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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
Holiday Season Top Events (November & December)
See our favorite events, festivals and art shows during the holiday season in Asheville and western North Carolina during November and December.
Summer Festivals & Events - June, July & August
See our list of the best festivals and summer events in Asheville and the surrounding towns and mountains during June-August.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy free live music, food and beer in downtown Asheville, starting at 5 PM on Lexington Avenue.
Brevard Music Center Festival
Four hundred of the most talented students in the world join Brevard's artist faculty to present more than 80 concerts in a beautiful setting.
NOC's Guest Appreciation Weekend
This longtime favorite weekend at Nantahala Outdoor Center features free attractions, live music, and entertainment - along with great end-of-season deals.
Presented by the Organic Growers School in Asheville, experts will teach you about harvesting, canning, growing, gardening, energy, cooking and more…all organically. Get down-to-earth advice on growing and sustainable living, while remaining affordable and accessible.
Asheville Running Experience
Six races include ARX Half Marathon, Super Hero 5K, half mile Funktastik Fun Run in the South Slope district in Asheville. Plus, a 8k trail run and Incredible Asheville Urban Odyssey competition.
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.
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.
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.
Historic Morganton Festival
A big street festival in downtown Morganton that includes fine arts and crafts, festival cuisine, a wine garden featuring NC wines, teen and kid zones, four stages of entertainment, a sunrise run on Saturday, and much more. Free admission!
Forest Festival at Cradle of Forestry
A gathering of more than 80 traditional craftsmen, exhibitors, forestry students, and entertainers gather to celebrate our forests and our forest heritage. Some highlights include wood carvers, weavers, a blacksmith, fly fishing, archery, face painting, horse drawn wagon rides, and the John G. Palmer Intercollegiate Woodsmen's Meet.
National Gingerbread House Competition
See the winning gingerbread houses and creations on display at The Omni Grove Park Inn, elaborately decorated for the season. Public viewing Sunday-Thursday. See our guide for all the details.
Downtown After Five Live Music
Free live music concert, as well as a wide variety of food and drink vendors on Lexington Avenue in Asheville.
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 at Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and stake out a spot on the "green."
Flock to Rock Birding Weekend
Led by birding experts, this weekend at Chimney Rock Park includes bird walks, workshops ranging from bird photography to hummingbirds, hawk watches, and family nature walks.
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.
Front Street Arts & Crafts Show
Stroll down the main street in artsy Dillsboro and see works 40 of the best regional artisans, along with family entertainment and festival food. Many galleries too. 10-4
Live music & entertainment, crafts and food to showcase ramps, a naturally grown wild onion grown in the mountains, held in Waynesville at the American Legion Post 47, 171 Legion Drive
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 in downtown Asheville in Pack Square Park. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and stake out a spot on the "green."
Small Town Christmas, Rutherfordton
Many events along Main Street throughout the day 1-7 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 PM at Courthouse. All free to attend.
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! 10-5. Free admission. See our guide for details.
Chili Cook Off
Sample chili ranging from mild to wild and in red, white, and vegetarian recipes at the depot in downtown Bryson City. Also enjoy live music, handcrafted arts and desserts. $5 wristband for sampling. 11 AM-3 PM
Mountain State Fair
Enjoy lots of rides, exhibits, animals, food and much more. Fun for all ages! We especially love the impressive exhibits in various buildings. See the many competitions from quilt making, photography, extreme garden vegetables, flowers, crafts and more. Watch craftspeople at work.
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.
Greening Up the Mountains Festival
Celebrate the arrival of spring with this downtown Sylva street festival, about an hour's drive west of Asheville.
Toe River Studio Tour
Self-driving tour to discover studios of 100+ artists and craftsmen, many internationally known and from the acclaimed Penland School of Crafts. A blend of contemporary and traditional art - Burnsville and Spruce Pine area. Free admission
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food and beer in downtown Asheville, starting at 5 PM. Free admission.
Spruce Pine Potters & Heritage Fest
A gathering of some of our region's greatest potters and clay artists. Watch and/or participate in making apple cider, weaving on an old spinning wheel, and a chair being caned.
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, and a grilled dinner and a special outdoor performance by the Rutherford County Orchestra at the Gathering Place.
Potters of Madison County
20+ ceramic artists from the Southeast showcase diverse contemporary selection at the Marshall High Studios in downtown Marshall, 9 AM-5 PM. No admission fee.
Asheville Orchid Festival
The Western NC Orchid Society hosts a big show and competition at the North Carolina Arboretum. Hundreds of orchids will be on display and vendors will be selling them with plenty of advice.
All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
NC Stage Theatre in downtown Asheville presents a poignant moment in history when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday together with holiday songs. Extended by popular demand! No shows Dec 24-26.
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.
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. See our guide for all the details.
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.
Thanksgiving Day & Weekend
See things to do on the holiday weekend, including best restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day. Kick off the holiday season in style!
Nantahala Outdoor Center's (NOC) jamboree to celebrate the Appalachian Trail, with outdoor adventure-themed film screenings, a vendor village, gear repair, and tournaments to support the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Also enjoy product giveaways, door prizes and live music.
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.
Get a free livermush sandwich with live music, best dressed pig contest, cooking contest and more in downtown Marion.
Downtown Brevard Halloweenfest
This festival features a Flight of the Vampire 5K, 10K, and Children’s Fun Run, costume contest and parade, chili cook-off and pie bake-off, street vendors, a pumpkin carving contest, haunted house, masquerade ball, Boo-T-Ful Me fashion show, Mountain Music Mash competition, ghost tours, and more.
Mars Hill Heritage & Music Festival
Two longtime running festival celebrate mountain craft, music and dance, the Heritage Festival and the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Music Festival, held downtown and adjoining Mars Hill University. Free.10 AM-4 PM. Indoor evening concert for a small fee.
Snowbound @ ACT Theatre
See a world premier at Asheville Community Theatre. Snowbound takes you to a small town depot in 1955 where a snow storm forces strangers become friends. Original bluegrass music played live onstage by members of Buncombe Turnpike and Sons of Ralph.
Bluff Mountain Festival
This free, family-friendly festival in Hot Springs features great old-time and bluegrass music, ballads, clogging and square dance, and a silent auction and raffle of regional artwork, local crafts, vacation packages, and more. Begins at 10 AM with an array of delicious foods and ends with a square dance until dark.
WNC Daylily Flower Show
Hundreds of daylilies will be on display and for sale at the North Carolina Arboretum, hosted by the WNC Daylily Society. Society members provide information on care and cultivation of daylilies.
Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland
Drive the two-mile route through spectacular light displays at the WNC Ag Center in south Asheville. See our guide for details.
This festival of flowers celebrates two months of spring blooms that include 75,000+ tulips, orchids, azalaeas and elaborate floral displays.
Appalachian Lifestyle Celebration
A full day celebration of traditional mountain craft, food, and entertainment in downtown Waynesville. Demonstrations of Appalachian life skills & crafts, storytelling, mountain music & clogging, home-style food vendors. 10 AM –5 PM, Free.
Cherokee Lights & Legends Christmas
Experience a Cherokee Christmas interactive displays of Cherokee legends, ice skating, a 40-ft. Christmas tree, lights, games, caroling competition, crafts and more. 5-10 PM. Free admission. 4 Weekends. Fireworks on New Year's Eve, 10 PM.
Lake Lure Olympiad
Considered by athletes as one of the most scenic race weekends on any calendar. Anchored by a “3 Races in 3 Days Challenge,” the sports festival dares athletes of all levels.
Asheville Holiday Parade
Downtown, 11 AM. A fun and creative parade that kicks off Asheville's holiday season with marching bands, floats, dance & theater troupes, walking groups and Santa Claus himself.
Santa on the Chimney
Watch Santa practicing for his world-wide chimney-dropping tour on his "practice chimney", the 312 foot tall Chimney Rock monolith. Included with park admission.
Wild Goose Festival
A festival of justice, spirituality, music and the arts in Hot Springs. Talk, listen, eat and camp together, captivated and challenged by the call of radical humanity, and who seek to celebrate diversity and promote the common good.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food and beer at this outdoor concert in downtown Asheville. Free admission.
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 basket and doll making, apple cider and apple butter. 10 AM-2 PM. Free
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.
The union of a wide variety of cultures - African, Latin, Appalachian, Cajun, Celtic, Blues, Bluegrass, French, Texas Sounds and more - that includes healing arts, poetry, music, dance, visual arts, and an African drum circle. The fun outdoor, ticketed festival near Black Mountain. Get tickets well in advance.
Pow Wow at Cherokee
Experience authentic Indian dancing, drumming and tribal regalia. Dance competitions kick the excitement up even higher. Enjoy crafts, food and fireworks too.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy great music, food and beer in downtown Asheville at this popular outdoor concert.
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.
Saluda Arts Festival
Outstanding festival with 100% handpicked regional artists along Saluda's historic Main Street. See a big diversity of art media and enjoy music representing Americana, blues, folk and contemporary. Watch artist demonstrations. Free. 10 AM-4 PM.
A weekend at LEAF is the equivalent of going on a year-long multicultural musical and dance odyssey - longtime favorite festival held in Black Mountain.
This free weekend festival in downtown Asheville is a celebration of African-Caribbean culture. It includes a variety of music, craft and food vendors, dance performances and competitions, a special area with activities for kids, and much more!
Olde Fashioned Hendersonville Christmas
Walk down Main Street in beautiful downtown Hendersonville, filled with shopping, hot cider, cookies, carolers and food! 5-8 PM. Parade Saturday at 10 AM.
Lake Lure Polar Plunge
Jump into the chilly waters of Lake Lure to raise money for local charities. What a way to start the new year!
Potters and ceramic artists of the Southern Highlands Guild at the Folk Art Center share a variety of techniques such as throwing, sculpture and coil-building. Visitors can glaze and watch the firing of raku pots. 10-4. Free.
NC Mineral and Gem Festival
Thousands of visitors from across the country come to shop, swap and discover beautiful jewelry, gemstones, minerals, fossils and more in Spruce Pine.
At North Carolina’s premier cider celebration, taste hard cider from 20 cidermakers and enjoy workshops, local arts and crafts, unique food pairings and live music. Benefits Western NC Green Building Council. 1-5 PM at Salvage Station. $30/person advance tickets
Asheville Art in the Park
From pottery to jewelry and sculpture to two-dimensional art, this art festival brings together a wide array of traditional and contemporary mountain art in Pack Square Park.
Garden Jubilee Festival
This Downtown Hendersonville Festival is the ideal event for passionate gardeners searching for the perfect plants and unique lawn & garden accessories and arts & crafts, on Memorial Day Weekend.
French Broad River Festival
This grassroots festival in Hot Springs on the banks of the French Broad features some of the best music in the area, camping and outdoor events in celebration of this beautiful river.
Spring Herb Festival at Western NC Farmer's Market
Largest Herb Festival in the Southeast with 50+ herb businesses with herb plants anywhere, herbs, books, soaps, herbal crafts, medicinal herbs, lotions, dried flowers, herbal baked goods, herbal gifts and much more.
Asheville Outdoor Show
Local outdoors retailers Diamond Brand Outdoors and Frugal Backpacker present a free public expo at Highland Brewing Company (12 Charlotte Highway, Asheville), 12 Noon until 4 PM, with the latest trends, technologies, and innovations in outdoor recreation.
Tour de Falls at DuPont State Forest
A 12-mile tour by shuttle bus to four of DuPont State Forest’s spectacular sites: Triple Falls, High Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Lake Julia. Mother's Day Weekend!
Heritage Weekend at Folk Art Center
This free festival features traditional music, dancing, and heritage craft demonstrations. Highlight is the World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition on Saturday.
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.
A great day on the French Broad River near downtown Asheville with live music, dancing, face painting, food trucks, craft beers, and arts and crafts. Our favorite is the Anything that Floats Parade competition. Free admission.
Spruce Pine BBQ Championship & Bluegrass Festival
Sanctioned professional BBQ competition includes live bluegrass, antique car & 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 $10-$18/person
Coon Dog Day Festival
A celebration for dogs and their people with great food, live music, parade, crafts, street dance, and more in Saluda. Live stage music began at 9 AM and continues all day until the end of the street dance at 10 PM.