BOONE — Come join the town of Boone in kicking off the holiday season with Festive First Friday on Dec. 6, as downtown Boone will play host to a special event jam-packed with fun and festivities for the entire family.

At the Watauga County Public Library, the Grinch will make a special appearance at 5 p.m. and then will lurk around downtown for photos, but even his presence can’t put a damper on the yuletide cheer.

The Turchin Center will open its doors from 6-9 p.m. for a festive experience of the visual arts, offering free admission to six gallery spaces featuring a variety of contemporary art works by artists from across the region and around the world. Refreshments, hot cider, live music, kids’ activities and plenty of holiday spirit will round out the fun and enriching arts experience at the Turchin Center.

The Boone Town Hall will be open for face painting and to serve snacks, hot chocolate and cider. At the Downtown Boone Post Office, Mrs. Claus will be greeting everyone with cookies and milk. Children will be able to write their own personal notes to Santa Claus that can be placed in a special mailbox designated for the North Pole.

To top things off, Santa Claus himself will be spending time at the Mast General Store from 4-8 p.m., and children are invited to stop by to visit and take pictures with jolly old St. Nick.

The celebration will begin at the Jones House at 5:30 p.m. with the annual Solar Tree Lighting. The Appalachian Youth Chorale and the Watauga High School Honors Choir will perform a holiday concert on the Jones House porch, as well as lead guests in singing a few carols.

Following these performances, at 6:30 p.m., Mayor Rennie Brantz and town council members, with the help of the ASU Sustainable Energy Society, will officially usher in the holiday season in Boone with the lighting of the Jones House Christmas Tree. Guests are invited to stick around for special performances by ASU a cappella group, the Enharmonix, and for a reception in the Mazie Jones Gallery showcasing the exquisite abstract artwork of Rachael Van Dyke.

In addition to all of this, a portion of Depot Street will be closed to traffic from 5-8 p.m. to accommodate even more fun. Keep your eyes open for an exclusive sneak preview performance by the Carolina Snowbelles, who will hold their holiday show at the Appalachian Theatre the following weekend.

Other local singing, dance and clogging groups will also be around to help set a festive atmosphere. Food trucks will be present for individuals and families hoping to grab a quick bite and local restaurants will also be open for dining.

On Howard Street, downtown guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride, and kids can participate in a special marshmallow “snowball” fight. As always, many downtown businesses will stay open extended hours for those hoping to stay caught up on their holiday gift shopping.

For more information about these events and other things happening in Boone, visit www.joneshouse.org or www.downtownboonenc.com.

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