Festivals & Events


Annual Events

Emerson Waldorf School has a tremendously rich and vibrant community.  Please join us for the annual events and festivals listed below.  We would love to have you! Contact events@emersonwaldorf.org for more information or check out our online calendar.




The Rose Ceremony


FIRST OF YEAR  -  AUGUST 22, 2017 9:00-10:00AM

END OF YEAR  -  JUNE 8, 2018 11:00AM-12:00PM

On the first day of school each year, we hold the Rose Ceremony. The whole school joins together in welcoming the 1st graders, as their Kindergarten teachers lead them across the Golden Bridge to greet their new, 1st Grade teacher with a handshake, and receive a rose from a 12th grader. Each Class Teacher then tells a story of the curriculum the class will be covering that year, and the children depart with their teachers for their first 1/2 day of a new grade.

Then at the end-of-year Rose Ceremony, the 1st graders say goodbye to each graduating senior by handing a rose to them and walking them up the aisle, out of the assembly hall. The Rose Ceremonies thus ‘book-end’ the year, bringing it into a full circle.



SEPT 29, 2017 1:25-3:00 PM

For the Grades, Michaelmas, with all the symbolism, is a wonderful celebration in many Waldorf Schools throughout the world.  Beyond the planning, choreography, and festivities, it is a gift, a gift that brings the community together to see what students can do collectively.  From the first to the 12th grade, students come together as one, in a celebration of deeds for the whole grades and high school – not just for one day but for a week of preparation, each contributing a part.  The spirit, enthusiasm, and life can be felt as the activities unfold.  This is truly the will of St Michael.

Wear red and celebrate with us!

Observing seasonal turning points is one way our school establishes a yearly rhythm for the children. This also serves to remind us of the universal connection to the natural world we all share, even with our diverse cultural and spiritual traditions. All over the world, the festivals of the year are celebrated as conscious nourishment for the soul. At the Emerson Waldorf School we strive to celebrate the festivals with beauty and reverence, evoking the mood of each event through art, music, stories, poems, and songs. Each year the rich Waldorf curriculum offers opportunities for children to celebrate different festivals from around the world.  Michaelmas, the feast of Saint Michael, is a festival that we celebrate yearly as a school community.

As warm summer fades into the chill of autumn, the earth exchanges the blazing rays of the sun for leaves aglow. Darkness and coldness draw nigh, and we retreat to our hearths, to our vibrant inner life.  We wear protective clothing to guard against the cold, as though nature itself has become hostile. If we experience the seasons in nature so clearly, might we imagine also the seasons of the soul, or inner life, of each living human being? Within ourselves we also experience light and warmth, darkness and cold with all of the accompanying ranges of color and degrees of temperature. These qualities might be considered "moods of the soul."  We can think of the light/warmth quality as open, expansive, and sympathetic and the cold/darkness as hardening, contractive, and antipathetic, much like the difference between courage and fear. One could imagine this season as an inner re-enactment of the battle of Saint Michael and the dragon, or "facing the darkness."  Most of us have a sense of "the dragon" in our times. Symbolically, for each of us, it tends to represent our worst  possible fear, real or imagined. It lives within each of us.

During this season, we are called to look at this image of the dragon – alone. Saint George, with the help of the Archangel Michael, tames the dragon and leads it towards the service of humankind. The living experience of the ancient legend can be summarized as pure, simple, honest belief in the triumph of The Good.

For the Early Childhood, Michaelmas is an intimate celebration, awakening the relationship to Mother Earth and the Cosmic Realm of the rhythm of the year.  The essence of Michaelmas in Early Childhood is a seed planted for the young child to later find a relationship to the experience of the larger community festival beginning in the grades. 


Martinmas/Lantern Walk



Each November EWS holds a lantern walk to celebrate Martinmas.  On the appointed evening the children gather at dusk. Martin is the patron saint of the poor, beggars, and the homeless. The lower grades hear the story of how Martin gave away half his cloak to warm a homeless man on a cold night. The children are encouraged to recognize the light within themselves as they move toward the darkness of winter.

On our special evening, EWS families and friends gather together with their handmade lanterns and walk together through our beautiful wooded campus, singing beautiful Martinmas songs.  Once the entire community has reached the Fairy Meadow, all lights join together to brighten the dark night.  

In the Early Childhood, the Nursery and Kindergarten families have their own celebration.  They begin with a magical puppet show of silk marionettes and afterwards gather with their lanterns and walk together singing through the candlelit pathways of the forest.  We finish by sharing warm cider in the playground or the meadow.


Children's Faire & Artisan Marketplace (a.k.a. Holiday Faire)


NOV 18, 2017 10:00AM-3:00PM

Please join us in November to celebrate the coming of winter and the holiday season with our 22nd Annual Children's Faire & Artisan Marketplace. The Faire is a special, magical celebration that provides a wide variety of crafts and activities for children of all ages, fantastic food, storytelling events, live music from students, and much much more. It is a family-run, family-fun event for all, where children and adults alike can make gorgeous, meaningful handmade gifts. In addition to the activities and events, the Artisan Marketplace is where beautiful, handmade, original crafts and works of art can be purchased for giving (or keeping!). We hope you will consider joining us for this unique, wonderful event! For more information, click here.

Vendors: Wendy Ziegler is our Vendor Faire Coordinator. We are interested in handcrafted items made locally of artists who can set up their own vendor table. You can reach her at wziegler@emersonwaldorf.org.  


Spiral of Light


DECEMBER 8, 2017

As the days grow noticeably shorter and the frosty winter nights approach their longest, we all begin to yearn for the light that so recently illuminated our lives. To symbolize this, Kindergarten through Grade 8 participate in a beautiful Spiral of Light ceremony.  Each student walks the spiral path of fresh evergreen boughs, which is decorated with moss, crystals, and stars of gold. 

A single candle lights the center of the spiral and one at a time, and the children walk the spiral. As each child approaches the entrance of the spiral, they receive a white candle in a shiny red apple, which they carry along the path.  They light their own candle from the center candle and then turn outward. On the journey back, they place their light on a gold star.  Gradually, the whole spiral is aglow with lights.  Lyre music softly continues as the children quietly leave the room, their collective lights illuminating our spirits.



Santa Lucia


St Lucia day is based on a story from Sweden in which a girl with a pure heart spreads a message of good hope to suffering people during a particularly harsh winter. The oldest eleventh grade girl dresses in white and visits each classroom as the second graders sing. They deliver warm, saffron buns to all the students to symbolize light in this cold, dark season.


Waldorf Education Day


JANUARY 13, 2018 10:00AM-1:00PM

Did you ever wonder what it’s like to be a Waldorf student, what’s taught in those beautiful classrooms? Each year the Faculty sponsors a day where adults and students can step into the shoes of a Waldorf student and learn more about Waldorf Education as they participate in hands-on learning activities just as the children do. Come see the way we learn! Explore our classrooms, meet the teachers, parents, and students of Emerson! Teaching demonstrations, Waldorf-based crafts, student performances, and much more!

This event is free and children are encouraged to attend.


All-School Music Evenings

CHORAL CONCERTS (GR 5-12) - DECEMBER 1, 2017 & MARCH 16, 2018 6:30-8:00PM

INSTRUMENTAL CONCERTS (GR 6-12) - JANUARY 26, 2018 & MAY 11, 2018 6:30-8:00PM

The music department presents concerts featuring our performance ensembles. The choruses and string ensembles present a variety of selections that showcase they work they’ve done in their rehearsals. The music is diverse and ranges from Bach to Broadway to Bluegrass to Brubeck, and the audiences include everyone from our nursery students to our grandparents.


Senior Projects


All seniors conceive their independent Senior Projects in May of the Junior year, and work with a community mentor throughout the senior year until their presentation to the community in April. Senior Projects challenge the student to learn new skills & perform significant research in a specific area of interest. Recent projects include architectural design, soaring, contra-dance calling, neuroscience research, and writing & directing a one-act play.  This is an event not to miss.  Bring friends and family for an entertaining evening.


High School’s Best in Show


MAY 2018 TBA

The High School faculty and students cordially invite you to our year-end arts celebration at the High School. This "Best In Show" event is an opportunity for the High School students to reflect upon the extraordinary artistic work they have done over the past year and select some of their favorites to show off.  As you begin to picture your child as a high school student, we think you might like to witness the breadth and depth of artistic work experienced by all of our High School students at EWS. An exhibition of visual art work will begin at 5:30 followed by student performances in the Brown Wing from 6-8pm. What might you see?  Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Copper Smithing, Blacksmithing, Woodwork, Bookbinding, Poetry, Drama, Chorus, Instrumental music, Rock Band, Storytelling and more...


Grandparent's &

MAY 4, 2018  8:30AM-3:00PM

Grandparents and Special Friends are a significant part of our EWS family. Each year we honor them in the Spring with a reception, visits to grandchildren’s classrooms, and this year, for the first time ever, we'll have them join us for our May Day celebration!



FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018 6:30pm-10:30pm

Haw River Ballroom, Saxapahaw, NC

Our annual Gala is an elegant affair with delicious food and drink, lively music, and a live and silent auction.  It’s a chance for everyone in the EWS community to put on their cocktail party attire and bring friends along for a wonderful evening of dancing, entertainment, and camaraderie.


May Day


GRADES 1-2 CELEBRATION - MAY 4 2018 2:00-3:00PM

The May Day celebration is a rite of spring at EWS.  The Nursery and Kindergarten families gather together on May 4 to watch the Kindergarten children dance with their classes and then join together for family picnics. The rest of the EWS community gathers to watch Grades 1-5 dance around the May Pole, and then has the opportunity to join in the dancing themselves, as Middle and High School musicians play lively tunes.  Please join us for this enchanting event!



NOVEMBER 21, 2017 1:00-2:00PM

APRIL 13, 2018  1:00-2:00PM

Twice a year, before Thanksgiving Break and Spring Break,  the whole EWS community gathers to watch each class present some of their class work to each other, their parents, and friends. This provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to see what goes on in the classroom, for students to develop confidence and pride in their accomplishments, for older students to recall their younger years, and for younger children to anticipate journeys yet to come.


Field Day


JUNE 7, 2018  8:30AM-12:00 PM

On the last full day of school, Grades 1-7 divide into teams and compete in fun games such as egg-and-spoon races, sack races, etc.  What a great way to end the year!


Lake Day

JUNE 7, 2018  8:30AM-12:00 PM

While the Lower School is busy engaging in Field Day, Grades 8-12 head over to Jordan Lake for a day of chilling, grilling, swimming, castle-building, watermelon fights, volleyball, and all around rest & relaxation.  What a wonderful way to spend the last day of school!  And what beautiful camaraderie our students share after all of their hard work.



JUNE 8, 2018  7:00-9:00PM

Each year we commemorate the graduation of our 12th graders with a ceremony sharing and reflecting on memories and accomplishments as these young adults leave us for the larger world. This is an opportunity for the whole community to say goodbye, and to honor the seniors as individuals and as a group. A reception is held after the ceremony, to which all community members are invited.