift ideas at the holiday market this year.

For more information or to become a vendor, call 828-387-3003 or email recdirector@townofbeechmountain.com.

The Buckeye Recreation Center is located at 1330 Pine Ridge Road.

A Celtic Christmas with John Doyle and Duncan Wickel – Nov. 28

Enjoy stories, songs and tunes from John’s Irish boyhood homeland with this special presentation from Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, 259 Pilgrims Way in Boone. Call 828-964-3392 or visit mountainhomemusic.com for tickets and more details.

Sugar and Spice Gingerbread House Workshop – Nov. 28

Head over to the Florence Thomas Art School in West Jefferson and join in the fun to create your own gingerbread house at this spirited workshop. Open to participants of all ages, this workshop will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. You must register in advance to join and participation will cost $20 per person. Call 336-846-3827 to make your reservation.

Blowing Rock’s Christmas in the Park – Nov. 27

This annual holiday festival will feature free hot chocolate and cider, caroling and visits with Santa. All events will take place in Memorial Park on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock. Don’t forget to enjoy the town’s annual Christmas parade the following day beginning at 11 a.m.

Meet Santa in the Gazebo: 2-4 p.m.

Hayrides: 2-7 p.m.

Bounce Houses in the Park: 2-5:30 p.m.

Caroling in the Park with Live Music: 3-4:30 p.m.

Lighting of the Town: 5:30 p.m.

Bluegrass Christmas with Diana and Sarvis Ridge: 5-7 p.m.

Hometown Christmas Tree Lighting in West Jefferson – Nov. 27

Join the community of West Jefferson for the tree lighting at downtown’s Backstreet Park. Santa will arrive in an old-fashioned fire engine and hand out treats to all of the children. Call 866-607-0093 or go online to visitwestjefferson.org for details.

Holiday Open House at Carlton GalleryNov. 27-28

Celebrate the season at Carlton Gallery’s Holiday Open House on  from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 27-28 where the ambience is peaceful and the ART is inspiring during the 33rd Winter Group Exhibition featuring “Small Works” in all media. This Exhibition runs through April 30, 2016. The gallery is located 10 miles south of Boone and 7 miles north of Linville on NC 105 in the Grandfather Mountain community with hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

For information on artists, exhibitions or workshops, call 828-963-4288 or visit www.carltongallery.com.

Thanksgiving Weekend at Chetola Resort – Nov. 27-29

Enjoy horse and carriage rides around the Chetola lake from 5:30-9:30 p.m. these nights ($18 for adults, $11 for children 3012, free for 2 and under). Sign-up for rides beginning at 5 p.m. each night in the Timbers Room on each respective day that Santa visits Chetola.

Other events include free cookie decorating, the free Festival of Lights, visits with Santa and more. Call 828-295-5500 or visit Chetola.com for more information.

Blowing Rock Christmas Parade – Nov. 28

This annual parade begins at 11 a.m. and will stroll through downtown Blowing Rock along Main Street. For more details, call 828-295-5222.

Thanksgiving Kiln Opening at Traditions Pottery – Nov. 28

Watch the unloading of the wood kiln at 10 a.m. and make your selection from items by Bolick’s and Traditions, including face jugs of Santa, wizards and cry babies, Rebekah pitchers, candlesticks, sculpted chickens and other traditional wares. Food will be served. Free admission. Call 828-295-3862 or check out traditionspottery.com for details.

Traditions Pottery Studio is located at 4443 Bolick Road in Lenoir.

Miracle on 34th Street Radio Play – Nov. 28

Enjoy this treasured holiday story in the style of classic 1940s radio dramas. Sound effects will be performed live on stage along with special lighting effects and projections. Ensemble Stage brings you this performance at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium, 160 Sunset Drive, beginning at 7 p.m. Call 828-414-1844 or visit ensemblestage.com for tickets.

Ashe County Holiday Farmers’ Markets – Nov. 21, 28, Dec. 5

The holiday market will feature locally grown and handcrafted Christmas wreaths, trees, roping, crafts, baked goods and so much more. The market will take place from 9-1 p.m. Call 866-607-0093 or go online to visitwestjefferson.org for details.

WFBR Holiday Luncheon and Gift Bazaar – Dec. 3

The Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge will host a holiday luncheon and gift bazaar on Thursday, Dec. 3 at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock. Guests are invited to attend in holiday attire, celebrate the holidays and support the work of the Women’s Fund. A cash bar will open at 11 a.m.; remarks and lunch will begin at 12:30 p.m. The gift bazaar is free to enter and will open at 11 a.m., featuring handcrafted jewelry, pottery and other gift items from local artists. Seating is limited so RSVP as soon as possible. Call 828-264-4002 for more information.

Ashe County Choral Festival: Thursday, Dec. 3

This annual concert features your holiday favorites performed by choruses from Ashe County Schools. The festival will take place beginning at 7 p.m. at the Ashe Civic Center and tickets will be $3 for adults and students. Call 336-846-2787 for more information.

Reception for New Exhibits at BRAHM – Dec. 3

The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum invites the community to celebrate the grand opening of seven new exhibitions with a reception on Thursday, Dec. 3 from 5:30-7 p.m., with a members and special guest preview beginning at 5 p.m. The museum will provide refreshments, a cash bar and live music throughout the evening.

The museum will reveal seven new exhibitions at the reception. The Permanent Collection and Elliott Daingerfield will be on-going throughout the year. Other exhibitions on view for the Winter season include Ward Nichols: Look Again, A Retrospective of Eliot Clark, The Sculptor’s Voice, and Truth Beneath These Hills: Uncovering the History and Heritage of Mining in Western North Carolina. The Alexander Community Gallery will also feature Origins: Works by Chastan Swain, Christopher Lin, Samuel Brown, and Nicholas Osetek.

For more information, call 828-295 – 9099 or visit www.blowingrockmuseum.org.

Holiday Comedy “Dashing Through the Snow” – Dec. 3-6

Johnson County Community Theatre presents the Jones, Hope and Wooten holiday comedy “Dashing Through the Snow” in Mountain City, Tennessee at Heritage Hall. Shows are set for 7 p.m. Dec. 3-5 and 3 p.m. Dec. 6. It’s the most wonderful time of year in this story set at The Snowflake Inn in Tinsel, Texas, where the guests are mysterious, over the top and just plain hilarious. Advanced adult tickets are $10. Call Heritage Hall at 423-727-7444 for tickets and more information.

Festival of Trees at Chetola Resort – Dec. 3-6

This community holiday event will support the Western Youth Network. Stroll through the Appalachian/Blue Ridge Room on the main level at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock to see a variety of trees decorated in unique and personal styles. Enjoy the sights or bid on your favorite tree. Call 828-295-5500 for more information or visit Chetola.com. Admission is free and donations to WYN will be accepted.

The festival will take place during these hours:

  • Thursday, Dec. 3 from 5-10 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 4 from 2-10 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Flap Jack Flip to Support Watauga Schools – Dec. 5

The Watauga Education Foundation will host its annual Flap Jack Flip fundraising event on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 7:30-11 a.m. at Watauga High School. Tickets are $6 in advance and will be $8 at the door. Enjoy pancakes, local sausage, country ham and homemade blueberry syrup. Santa Claus, a raffle, musicians and the Boone Service League holiday marketplace will be featured. Get tickets in advance from a WEF board member or any Boone Service League member or get them online at wataugaeducationfoundation.org. All proceeds will directly support classrooms in the Watauga County Schools system.

 Downtown Boone Christmas Parade – Dec. 5

The annual downtown Boone Christmas parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 with step off at 11 a.m. The parade will begin at the Watauga County Human Services Center on Poplar Grove Road Connector and will conclude at the ASU Legends’ parking area off of Hardin Street.

Hot cider and cookies at the Jones House Community Center will follow the parade.

All downtown businesses, merchants, community groups and organizations are encouraged to participate.

Christmas wreaths will be available for pick-up at the Jones House Community Center after 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19 starting at 9 a.m. on Nov. 20.

For more information, call 828-268-6280 or visit downtownboonenc.com.

Boone Parade After Party for Kids – Dec. 5

The annual Boone parade after party for kids will take place on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Watauga County Public Library on Queen Street. Come enjoy hot chocolate and cookies along with many fun activities and say hello to Santa. Hope to see you there! Sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

An Appalachian Christmas – Dec. 5

Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music brings you this holiday celebration at 7:30 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 115 E. King St. in Boone. This free concert will serve as a fundraiser for the Hospitality House and for Santa’s Toy Box. Call 828-964-3392 or visit mountainhomemusic.com for more information.

Christmas Celebration and Parade of Lights in Banner Elk – Dec. 5

Family friendly activities will be held throughout the entire day. Some activities include a holiday craft market, the grand opening of the Banner Elk Book Exchange, viewing of the movie “Frozen,” breakfast with Santa, cookie and ornament decorating and more.

The Parade of Lights will begin at 5 p.m. This year, awards will be presented to the brightest car or float with the most lights, the most creative car or float decoration and the best decorated business storefront in Banner Elk.

Santa will arrive in the park at the end of the parade. A special tree lighting ceremony will also follow the parade and will be held in the park with luminaries, train rides, a live nativity scene and more.

The tree will be set up and decorated on Friday, Nov. 27 (the day after Thanksgiving). For more information, visit bannerelk.org or call 828-898-8395.

Saturday with Santa and Tree Fest Open House – Dec. 5

See eight thematically decorated Christmas trees and miniature arts exhibits at the Ashe County Arts Council in historic downtown West Jefferson. The holiday gift shop will feature locally made arts and crafts. Santa and Mrs. Claus will join the open house and each child will receive a book and holiday gift bag. Admission is $5 per child. The fun will take place from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Call 336-846-ARTS or visit ashecountyarts.org for more information.

Big Band Dinner and Concert with ASU Jazz – Dec. 6

Appalachian State University will host a big band holiday dinner and concert to benefit the Jazz Ensemble I program on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Parkway Ballroom on the fourth floor of the Plemmons Student Union.

The dinner will be catered by Pepper Moon Catering from Greensboro, which is co-owned by an Appalachian graduate. The menu will include a tossed salad, fig and goat cheese stuffed chicken breast, wild rice, grilled vegetables and either a peppermint-infused chocolate truffle tort or cheesecake. Limited gluten-free vegetarian plates will be available.

The jazz band will play a variety of holiday-themed arrangements such as “Let It Snow,” “Christmas Time is Here,” “Christmas Waltz,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and other selections. Parking will be available behind the student union at the parking lot located at 614 Howard Street.

Cost is $50 per person with proceeds benefiting the jazz program in the Hayes School of Music. Tickets are available at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts Box Office, online at http://theschaefercenter.org/tickets or by calling 828-262-4046. The deadline to purchase tickets is Dec. 4.

Annual Messiah Sing-Along – Dec. 6

The 11th annual “Messiah” sing-along will be presented on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. in the Broyhill Music Center’s Rosen Concert Hall at Appalachian State University.

Hayes School of Music voice students will sing the arias and the audience will be invited to sing the chorus parts from the Christmas portion of Handel’s “Messiah,” including “Hallelujah.” Audience music will be provided.

Student soloists are sopranos Madeline Hamrick and Chloe Lucente and tenor Sam A. Wanamaker. Joby Bell will be the organist. Students Elijah English and Mary Robert McGrath will conduct the choruses. Admission is free.

The sing-along will proceed in inclement weather unless the university closes. For more information, call 828-262-3020 or email belljr@appstate.edu.

Lessons and Carols at St. Mary of the Hills – Dec. 6

Enjoy a traditional advent lessons and carols service on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church, 140 Chestnut Drive in Blowing Rock. The performance will include the church choir and the St. Cecelia children’s choir. Familiar to Christians everywhere through BBC broadcasts from King’s Chapel, Cambridge, the service tells the story of the fall of Adam, the promise of the Messiah and the birth of Jesus through short Bible readings interspersed with carols and hymns. Everyone is truly welcome to enjoy the service. Call 828-295-7323 for more information.

Old Christmas in Appalachia – Dec. 8

Join author and teacher Amy Tipton Cortner for a festive evening at Blowing Rock Art and History Museum learning about Christmas traditions of days past during this presentation of “Cedar and Shotguns: Old Christmas in Appalachia.” A walk through the galleries, old-fashioned Christmas goodies and music in the atrium by the Shorthand String Band will follow the presentation. Call 828-295-9099 or visit BRAHM online for more information.

Holiday Stroll – Dec. 11

This celebration of winter and the holiday season will lead you on a walk down Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock. Local businesses and organizations will present this evening of fun surrounded by the twinkling lights of the season.

Festivities will include:

  • Holiday shopping from 5-7 p.m.
  • Watauga Community Band concert in the gazebo from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Christmas Variety Show by Ensemble Stage begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Blowing Rock School auditorium
  • Festive Fundraising Fun: purchase a luminary or bid on stuffed stockings in the stores to support the Watauga Humane Society

Call 828-295-7851 to learn more about the Holiday Stroll.

A Taste of the Nutcracker in Mountain City: Friday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.

Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet The Nutcracker has long been a Christmas tradition throughout the US, and the East TN Youth Ballet has now made it a tradition at Heritage Hall. Each year patrons come out to experience the magic of live ballet and the beautiful familiar music that swells and decrescendos throughout the hall as the story of the mystical Nutcracker and the evil Mouse King unfolds. This is yet another way that families can sit quietly enjoying the story, the music, and the dancing during the busiest season of the year, a great tradition and inspiration for all ages. Reserved Seating – ALL TICKETS JUST $5, sponsored by Mountain City Pharmacy.

For tickets or reservations, call 423-727-7444 and leave a message. The box office is open from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays at 126 College Street in Mountain City, Tennessee. For more information, check out heritagehalltheatre.org.

Studio K’s The Nutcracker at ASU: Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. and again at 7 p.m.

Dive into the whimsical, wonderful world of a classic Christmas tradition at one of two performances this Saturday of The Nutcracker performed by Studio K at Appalachian State’s Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s show will be a fantastic addition to the perfect December weekend and will star Avery High School seniors Tess Snider and Dale Russ in the lead roles.

The Schaefer Center on the campus of Appalachian State University has played host to the company’s adaptation of The Nutcracker for 17 years now, and showcases dancers of all ages.

Studio K’s annual adaptation tells the classic story and features the Tchaikovsky score, but adds something new and interesting to the performance each year.

If you’re sold on the show and can’t wait to see it, call 828-262-4046 or go online to get your tickets today.

For more information about Studio K, check out studiokdancer.com.

An Old Fashioned Christmas with John Woodall and Friends: Dec. 12

A perfect holiday outing for friends and family, this show will feature outstanding artists such as Woodall himself, Brian Newland all the way from Chicago with his  wonderful rendition of “Mary, Did You Know”, local favorites drummer Billy Gambill and keyboard and vocalists Ben & Kathy Bradley, along with guitarist Jason Blevins and amazing pianists & former Barter Theatre Music Director Steve Sensenig. The artists plan to devote the entire evening to traditional Christmas music. Tickets for this show usually go fast, so call the Box Office today. Sponsored by Johnson County Bank, $10 Adv/$5 Door.

For tickets or reservations, call 423-727-7444 and leave a message. The box office is open from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays at 126 College Street in Mountain City, Tennessee. For more information, check out heritagehalltheatre.org.

Christmas with the Annie Moses Band – Dec. 12

These Juilliard-trained musicians named the group after their great-grandmother, Annie Moses, a formidable woman who inspired them to pursue careers making music together.

The six Wolaver siblings are not only superb instrumentalists but also skilled arrangers and singer-songwriters. The group features Annie Dupre on lead vocals and violin, Alex on viola, Benjamin on cello and multi-instrumentalists Camille (harp and piano), Gretchen (violin, mandolin and guitar) and Jeremiah (guitars).

They will perform a Christmas concert with Joshua Carswell at the Walker Center in Wilkesboro from 8-10 p.m. Visit the band online for tickets.