December 31, 2023
What's better than the New York City Times Square ball drop to welcome in the new year? Head to small-town Marion (about 35 miles east of Asheville) to watch a 6-foot gold nugget drop into a pot of gold to celebrate McDowell County's gold heritage. This free, fun, quirky celebration also includes a Comic-Con costume contest, music, wagon rides, and many local brews and wines. The celebration begins at 8:30 PM.
The annual celebration on Main Street is centered on the Courthouse lawn (21 S. Main Street, Marion). Music, food, and craft vendors will be scattered throughout The 310 District of downtown Marion. The beer and wine garden will feature many nearby wineries and breweries. The hometown Mica Town Brewing (25 Brown Dr) is just off Main Street. Refinery Taproom is around the corner at 13 N. Main St. Other restaurants and shops will stay open later.
Line Up of Events
- 8-9:30 PM: Costume Contest at All Things Geeky, 29 Logan Street, Marion
- 10 PM: Announcement of costume Contest winners.
- 9 PM-12 AM: Carnival-style games, inflatables, and a variety of inflatables located on Main Street in Marion.
- 9 PM-12 AM: Carriage rides through downtown Marion. Admission:$2-$5 per person.
- 9 PM-11 PM: Train Rides for Kids on Main Street in Marion. Free admission.
- 9 PM-12 AM: Historic Ghost Walks by the McDowell Historical Society. Ghost walks will leave from the front of Possibilities, 81 South Main Street in Marion.
The highlight of the night is the gradual lowering of the giant, lighted 80-pound gold nugget sculpture that will be dropped into a pot of gold. The 6-foot gold nugget was built by local metal fabricator Turtle Labs. It's comprised of 300 triangles that frame internal lights and even have some gold flake to add more sparkle.
Why a gold nugget? The NC Gold Foundation is located in Marion. They preserve and promote North Carolina gold's history as the first state for gold discovery. Nearby, you can learn more about the gold history at the Historic Carson House or visit a really good mine at Thermal City, about 12 miles from downtown Marion. Also, attend the NC Gold Festival in nearby Old Fort.
The event is free to attend and will conclude by 12:30 AM. From Asheville, it's an easy drive via I-40. Go to the McDowell County Website for nearby lodging.
Marion is one of our top small towns and has welcomed many new businesses downtown. See our Marion Guide for more info. Some of their other fun events include the Livermush Festival and the new Bigfoot Festival.
See more New Year's Eve and Day events in the Asheville area.
Explore McDowell County east of Asheville, with the small towns of Marion, Little Switzerland, Old Fort and Linville Falls. Includes Pisgah Forest, with hiking, waterfalls, fishing, Lake James and… read more
Explore McDowell County east of Asheville, with the small towns of Marion, Little Switzerland, Old Fort and Linville Falls. Includes Pisgah Forest, with hiking, waterfalls, fishing, Lake James and many things to do. See their Blue Ridge Traveler's guide for details.