The WNC Nature Center has welcomed 19 new animals from seven species in the past six months. Notably, a litter of critically endangered red wolf puppies and coyote pups named Cal and Walker have become attractions. Other additions include bobcat kittens Tufts and Kohana, as well as raccoons Grace and Frankie. The animal keepers and veterinary care team are actively managing their health and integration into new habitats. The Nature Center emphasizes its role in providing a home for animals born under human care or deemed unreleasable by sanctuaries. Visitors can witness these animals, along with new adult arrivals Suli the Black Vulture and Morticia the Turkey Vulture, adapting to their first winter in Western North Carolina. The Friends of the WNC Nature Center play a crucial role in supporting the Center’s mission through fundraising and outreach education. Learn more about the WNC Nature Center.
The Twelfth Annual Ingles Magical Toy Drive, a three-day event in collaboration with Ingles Market, WLOS, and iHeart Media, is underway this week. Held at Ingles Store #31 on 151 Smokey Park Highway, the Toy Drive aims to distribute gifts to thousands of children this holiday season. Donations of new and unwrapped toys, books, clothing, and gift cards, as well as monetary contributions, are being accepted. Donors of a $20 toy or a minimum $20 monetary donation stand a chance to win $2600 from Ingles Markets, with the announcement on Star 104.3. The Saint Nicholas Project, which assisted over 3,000 local children last year, enables parents and guardians in need to register for a shopping appointment at the St. Nicholas Toy Store through eblencharities.org. Eblen Charities, serving the community for over 30 years, provides essential assistance and holiday gifts to children. Learn more at www.eblencharities.org.
The United Way ABC Annual Holiday Book Drive goes beyond mere pages, aiming to provide empowerment and representation through carefully curated diverse stories. Donations contribute to creating The Bookworm’s Den, a free book haven for families from various organizations. The goal is to fill the shelves with imaginative stories, fostering a love for reading and uniting the community through the joy of books. Contributions, regardless of size, are crucial to realizing this dream before the December 9th bookstore event. Donations can be made online or by visiting Barnes & Noble at the Asheville Mall on Tunnel Rd. Learn more & donate!
After a three year hiatus, the Montford Tour of Homes returns this holiday season on Saturday, December 9 for its 25th annual event! This tour has eight fabulous homes open for self-guided tours, along with a special connection with Montford Park Players with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater. Her family home, now with new owners and a stunning restoration, will also be on the Tour this year. All proceeds benefit community efforts by the Montford Neighborhood Association. Learn more and get tickets here.
For more than 20 years, the local holiday tradition A Swannanoa Solstice has ushered in the winter season with music, dance and storytelling. The 2023 edition features Zoe & Cloyd, Josh Goforth, John Doyle & Mick McAuley, E.J. Jones and The Piper Jones Band, Becky Stone, and Jane Kramer. Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023 at 2 & 7 p.m. at Wortham Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Asheville. Tickets: Regular $58; Child (15 yrs. old and under) $22. 828-257-4530 or worthamarts.org.
Mission Health has announced the establishment of Head and Neck Specialists of Western North Carolina, a collaborative venture with another HCA Healthcare division. The newly formed team, led by Otolaryngologists Dr. Paul Davis and Dr. Steven Dennis, specializes in complex head and neck cancers, addressing the need for specialized care in Western North Carolina. The multidisciplinary practice at Mission Hospital expands cancer services for residents dealing with benign and malignant tumors in various head and neck regions. Mission Hospital CEO Chad Patrick expressed enthusiasm about the expansion, emphasizing the commitment to providing exceptional care and the added resources from HCA Healthcare collaboration. To schedule an appointment, individuals can contact Head and Neck Specialists at 828-213-2511. Mission Health, located in Asheville, North Carolina, serves as a regional tertiary and quaternary care center, offering advanced medical services and holding various distinctions, such as being a Level II trauma center and Magnet® designated hospital for nursing excellence. Learn more.
The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) has approved a $100,000 investment in 25 local festivals and cultural events during its November 29 board meeting. The funding, drawn from the lodging tax paid by visitors, aims to strengthen community connections and enrich local experiences for residents and visitors in 2024. This marks the first year that the lodging tax supports such events, following a change in state legislation. Established celebrations like Asheville Celtic Festival and Blue Ridge Pride Festival, as well as significant cultural events such as Goombay and LEAF Festival, are among the 25 recipients. The support fund, launched in 2016, focuses on the financial viability and sustainability of festivals, stimulating new events and expanding existing ones. A committee, including representatives from the City of Asheville and Buncombe County, reviewed 39 support fund requests from local nonprofits and government partners, recommending eligible ones for BCTDA approval. Recipients not only receive financial support but also benefit from marketing assistance provided by Explore Asheville to boost attendance. The BCTDA also offers sponsorships for events and special projects that contribute to the local tourism industry, with sponsorship requests reviewed on a rolling basis. Learn more.