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FOREST CITY — Come celebrate the holidays with the town of Forest City.

For years Forest City has been known as a “Hallmark Christmas” movie set during the holiday season. In fact, RomanticAsheville.com calls it the No. 1 Christmas town in the greater Asheville area and the No. 2 place to see Christmas lights in Western North Carolina.

The town kicks off the holiday season Thanksgiving night, Nov. 25, with the annual tree lighting ceremony near the fountain. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. and features live music from the local quartet, “In His Glory.” At 7 p.m., Mayor Steve Holland and his special guest will flip the switch to turn on over 1 million Christmas lights.

The ice-skating rink will be open. Ice-skating is $8 per person and includes skates. Many of the Main Street merchants will be open, so come out, support local, and get an early start on your holiday shopping. New this year, Main Street will become a pedestrian walkway on Thanksgiving. Main Street will be closed to traffic and parking from Broadway to Church streets beginning at 10 a.m. People attending the tree lighting are asked to park in the municipal parking lots between Main and Trade streets, the grassy area across from First Baptist Church, and around POPS. Main Street will reopen at 9 p.m.

On Sunday, Nov. 28, the Forest City Merchants Association and the town of Forest City present the Forest City Parade at 3 p.m. Applications for the parade are being accepted through Monday, Nov. 22. There is no entry fee for the parade, but everyone is asked to complete an application. With an estimated 100 units, this parade is always a crowd pleaser. The parade lines up at McNair Stadium and travels East on Main Street to the First United Methodist Church. There will be no parking allowed along the parade route.

Beginning on Friday, Dec. 3, the town kicks off the weekend Hometown Holiday Festivities. On Fridays through Dec. 17, enjoy carriage rides, hayrides and ice-skating! Reserve your own, private, horse-drawn carriage for a ride under the lights along historic Main Street. Visit www.exploreforestcity.com beginning Nov. 29 at 12 p.m. to make reservations. Carriages can seat 4 adults or fewer adults plus additional children. Carriages are $40 for 15 min. Carriages load in Huntley Street behind the POPS concession stand. Hayrides run from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Tickets are $3 per person. The hayride wagon loads in front of Main Street Meetings, 108 East Main Street. Ice-skating is from 6 p.m.-until. Cost is $8 and includes skates.

On Saturdays, Dec. 4 through Dec. 18, enjoy carriage rides and ice-skating! Reserve your own, private, horse-drawn carriage for a ride under the lights along historic Main Street.

Walk through a winter wonderland inside POPS and get a family picture inside the largest lighted ornament in the region. And don’t forget to check out the lighted tree inside POPS. It’s grown a few feet since last year. Explore Forest City Main Street Association will be selling hot chocolate, cider and coffee at the POPS concession stand on Friday and Saturday nights.

Visitors entering the town from U.S. Highway 74 at exit 182 will notice new Christmas displays at the Thermal Belt Rail Trail Pine Street Trailhead. New displays are also in the roundabout at Park Square near the Park Square Trailhead.

While in Forest City, make sure to visit the local restaurants and shops on historic Main Street. Grab a bite to eat, shop for unique Christmas gifts, and view the decorated storefront windows!

Lights are on each night Thanksgiving, Nov. 25 through Sunday, Jan. 2 and are on from 5 p.m.-11 p.m.

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