October 3-7, 2023
Experience Cherokee culture and fun at their 111th Annual Indian Fair. In addition to the country fair carnival rides, games, and exhibits, enjoy plenty of authentic local traditions, handicrafts, and food. This year's theme, "They Made the Way," honors the profound contributions of Cherokee individuals who have shaped the vibrant culture of the community.
The main stage showcases plenty of local and regional talent, including the Cherokee Warriors of AniKituhwa (pic at top of page). On Saturday night, watch two concerts by legendary American rock band The Romantics at 8 PM and renowned American rock band Starship at 9 PM.
The highlight of the fair is the chance to enjoy plenty of traditional Cherokee favorite foods cooked by locals. The Indian Dinner includes chicken, fried potatoes, fatback, mustard greens, and bean bread for just $8. We loved our frybread-topped chili. Also, try the chestnut bread and meat pie. Heads up: Most vendors are cash only.
In the Exhibit Hall, see a wide variety of crafts, art, and farm goods in many competitions. To purchase local art, go next door to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and Qualla Arts and Craft Co-op (645 Tsali Blvd).
Of course, try out some of the rides.
The big Cherokee Indian Fair Parade kicks off opening day each year with a caravan of beauty queens and local organizations tossing candy and bands. It starts at Harrah's Casino's lower parking area at 4 PM. It takes a right onto 19 South through downtown Cherokee, crossing the bridge turning right onto 441 North, and ending at the traffic light by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. The parade will then turn right across the bridge, taking the roundabout up toward the Ginger Lynn Complex to disband. Vehicles will disband to the left in GLW parking, and all floats will disband, taking the route behind the Ginger Welch Complex.
Watch kids and adults compete in stickball, demonstrations in archery and blowguns, and plenty of dance.
The Bailey Mountain Cloggers from Mars Hill University show off their championship moves.
Purchase tickets at the front gate. Cash only! Prices vary by day. Free admission for children 6 and under. Enrolled members of federally recognized tribes can also show their enrollment cards at the gate for complimentary entry. Learn more.
- Monday: Fair Week Stick Off
- Tuesday: Parade Day
- Wednesday: Children’s Day
- Thursday: Elder’s Day
- Friday: Veterans Day
- Saturday: Community Day & Concert. Archery, blowguns, wood chopping, hammer throw, and fireworks at 10:30 PM
Location: Cherokee Expo Center, the old Cherokee High School Site, at 1501 Acquoni Rd., Cherokee, NC
To learn more about the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, take a tour of the nearby Oconoluftee Indian Village and Museum of the Cherokee Indian during your visit. See our Cherokee Guide for more things to do.