Stina's picks

A point in the right direction
By Stina Sieg | Nov 26, 2012
Photo by: Stina Sieg This pooch, seen at last year's Christmas parade in Maggie Valley, is wondering how it became Christmas again so soon. Are you? Ready or not, the county's Christmas parades are being held this week and next.

How did this happen? How did it become Christmas already — a month early? Maybe if I had a bunch of little ones with big expectations for pricey presents I’d be kind of bothered by the fact that the holiday has already taken hold in Haywood. But as it is, I kind of like it. I’m glancing out The Mountaineer’s window right now and at the lit-up, bunting-wrapped light poles that line Waynesville’s Main Street. They make me happy, as does the long list of holiday events coming up oh so quickly around here. If it weren’t for those barking dogs and Alvin and the Chipmunks singing the world’s worst yuletide tunes on the radio, this might just be my favorite time of year. Here are a few of my choices for way-before-Christmas events going on in the next week or so.

BR warms up winter
OK, the opener of the Balsam Range Winter Concert Series isn’t technically a holiday event, but I’m guessing no one’s going to complain about it being on this list. For the third straight year, the biggest band in little Haywood County is hosting five months of music from the Colonial Theatre in Canton. At 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, the series is kicking off with Nashville singer/songwriter Shawn Camp, whose tunes are eclectic as the long list of musicians with whom he’s worked. Expect solo songs from Camp and BR, as well as a fair amount of on-stage jamming, too. If the show is anything like those from previous years, a fired-up crowd and a standing ovation or two are also in order. For tickets, call 235-2760 or visit the Colonial box office or Smoky Mountain Roasters in Hazelwood.

Parading around town(s)
I know that after a while every Christmas parade around here starts to look the same — but isn’t there beauty in that? I think so, and I hope to hit up as many of them as possible this season. It’s just fun being on the other end of a lens, snapping pictures as people beam and wave in the cold. It makes me feel optimistic, really. I mean, if people can get excited over a parade they’ve seen for years, even when it’s 14 degrees outside (Maggie Valley 2010, anyone?), then the universe feels full possibility to me. This year’s parade times and dates are 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in Maggie Valley; 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, in Waynesville; and 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, in Canton.

A ‘Papertown’ Christmas
As I’ve written many times before, the amount of craft fairs here is a little shocking. But I guess that means there’s always room for one more — especially if it features a few of this county’s favorite music makers. The first-ever Papertown Christmas Fair — featuring gift items and music from Balsam Range — is coming to the Canton Armory pretty much all day Saturday. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there, too, as will a big selection of quilts, jewelry, pottery, fiber art and food, among other offerings. For more information about the show, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can call Carolyn Surrett at 648-0101. But something tells me that BR fans have already learned all they need to know.

Living Christ(mas)
If roaming the wide aisles of big-box stores doesn’t say Christmas to you, why not take a break from shopping this weekend and get right back to the foundation of the holiday — all the way back in the stable. For the seventh year, you can experience the Living Nativity at 3rd Generation Barn Loft in Canton, complete with local animals and local people volunteering to play the biblical characters. The 90-year-old barn, at 84 Frank Mann Road, will be open from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. this Saturday, with a Christmas service from 5:30 to 6:10 p.m. Sunday.