Asheville has a lot to be thankful for in 2014. The economy is gaining ground, real estate sales are starting to heat up again and business is booming downtown, where it seems like a new restaurant opens every week. In short, Asheville is experiencing dramatic growth for the first time since 2008, when the downturn in the nation’s economy hit everyone hard.
That’s good news for both residents and visitors. Locally, the city is making investments in infrastructure, from streets and highways to sidewalks and green spaces. West Asheville, in particular, has experienced a rebirth, with new restaurants and businesses opening up. Isis Restaurant & Music Hall, for example, has raised the bar with the quality of both its food and its entertainment.
Time to Celebrate!
So this Thanksgiving, the people of Asheville want to say, “Thank you!” The best way to do that is with a parade. It’s become a tradition for Asheville Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday season with a parade through downtown streets. This year’s parade happens the Saturday before Thanksgiving, on November 22.
The parade starts at 11:00 am at the corner of Charlotte Street and Biltmore Avenue, near historic McCormick Field. The parade will march up Biltmore to the center of the city at Pack Square before turning onto Patton Avenue for the second leg of the parade.
Local schools, marching bands, businesses, veterans, dancers, actors (the famous Montford Park Players), and musicians all take part. In fact, Asheville’s American Idol winner Caleb Johnson will be a welcome guest. Rumor has it that the parade will feature an early visit from Santa Claus as well.
Even though it’s not Black Friday, the JingleFest Market will accompany the parade. Held in the U.S. Cellular Center, right up the street from the parade route, the market will offer a small craft/holiday market and fun family activities that are free to all. Since the JingleFest Market is indoors, you don’t have to worry about the weather.
Thanksgiving for Those in Need
But an Asheville Thanksgiving is not complete without supporting families who need help. So Asheville ahs many programs to distribute food to those in need, such as Manna Food Bank. But Asheville is an eclectic place and a culinary destination, so on Thanksgiving, something special happens.
Welcome Table is a community program started by the Swannanoa United Methodist Church. While they serve hot meals to the community once a week, on Thanksgiving Day, they feed 400 or more people in need.
The idea has been adopted — and modified — by Asheville’s downtown Haywood Street Congregation. In this iteration, 16 of the city’s best restaurants prepare gourmet meals for anyone in need. Liz Button, the co-owner of Curate, explains: “By our actions and our food, we’re delivering a clear message: Regardless of who you are or your circumstances, you deserve the very best.”
When you stay on the beautiful grounds of Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds, you get the best of both worlds: the woodsy charm and intimate luxury of a mountain cabin along with the nearby bustling city, where parades and charities go hand-in-hand. Please stop by the office for a list of restaurants open and serving Thanksgiving dinner.