Locals and visitors to Henderson County this Christmas have a plethora of options to celebrate the holidays, particularly in downtown Hendersonville.
From 5 to 8 p.m. tonight, downtown merchants will take part in the Olde Fashioned Hendersonville Christmas.
Local merchant Mia Freeman, owner of Mia’s Marketplace and Black White and Jeans downtown, said the event has been a tradition that starts the first Friday of December.
Several merchants take part, and some will be offering refreshments such as hot apple cider, wine, cheese, fruit and cookies. A few merchants will even dress up for the occasion, she said.
The tradition has been going on for about 15 years, Freeman added.
Carriage rides will be available from 5 to 8 p.m. and begin at Allen Street. The cost is $5 per person.
“This is a chance to get the community together, as it focuses more on locals than tourists,” Freeman explained. “It helps to tell them thank you and helps us all to be more community minded.”
Many merchants will be expanding their hours on Dec. 8, 15 and 22 to make Christmas shopping easier.
Iceless skating rink
Freeman also chairs the America in Bloom committee, which is bringing back the iceless skating rink to downtown.
The rink debuted last year. Skates can hit the synthetic ice this year from Dec. 19 to Jan. 1.
The hours are adjusted this year, and will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
Hours also adjust for the holidays — from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Christmas Eve, 1 to 4 p.m. on Christmas Day, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, and noon to 4 p.m. on New Year’s Day.
The rink will be set up in the Hendersonville Visitor Center parking lot at 201 S. Main St.
The cost is $8 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under. Skates are included in the price. Discounts are available for groups of 12 or more. Parents have to sign a waiver for children under 18 or they cannot go on the rink.
In addition to skating, visitors can roast s’mores, play corn hole and other games, take photos with holiday cut outs and take carriage rides. A Santa Claus will also be in attendance from 2 to 6 p.m. Dec. 19 -24.
Freeman said they broke even on the rink last year, and the committee was able to put away seed money for this year.
The goal is to make enough money through the rink to be able to offer grants to various organizations in the county, particularly for beautification projects, Freeman said.
Several volunteers from last year are returning, but more are still needed. Positions include ticket holders, lacers and those who give out the skates. A training day is planned from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Visitor Center.
For more information about volunteering or sponsorships, call 828-768-4413 or 828-698-4600.
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