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Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
One of the biggest Scottish Games in the United States, with plenty of live music (bagpipes to rock), athletic competitions, dancing, food, heritage vendors and more.
Toe River Studio Tour
More than 100 fine artists and crafts people in every medium open their studios for a free, self-guided cultural adventure in the Penland, Spruce Pine and Burnsville area.
New Year's Eve
Head to downtown Asheville for many dining and entertainment choices or go to celebrations throughout WNC. Special events on Jan 1st too. See our top New Year Celebrations and Things to Do.
Spring Events & Festivals: Top 40
Check out our calendar of the best festival and events in Asheville and western North Carolina in April and May.
Lake Lure Arts Festival
Check our artwork by more than 60 vendors from many different disciplines. Also enjoy live music and entertainment, food vendors and the beauty of Lake Lure.
Dirty Dancing Festival
Fans of the cult-classic Dirty Dancing will relive memories of Baby's first dance in the film’s original, breathtaking backdrop of Lake Lure.
Asheville Downtown Gallery Art Walk
Galleries stay open late with special exhibits and artists mingling throughout downtown, 5-8 PM.
Line up for your free Hunter's livermush sandwich while enjoying live music, hog calling, eating contest and more in downtown Marion, 5-9 PM.
Old Fashioned Dickens of a Christmas Festival
Enjoy many festivities including horse-drawn carriages, carolers, tree lighting, storytellers and instrumentalists in historic Biltmore Village. And chestnuts roasting on an open fire! Starts Fri at 6 PM with tree lighting.
Earth Day at Chimney Rock
Join Chimney Rock State Park Rangers, biologists and other environmental educators to learn about the great work being done to protect our beautiful landscape. Booths will be located in Chimney Rock Village behind the Old Rock Café, 431 Main St. 11 AM-3 PM. Free.
Lots of fun in Chimney Rock Village with a pancake breakfast, Cow Pie Bingo, recycled garden art contest, llamas strutting their stuff in a Main Street parade, a grilled dinner and a special outdoor performance by the Rutherford County Orchestra at the Gathering Place.
Winter Events & Valentine Outings
See our top picks for things to do and events in January, February and March - including Valentine's Weekend!
Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Located near Cherokee at the Great Smoky Mountains entrance, see old-time crafts being demonstrated at the Mountain Farm Museum. Learn by observing the practical arts of quilting, weaving and making baskets, dolls, apple cider and apple butter. 10 AM-2 PM. Free.
Montford Arts and Music Festival
One of the largest one day free music and arts festivals in Asheville, held on Montford and Soco near downtown, with 100+ vendors of art, crafts and food. Live music. 10 AM-7 PM.
Victorian Christmas at Smith-McDowell House
Tour Asheville's oldest home at the Smith McDowell House, decked out with decorations from the Victorian period. Located just a few miles from Biltmore and downtown. Open Wed-Sat.
NC Gold Festival
Two small festivals east of Asheville, one in Old Fort and the other south of Marion, both with exhibits, mining demonstrations, gold panning, arts and crafts, music and food. Free admission.
Memorial Day Concert and Ceremony
Held on the Roger McGuire Green Stage of Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville starting at 2:30 PM with the Army National Guard's Army Band performing a half-hour before and after the ceremony. Free.
World Equestrian Games Test Events
Attend these "practice" rounds at the Tryon International Equestrian Center for free and get a sneak peek at the Dressage, Para-Dressage and Driving competitions later this year. Free admission.
This free festival in downtown Asheville is a celebration of African-Caribbean culture with music, craft and food vendors, dance performances and competitions, a special area with activities for kids and much more! Friday evening and Saturday.
Two Rhododendron Festivals (North Carolina and Tennessee versions) are held in the Roan Mountain area!
River District Artists Studio Stroll
Head to the River Arts District near downtown Asheville to find 180+ artists at work in 25 converted industrial buildings along the river. Great deals on art! 10 AM-5 PM. Free admission. See our guide for details.
Christmas at Biltmore
The biggest event of the holiday season. See America's largest home decked out in festive finery. Candlelight Evenings are especially magical. See our extensive guide with tips, photos and details.
Madison Potters Market
Meet 20+ of the finest potters from Madison County and beyond at Marshall High Studios. This historic high school turned artist studios is on a small island in the French Broad River in downtown Marshall, 25 miles north of Asheville. 9 AM-4 PM. Free admission.
Appalachian Christmas Carol at Vance Birthplace
A candlelight evening of story and 1800s tradition, with a Carolina twist. Meet the ghost of Christmas past, present and future reexamine the legacy of Governor Zebulon Vance. $5/person. Tours every 30 minutes, 5-9 PM.
Easter Sunrise Service at Chimney Rock
Celebrate Easter by watching the sun rise over Hickory Nut Gorge during the annual service atop Chimney Rock. Free admission.
Santa on the Chimney
Watch Santa practice for his world-wide chimney-dropping tour on his "practice chimney," the 312 ft. tall Chimney Rock monolith. Included with park admission.
Asheville Art in the Park
From pottery to jewelry, sculpture to two-dimensional art, this art festival brings together a wide array of traditional and contemporary mountain art downtown in Pack Square Park. 10 AM-5 PM
Come to Leicester Studio Tour
Take a free, self-guided tour to 23 studios and shops in Leicester, a community nestled in the mountains near Asheville. 10 AM-6 PM
There's always plenty to see and do at this free street festival in quaint downtown Black Mountain to celebrate sourwood honey! 200 vendors, crafts, live music, kids' activities and food. Saturday 9 AM-8 PM and Sunday 9 AM-5 PM.
Weaverville Art Safari
This self-guided, make-your-own-agenda event throughout Weaverville and surrounding scenic valleys is a rare opportunity to interact with artists and see the process behind their critically-acclaimed works of art. And it's fun to buy directly from the artists!
NOC's Guest Appreciation Weekend
This longtime favorite weekend at Nantahala Outdoor Center main campus near Bryson City features free attractions, live music and entertainment - along with great end-of-season deals.
Easter Hat Parade in Dillsboro
Old hat, new hat, yellow hat, blue hat. They're all welcome at Dillsboro's annual Easter Hat Parade at 2 PM, showcasing a variety of interesting hats atop participants of all ages, including pets.
Shindig on the Green
Musicians and dancers from Western North Carolina gather to share Southern Appalachian mountain culture and traditions at Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and stake out a spot on the "green."
White Squirrel Festival
Go nuts at the White Squirrel Festival in downtown Brevard that features a parade, plenty of live music, food, arts and much on Memorial Day Weekend.
Lake Lure Arts Festival
Featuring handmade creations from more than 60 artisans from across the region, including painting, photography, jewelry, leather, metal, soaps and more on Memorial Day Weekend. Admission is free. Across from the beach, 2771 Memorial Highway.
Asheville Art in the Park
See and buy fine arts and crafts from dozens of local artists at Pack Square Park in downtown. 10 AM-5 PM.
Woolly Worm Festival
Celebrate the coming of the snow season with woolly worm races, live entertainment and lots of food and craft vendors in downtown Banner Elk during peak fall color.
Weaverville Art Safari
Drive scenic country roads to visit 35 artists in their studios and galleries about 10 minutes north of Asheville. Buy direct from them - find some great deals. Free.
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
This quirky exhibit in downtown Brevard features dozens of vintage aluminum Christmas trees and ornaments inside the Transylvania Heritage Museum. A fun trip back in time. Wed-Sat. Free admission.
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
Meet 200 craftspeople that come together in downtown Asheville with their fine handcrafted items, while local musicians play live on the arena stage and craft educators share their knowledge.
In Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville, 10 AM-6 PM, with live music, organic local food and beer, cooking demos, samplings, natural arts and crafts. Free.
Apple Orchards Open
Get your fresh mountain apples at an orchard in the largest apple-producing area in the east. Many orchards are open daily, several offer tours, events and pick-your-own apples. It's a quick drive from Asheville, with many orchards located along US 64 East of Hendersonville.
Greening Up the Mountains Festival
Celebrate the arrival of spring at this big downtown Sylva street festival, about an hour's drive west of Asheville. Three stages of music, crafts, music, more. Free admission.
Parade of Nations
Folkmoot, an international music and dance festival, has its Parade of Nations down Main Street in Waynesville at 10 AM with elaborate costumes. Free to attend. Many Cultures Day, 11 AM-4 PM, at Friendship Center.
Wood Day at Folk Art Center
Join Guild woodworkers for an exciting day exploring various forms of woodcraft. Featuring the Annual Carve Off Competition. 10 AM –4 PM.
Guild Holiday Makers Sale at the Folk Art Center
Get great deals on amazing art directly from the artists, offering over-runs, discontinued stock and studio seconds in a festive atmosphere. And don't miss the special exhibits and main store at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Free admission. 10 AM-4 PM.
Downtown After Five
Free live music concert, as well as a wide variety of food and drink vendors. Lexington Avenue in Asheville. 5-9 PM.
Art on the Island Fest in Marshall
A fall fair of artisans, crafters and music on Blannahassett Island near downtown Marshall. 10 AM-5 PM.
Garden Jubilee Festival
This huge plant and crafts festival covers eight blocks of Main Street in downtown Hendersonville. Free seminars and tips from expects - including decks and patios. Memorial Day Weekend.
Holiday Season Top Events (November & December)
See our favorite events, festivals and art shows during the holiday season in Asheville and western North Carolina mountains, including many small towns.
At North Carolina’s premier cider celebration, taste hard cider from 15 cider-makers, plus see local arts and crafts, taste unique food pairings and enjoy live music. Benefits Western NC Green Building Council. 1-5 PM at Salvage Station. $30/person advance tickets.
A Night Before Christmas
Downtown Waynesville's historic Main Street area is filled with bright lights, friendly folks, the wonderful sounds of the holiday season, special gallery openings, delicious food and drink. Small town Christmas at its finest. 6-9 PM
Asheville Outdoor Show
Local outdoors retailers Diamond Brand Outdoors and Frugal Backpacker present a free, fun expo at The Salvage Station (468 Riverside Dr, Asheville), 12 Noon until 4 PM, with the latest trends, technologies and innovations in outdoor recreation with 75 vendors, music, kids zone.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food and beer in downtown Asheville, starting at 5 PM. Free admission.
Bluff Mountain Festival
This free, family-friendly festival in Hot Springs (at the spa) features great old-time and bluegrass music, ballads, clogging, square dancing, as well as a silent auction and raffle of regional artwork, local crafts, vacation packages and more. 10 AM to 6 PM. Offers an array of delicious foods, too.
Mountain Sports Festival
Whether you’re a hardcore athlete or a newbie trying an event for the first time, the annual Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville offers something for you. Memorial Day Weekend.
Spruce Pine BBQ & Bluegrass Festival
Great BBQ with live bluegrass, antique tractor show, jamming stage, championship clogging teams, artists & crafts vendors, and local food vendors. At the Riverside Park across the river from downtown Spruce Pine. Tickets $5/person.
Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest
This festival at Highland Brewing Company includes hands-on fun, chef competition, milking demonstrations, panel discussions, workshops, vendors and 19 cheesemakers from across the south. Advance tickets $14 for ages 12+. Tickets at the door $20. 12-4 PM.
At this festival, hosted by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Asheville, you can sample some of the traditional foods and pastries (such as lamb shank, pastichio, spanakopita, gyro, souvlaki and baklava), watch traditional dancing and enjoy the authentic Greek music.
Brevard Music Center Festival
One of the country's premier summer music festival with 80+ performances by 500 students from around the world - joined by faculty and visiting artists for symphony, opera, pops, chamber, cabaret, Americana, and jazz. Artist Director is Keith Lockhart (Boston Pops).
Village Art & Craft Fair
Fantastic fair in Biltmore Village with 100 hand-selected artists from 16 states, representing the full spectrum of craft media - jewelry, ceramic, wood, fiber, metals, two-dimensional art and more.
Mother Earth News Fair
Huge, sustainable living event with more than 200 hands-on workshops and demonstrations at the WNC Ag Center.
Bonsai Expo at NC Arboretum
This horticultural extravaganza features a juried display of bonsai by clubs from across the southeast, a renowned bonsai marketplace, workshops, free demonstrations and a popular Ikebana exhibit.
Small Town Christmas, Rutherfordton
Many events along Main Street throughout the day 1-9 PM. Shop sidewalk vendors at the Christmas Market from 1-5 PM and stroll by the storefront windows featuring live interactive displays 2-4 PM. Christmas Parade at 5 PM. Tree lighting at 6:30 PM at Courthouse. All free to attend.
Mars Hill Heritage & Music Festival
Two long-running festivals celebrate mountain craft, music and dance: the Heritage Festival and the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Music Festival. Both held downtown, adjoining Mars Hill University. Free. 10 AM-4 PM. Small fee for indoor evening concert.
9 to 5 The Musical, Asheville Community Theatre
A very fun classic with music by Dolly Parton! Working 9 to 5, three female employees rid themselves of their horrible chauvinistic boss and take control of the company. Thurs, Fri & Sat 7:30 PM, Sunday 2:30 PM. Downtown. Tickets from $15/person
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
Top art show! See and buy traditional and contemporary fine art and craft directly from members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, with 200+ juried artists from mountain regions of nine states. Held inside the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville.
Top 50 Summer Festivals & Events
See our list of the best festivals and summer events in Asheville and the surrounding towns and mountains during June-August.
NC Apple Festival
Downtown Hendersonville features more than 150 vendors lining eight blocks of the main event area. There is continuous entertainment from 10 AM-10 PM each day. The King Apple Parade, always held on Labor Day, culminates the Main Street activities.
HardLox Jewish Festival
Come enjoy lots of delicious Jewish foods in downtown Asheville, have your name written in Hebrew, learn about Jewish holidays and the Torah, and join in singing and dancing.
Thanksgiving Day & Weekend
See things to do on the holiday weekend, including the best restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day. Kick off the holiday season in style!
Polar Express Train
Ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express Train at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to pick up Santa. It's fun for all ages. Departs from Bryson City. See our guide for all the details.
Art After Dark
Downtown Waynesville galleries present special shows, with refreshments and live music 6-9 PM. Tree lighting too. Very festive small town atmosphere. Kicks off "Holly Days" weekend.
Exhibition at the North Carolina Arboretum by Asheville-Blue Ridge Rose Society with award-winning roses of every color and size. Experts on hand to answer questions and provide information about the selection, care and history of roses.
Shindig on the Green
Musicians and dancers from across Western North Carolina gather to share the region's stirring Southern Appalachian mountain culture and traditions outdoors in downtown Asheville. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and stake out a spot on the "green."
Cherokee Voices Festival
Experience the 11,000-year old Cherokee culture through dance, music, storytelling, arts and crafts. Held at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 10 AM-5 PM, with a blowgun contest at 11 AM. Traditional food available for purchase. Free admission.
NOC Outdoor Elements Festival
Celebrate spring at Nantahala Outdoor Center with a free, family-friendly event by the Nantahala River with the 5K, vendor fair, gear demos, food, music and specials at the Outfitter's Store. 9 AM-8 PM
Western North Carolina Pottery Festival
Meet 45 master potters from 17 states as they come together in Dillsboro for this premier art event. Buy amazing creations that you will treasure for a lifetime.
Heritage Weekend at Folk Art Center
This free festival features traditional music, dancing and heritage craft demonstrations. A highlight is the World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition on Saturday.