WCU professor and her students light and learn in Dillsboro

Carroll Brown, a professor in the hospitality and tourism program at Western Carolina University, is much more than a spectator during Dillsboro’s annual Lights and Luminaries Festival. For the last five years, Brown and her students have used their time, effort and resources to make the town of Dillsboro glow.

“Having the students help out during our Lights and Luminaries Festival has been a great blessing for the town of Dillsboro,” said Susan Leveille, co-owner of Dillsboro business Oaks Gallery.

Brown’s students gain valuable experience by helping light the more than 2,500 candles and placing the bags in their designated locations. The students also contribute by illuminating the town with decorations and lights.

“There’s no better teacher than experience. Taking part in setting up the Lights and Luminaries Festival taught me more than any textbook could have. Helping out Dillsboro when they needed a few extra hands was so rewarding,” said Western Carolina student Elizabeth Kilmer.

Shortly after Brown started teaching at WCU, she realized the book concepts weren’t enough for her students. When she became aware of the Lights and Luminaries Festival, Brown knew the event was the perfect opportunity to create a relationship with the town of Dillsboro and her students.

“Because of the Lights and Luminaries special event, there’s an ongoing relationship between my students and the people of Dillsboro,” said Brown.

The relationship is mutually beneficial: experience is invaluable for the students enrolled in Brown’s festival and special event course, and the town of Dillsboro appreciates their help.

“The event helps my students get into the Christmas spirit, and many of them bring their parents, which helps the merchants in Dillsboro,” said Brown.

“I truly love this event, and I look forward to it every year,” said Brown.

Students help decorate Dillsboro with lights and candles

Students help decorate Dillsboro with lights and candles

Brown uses the Lights and Luminaries Festival as a time to complete most of her Christmas shopping, which she purchases in Dillsboro.

The Lights and Luminaries Festival will be held on December 6-7 & 13-14 in downtown Dillsboro.

For more information about the event, please click here:http://visitdillsboro.org/specialevents.html

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