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Longstreet Highroad Guide to the North Carolina Mountains

By Lynda McDaniel

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Sherpa Guides > North Carolina Mountains > Appendices > Special Events

Special Events

Throughout the year North Carolina offers festivals and fairs that appeal to a wide range of residents and visitors. The following is a list of some events that occur annually in North Carolina arranged by month. Call the numbers provided to confirm dates and times.

Old Christmas Hickory Ridge Homestead, Boone. A traditional Christmas Celebration during which the community builds a huge bonfire, fueled by their holiday trees, to ensure good luck for the coming year. The event is free and usually takes place on January 6. Phone (704) 264-2120.

Biltmore Estate’s Festival of Flowers, Asheville. Take a stroll through the gardens of the Biltmore. April through May. Phone (800) 543-2961.

Hickory Nut Gorge Dogwood Festival, Lake Lure. Celebrate the beauty of the dogwood flower and the return of spring in charming Lake Lure. April. Phone (704) 625-0204.

Pioneer Living Day, Weaverville. Experience the life of early mountaineers. Great food, crafts, and demonstrations. April and September. Phone (704) 645-6706.

Earth Day Celebration, Chimney Rock Park. Environmental awareness programs include demonstrations on composting and recycling, creative uses for kudzu, and guided wildflower walks. April. Phone (800) 277-9611.

Revolutionary War Encampment at FENCE, Tryon. Authentic crafts and foods, musket shooting demonstrations, and traditional campsite. April. Phone (704) 859-9021.

Ramp Convention, Waynesville. Celebrate ramps by eating dishes including the wild, onionlike ramp and by listening to country and bluegrass music. May. Phone (800) 334-9036.

Great Smoky Mountains Trout Festival, Waynesville. Crafts, food, contests, exhibitions, and entertainment. May. Phone (800) 334-9036.

Carl Sandburg Folk Music Festival, Flat Rock. Visit poet Carl Sandburg’s farm, Connemara, for a day of folk music. Free. May. Phone (704) 693-4178.

Riverfest, Bryson City. Raft rides, races, great food, and live entertainment. Last Sunday in May. Phone (704) 488-6159.

Folk Art Center Clay Day, Asheville. Demonstrations by professional potters and sculptors. Opportunities for children and adults to make their own clay creations. June. Phone (704) 298-7928.

North Carolina Rhododendron Festival, Bakersville. Includes a 10K road race, golf tournament, pageants, and street dance. Celebrate the beauty of the rhododendron at this three-day festival. June. Phone (800) 227-3912.

Singing on the Mountain at Grandfather Mountain, Linville. Live gospel music and entertainment. Preaching by well-known pastors. July. Phone (704) 733-1333.

Dillsboro Heritage Festival, Dillsboro. Food, crafts, arts, and demonstrations. Second Saturday in June. Phone (704) 586-3943.

Firefly Festival Arts and Crafts Fair, Boone. Arts, music, and food. July. Phone (800) 852-9506.

Shindig-on-the-Green, Asheville. Free music events starting the first Saturday in July and continuing every Saturday night throughout the summer. Downtown Asheville. Phone (800) 257-1300.

Fourth of July Gala, Asheville. Fireworks, music, food, and fun! Phone (704) 259-5800.

Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, Asheville. One of the biggest folk music events of its kind. Fourth of July. Phone (704) 259-5800.

Old-Fashioned July Fourth Celebration on the Square, Burnsville. Wagon-train parade, crafts, and food. Old-time music. Phone (800) 948-1632.

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering of the Scottish Clan, Linville. In their fifth decade, these renowned games feature Scottish athletic events, Highland dancing competitions, sheep herding exhibitions, bagpipe and drumming competitions, Celtic music, and traditional Scottish foods. Second weekend in July. Phone (704) 733-1333.

Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, Asheville. This annual craft fair takes place at the downtown civic center in Asheville and includes exhibitions, demonstrations, and traditional music. Third weekend in July and third weekend October. Phone (704) 298-7928.

Banner Elk Art Festival, Banner Elk. This juried fine arts exhibition features 50 of the nation’s best artists working in sculpture, blown glass, and painting (with an emphasis on watercolors). Third weekend in July. Phone (800) 972-2183.

Bele Chere, Asheville. A three-day festival offering excellent entertainment, crafts, and food. Many activities for children and adults. One of North Carolina’s most popular festivals. Downtown Asheville, last weekend in July. Phone (704) 251-9973.

Coon Dog Day, Saluda. The second Saturday in July is set aside for the celebration of the Coon Dog. You don’t have to be a hunter to enjoy the festivities—music, food, contests, dancing, and more! Phone (704) 749-2581.

Annual Gemboree, Franklin. Shop for gems and jewelry on the second weekend in July. Phone (800) 336-7829.

Folkmoot USA, Waynesville and other locations. Dancers and musicians from around the world meet in the mountains for a muticultural celebration. July. Phone (800) 334-9036.

Mineral and Gem Festival, Spruce Pine. More than 50 dealers from across the country exhibit the earth’s bounty, ranging from rocks and minerals to finished products such as jewelry and sculpture. July/August. Phone (800) 227-3912.

Sourwood Festival, Black Mountain. Music, food, arts, crafts, and a carnival for children. Battle of the Bands. Third weekend in August. Phone (800) 669-2301.

Village Art & Craft Fair, Asheville. More than 150 artisans and crafters show their wares at the Historic Biltmore Village and on the grounds of the All Souls Cathedral in Asheville. First weekend in August. Phone (704) 274-2831.

Bluegrass Festival, Cherokee. From noon to night, the best of bluegrass is performed by famous artists over the three-day weekend. More than 16 groups sing and play fiddle, guitar, and banjo. Happy Holiday Campground. August. Phone (800) 438-1601.

Overmountain Victory Trail Celebration, Spruce Pine. Delve into North Carolina history by experiencing this reenactment of the “overmountain boys.” September. Phone (800) 227-3912.

Mountain Heritage Festival, Sparta. Celebration of early mountain life. Great crafts and food. Last weekend in September. Phone (800) 372-5473.

Wooly Worm Festival, Banner Elk. Honor the wooly worm with the folks of Banner Elk while enjoying crafts, food, and entertainment. October. Phone (800) 972-2183.

Apple Festival, Boone. Crafts, entertainment, and lots of apples. October. Phone (800) 852-9506.

New River Festival, Todd. Storytelling, checker competitions, and fishing tournaments are just a few of the things that Todd’s festival has to offer. Second Saturday in October. Phone (910) 877-1128.

Valle Country Fair, Valle Crucis. Mountain music, fine arts, and crafts. All proceeds from the fair benefit local charities. Mid-October. Phone (800) 852-9506.
Madison County Heritage Festival, Mars Hill. Traditional mountain crafts and food, storytelling, dancing, and much, much more. First Saturday in October. Phone (704) 689-1424.

Annual Forest Festival Day, Pisgah Forest. Relive the past by attending weaving, spinning, trail-building, and whittling demonstrations and more. October. Phone (704) 877-3130.

Pumpkin Fest, Franklin. Costumes, crafts, and pumpkin decorating. Last Saturday in October. Phone (800) 336-3704.

Choose and Cut Weekend. Make choosing and cutting this year’s tree a family event. December. Sparta/Alleghany County: Phone (800) 372-5473. Ashe County: Phone (910) 246-9550. Watauga County: Phone (800) 852-9506.

Christmas at Connemara, Flat Rock. Visit the Carl Sandburg home for an old-fashioned Christmas. December. Phone (704) 693-4178.

Festival of Trees, Brevard. Gifts, cookies, treats, and beautifully decorated trees. December. Phone (704) 883-3692.

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