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Arts Council’s Holidays On Hay celebration brings an all-new holiday experience to Fayetteville


Everyone is at home and you need something fun for the whole family to do. Check out "Holidays on Hay: A Season of Light" celebration in downtown Fayetteville on Friday, Nov. 25, starting at 3 p.m.

Join the Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County as we make the holiday season a little brighter, a little sweeter and a lot more caring.

From the incredible drone light show to the annual lighting of the holiday tree — and all the art, performances, food and craftmaking in between — Holidays on Hay has something for everyone in your crowd.

Yes, a drone light show. The Arts Council is gifting the all-new "Season of Light Drone Show" powered by Fayetteville State University. This free showcase will bring the holiday alive with innovative aerial displays of three-dimensional seasonal shapes and characters that can be seen up to 4 miles away. Imaginations will soar as 200 state-of-the-art drones present stunning holiday imagery across the night sky. This one-of-a-kind experience is a safe, environment-friendly, and sensory-friendly showcase for pets and audiences that manage PTSD, autism, and those with other issues can enjoy. It will be a showstopper that your family will be talking about for many Thanksgivings to come.

Whether you’ve called Fayetteville home from the beginning or are here for a brief stint, remember family and friends from all over at the tree lighting. Bridging past and present, the "Illumination Ceremony: Community Tree & Candle Lighting" ushers in the holiday season as the community gathers in the spirit of unity with our loved ones and in reflection of those lost this year.

The Cool Spring Downtown District’s 22-foot holiday tree, located in front of The Arts Center, is a reminder of all the points of light we call family.

Gingerbread Village

Is it an annual tradition for your kids to make a gingerbread house while they are home from school? Then you should enter it into the annual "Gingerbread Village" contest produced by the Chameleon Children's Theatre for a scrumptious way to make holiday magic with the Arts Council and Callahan and Rice Insurance.

Whether a novice or a more advanced decorator, the village displayed at Capitol Encore Academy will be filled with the most delightful, imaginative and traditional gingerbread house creations for a chance to win great prizes. Could you recreate your own home in gingerbread? Or maybe Cool Spring Place, listed on the historic register? Or how about the Arts Council building? So many ideas to try! Interested applicants must register at www.WeAreTheArts.com/holiday to participate. Contact Christy McNeil, director of marketing for the Arts Council, at 910-460-5724  or email christym@theartscouncil.com.

Holiday cards

Many families have in their holiday practices an act of service in the community. The Arts Council is brightening the spirits of pediatric patients and nursing staff at Cape Fear Valley Health who cannot be home with their families for the holidays.

As you revel in the merriment of the day, stop in front of the Fascinate-U Children’s Museum to create an original “Get Well Wish Card" with a personalized message for the "Art of Caring" community project.

“Being able to share holiday cards created by members of our community with patients will also allow them to have a sense of social support during their illness,’’ said Sabrina Brooks, vice president of the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation. “We are grateful to the Arts Council for always thinking of ways to have a positive impact through the arts on those in our community who are facing illnesses.”

Arts Market

You don’t have to go anywhere else to grab the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. The "Holiday ARTS Market" will ignite the streets of downtown Fayetteville with glorious displays of unique, handcrafted holiday trinkets, treats and treasures created by local artisans.

Attendees will also experience the joyful sounds of music ensembles, festive dance exhibitions, and amazing theatrical performances by local entertainers and performance groups. You’ll feel a warm glow supporting local artists and crafters this season. Many of these groups are also nonprofit organizations, so if you’re looking for places for your end-of-year giving, this will also be a great day to find the right organization for you.

Children and the young-at-heart will enjoy our special "Kids Holiday Craft Corner" that will be filled with activities like decorative holiday make and takes, Santa's Workshop, a Christmas Bounce House, and lots of exciting train rides around the Market House on The Polar Express. Those little big hearts will love making magical memories with their parents and caregivers.

There’s so much more to look for during “Holidays on Hay”! Visit www.WeAreTheArts.com/holiday for more information about featured performances, the gingerbread contest registration, and more. Brighten your holiday (and holi-night!) with your friends and family on Friday, Nov. 25 at the Arts Council’s “Holidays on Hay: A Season of Light" celebration.

The event is presented by Fayetteville State University, Cape Fear Valley Health, Callahan and Rice Insurance, with project support from Capitol Encore Academy, Chameleon Children's Theatre, Fascinate-U Children’s Museum, and Cool Spring Downtown District. Drone production is provided by Pixis Drones.