October 1-5, 2019
Experience Cherokee culture and fun at their 107th Annual Indian Fair. In addition to the country fair carnival rides, games and exhibits, enjoy plenty of authentic local traditions, handcrafts and food.
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 a 9 PM concert by a major recording country artist.
The highlight of the fair is the chance to enjoy plenty of traditional Cherokee favorite foods, cooked by the locals. The Indian Dinner includes chicken, fried potatoes, fat back, mustard greens and beanbread for just $8. We loved our Frybread topped chili. Also try the chestnutbread and meatpie. Head's up: Most vendors are cash only.
In the Exhibit Hall, see a big 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, local organizations tossing candy and bands. It starts at Harrah's Casino at 4 PM and slowly moves down the 2-mile route to the Fairgrounds (adjacent to the Museum of the Cherokee). Since the route is a couple of miles long, there are plenty of spots to park and watch. For the first 1.5 miles, the parade follows the five-lane US Highway 19. Then it takes a right on the two-lane US 441 (Tsali Blvd) for a more intimate feel. We suggest parking near the Fair Grounds (545 Tsali Blvd) before the parade so don't have to move your car for the fair.
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.
- Tuesday: Parade Day (Parade at 4 PM, Fair open 5-10 PM, $10/person)
- Wednesday: Children’s Day (Open 9 AM-11 PM, $10/person, age 17 & under free) Tug of war, stickball, rides start at Noon
- Thursday: Elder’s Day (Open 8:30 AM-10 PM, $10/person)
- Friday: Veterans & Visitor Appreciation Day (Open 11 AM-11 PM, $10/person)
- Saturday: Community Day & Concert (9 AM-12 Midnight, $15/person) Archery, blowguns, wood chopping, hammer throw, fireworks at 10:30 PM
Location: Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds, 545 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719. Phone: 800.438.1601
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.