- floating action,
- asheville holiday parade,
- craggie brewing company,
- kovacs and the polar bear,
- swayback sisters,
- A + E,
- biltmore park town square holiday lighting celebration,
- astronomy club of asheville,
- dark skies stargazing,
- bloodroots barter,
- marshall handmade market,
- thanksgiving wine tasting,
- occupy is the word,
- dynamite roasting company,
• Craggie Brewing Company (197 Hilliard Ave.) celebrates two years of brewing and tunes with a weekend of free music that ranges from old-time and folk to prog rock and electronica. Thursday's show features the sounds of Slamming Door Orchestra and Hello Hugo. 7 p.m. Performances run through Saturday. See website for a full weekend schedule. Bring unopened toys, canned goods or gently-used clothing for local charities and receive a $2 pint.
• Kovacs and the Polar Bear's Appalachian harmonies and indie rock sensibilities have earned the band a diverse and devoted following, along with a reputation as the local band most likely to land national success. Last month, the quartet released its sophomore album, Second Sister, and it's been busy performing the new tunes around town ever since. See what all the fuss is about when Kovacs plays at Emerald Lounge (112 N. Lexington Ave.) with Athens' Madeline.
Friday, Nov. 18
• Start the holidays early with Biltmore Park Town Square's annual Holiday Lighting Celebration. "This free event includes strolling carolers, magicians, a horse-drawn carriage, visits with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and much more!" reads a press release. "At 7 p.m. Santa Claus will lead a countdown to illuminate the 25-foot Christmas tree along Town Square Boulevard. Bring your camera; all photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus are complimentary throughout the evening." 6-9 p.m.
• "Join the Western North Carolina Alliance and the Astronomy Club of Asheville for a stargaze over the mountains of WNC at the Grasslands Mountain Observatory," invites an event page on the WNC Alliance's website. "The observatory is private and offers an unobstructed 360 degree view of the heavens. Explore the night sky with club president, Bernard Arghiere, and learn about light pollution in our local communities. All ages welcome! Telescopes and hot chocolate will be provided." Groups will meet at 5 p.m. in Asheville to carpool. Free. Info and registration: email@example.com or 828-258-8737.
• "If you thought that bluegrass music had no dark secrets, this night is going to shake you up a bit," teases Bloodroots Barter's delightfully colorful bio. "That's alright. Take a pull from the mason jar on the counter. Sit near the stove and listen. This is bluegrass the way it's played when nobody's looking. It's dirty and desperate, the music that comes out of hollers that don't see much sun. But it's right, and you'll know it. Stay a little while longer, friend. You may know the words to this next one, but they're somehow different ... a change of key, sure, a strange harmony, but something else. You can't quite put your finger on it, can you? Here's what it is. It's uncelebrated tradition wrapped in non-traditional grittiness. Something we don't see much. Count yourself blessed. I'm not sure there are many who can do it right." The band leaves the hills of Kentucky for a performance at Jack of the Wood (95 Patton Ave.). 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 19
• Browse ceramics, fine art, jewelry, boutique items, book arts, sculpture and more at the Marshall Handmade Market, a juried show featuring more than 50 regional artists. Local farm-to-table food will also be available for purchase. Hosted at Marshall High Studios on the island in downtown. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
• If you thought Santa kept a low profile until after Thanksgiving, think again. Jolly old St. Nick takes over downtown for the Asheville Holiday Parade, featuring "marching, drumming, dancing, prancing, singing, clogging, cycling, skating, riding, llamas, tractors, dogs, horses, angels, snowflakes, reindeer and more," according to a release for the event. Festivities begin at 11 a.m. See website for road closings and a detailed map of the parade route. (Santa photo by Jason Sandford.)
Photo by Jason Sandford
• Still trying to decide which wine to pair with your holiday feast? Look no further than Appalachian Vintner's Thanksgiving Wine Tasting, featuring "a selection of wines offered exclusively at Appalachian Vintner for the holiday table with light hand-made Hors d'oeuvres sourced from local farms ..." 4-8 p.m. $5/free with case purchase.
• Enjoy food and fresh produce from local restaurants, poetry, "peaceful vibes" and music by The Caleb Beissert Band, Peace Jones, Pasckie Pascua and Riley Schilling at Occupy Is the Word, hosted by the Flood Gallery (109 Roberts St.). 8 p.m. $5-$7 suggested donation to benefit community projects.
Sunday, Nov. 20
• "Hatched as a grand idea between sets at a late night gig, musicians and band mates Andy Gibbon and Josh Gibbs decided they should provide the Asheville area with truly delicious, locally roasted, organic coffee," reads a history of Dynamite Roasting Company (3198 US Hwy 70, Black Mountain). "After rolling up their sleeves and hammering out a solid plan, they settled on the cozy, yet world-class town of Black Mountain, North Carolina as their base of operations. From their coffee bar/roasting facility set up in an incredibly inviting 1950’s craftsman style home, they are now making their coffee available to the world!" This weekend, the java house celebrates its third anniversary with free coffee and espresso all day, along with music by Floating Action, Swayback Sisters and Dave Desmelik. 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Music begins at 2 p.m.