This Weekend in North Carolina events are provided by our partners and pulled from December’s Dates & Events section in Our State magazine.

A Swannanoa Solstice

ASHEVILLE • December 21
For the 12th year in a row, the Diana Wortham Theatre celebrates the shortest day and longest night of the year with a time of relaxation and introspection. In light of all those hectic holiday preparations, the soothing effects of cupping wassail while listening to the ancestral resonance of Highland pipes and bouzouki are not to be underestimated.

2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Adults $40. Students $35. Children 12 and younger $15. Diana Wortham Theatre.

National Gingerbread House Competition

Design is more important to some gingerbread architects than to others. Be it the strict 75 percent gingerbread rule enforced by the Omni Grove Park Inn you abide by, or the candy free-for-all taking place on the kitchen counter (what percentage of edible materials actually make it onto the roof?), sweet tooths need a home this time of year.

Sunday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Parking $10. Free admission. The Omni Grove Park Inn. (800) 438-5800 or

“A Pink Martini Christmas”

Back after numerous sold-out performances with the North Carolina Symphony, the “little orchestra” returns to Raleigh for the holidays. Expect a mix of classical, jazz, Latin, samba, and pop as they take on Christmas classics.

Friday, 8-10 p.m. Saturday, 3-5 p.m. and 8-10 p.m. Admission $30-79. Meymandi Concert Hall at Duke Energy Center. (877) 627-6724 or

See A Christmas Carol

Dozens of Scrooges and Tiny Tims across the state slip into costume to recreate the classic novella by Charles Dickens. Whether it’s Ira David Wood III’s musical comedy adaptation (which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year), or the traditional stage adaptation at Legacy Theater, the characters we love stay true to the story.

Durham: December 18-20, 7 p.m. December 20-21, 2 p.m. Durham Performing Arts Center. Admission $30-80. (919) 831-6058 or

Wilmington: December 18-20, 7:30 p.m. December 21, 3 p.m. Admission $15-30. Thalian Hall. (910) 632-2285 or

Christmas at The Billy Graham Library

Abandon the commotion of the season for a quiet evening of reflection at The Billy Graham Library. Lights hang from just about every corner of the place as carolers cheerfully saunter about. Catch a glimpse of the live nativity scene, and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride.

Monday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Horse-drawn carriage rides $7 for adults, $3 for children. The Billy Graham Library.

Holiday Light Displays

High-tech light displays pop up all over the place, from the mountains to the coast, every year. But we drive through those candy cane arches and blinking snowflakes for a simple pleasure: to see the bright colors and bask in their glow.

Clemmons: November 22-January 1, 2015 6-11 p.m. Admission $15 per car. Tanglewood Festival of Lights. 4201 Manor House Circle. (336) 703-6400 or

Linden: December 19-23, 6-9 p.m. Admission $5. Children 3 and younger are free. 10501 Ramsey Street. (910) 273-3071 or

McAdenville: December 1-26, Free admission. Christmas Town USA.

The Nutcracker

Every year, our state’s dance companies execute the intricate steps that bring the Nutcracker Prince, Mouse King, Queen of Sweets, Sugarplum Fairy, and, of course, Clara, to life. For those whose Christmas doesn’t begin until the first notes of Tchaikovsky’s beloved score are played, look out for these performances of The Nutcracker.

Raleigh: November 28-December 28. Carolina Ballet. Times and ticket prices vary. Raleigh Memorial Auditorium.(919) 719-0900 or

Elon: December 19-21. Walkerdance Ballet Theatre. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. Adults $15. Students and children 12 and younger $12. McCrary Theatre at Elon University. (336) 214-3296.

Winston-Salem: December 12-21. University of North Carolina School of the Arts.Dates, times, and ticket prices vary. Stevens Center, 405 West Fourth Street. (336) 721-1945 or

Polar Express Family Show

No one-way tickets on The Polar Express — but all the more reason to soak in every minute of a round-trip excursion through all the stops from the Chris Van Allsburg book: singing with a cup of warm cocoa, visiting with Santa, and receiving your very own silver bell.

Showings 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Admission $5. Children 2 and younger free. Wilmington Railroad Museum. (910) 763-2634 or

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Erin Reitz is a former digital content specialist at Our State.