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Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food and beer at this big outdoor concert in downtown Asheville. Free admission, 5-9 PM.
Front Street Arts & Crafts Show
Stroll downtown artsy Dillsboro and interact with more than 40 of the region's best artisans. Browse the many shops and galleries while experiencing some of the area's best restaurants. Entertainment and festival food round out a great family day that celebrates mountain art and culture. Free admission. Pets welcomed. 10 AM-4 PM.
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.
This street festival in downtown Waynesville is the ultimate cultural exchange with international and regional artwork, international dance and music from Folkmoot USA, and great food. 10 AM-5 PM. Free admission.
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
This drive-thru light show in south Asheville features 50 animated light displays and thousands of colored lights in a lakeside park. $10 per car. 6-9 PM. Tickets must be purchased online.
Tryon Block House Steeplechase
A festive day with picnics, sundresses, elegant hats, tailgating and the sights & sounds of thoroughbreds thundering past in Tryon, at the longest running steeplechase in North Carolina. The National Steeplechase Association sanctions four of the races.
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 quilting, photography, extreme garden vegetables, flowers, crafts, and more. Watch craftspeople at work.
Autumn at Oz at Beech Mtn
There's no place like the Beech Mountain's Land of Oz. Stroll along the yellow brick road, experience a recreation of Dorothy's journey from her home in Kansas and meet many of the characters so central to "The Wizard of Oz." The event sells out, so buy tickets ahead.
This free festival in downtown Asheville is a celebration of African-Caribbean culture with music, craft market, food vendors, dance performances and competitions, a special area with activities for kids and much more!
Flock to Rock Birding Day
Led by birding experts, events at Chimney Rock Park includes bird walks, workshops ranging from bird photography to hummingbirds, hawk watches and family nature walks.
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.
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.
Kenilworth Artists Open Studio Tour
Kenilworth neighborhood, just five minutes from downtown Asheville, annual Open Studio Tour features 20+ jewelers, painters, glass-workers, fabric artists, potters, woodworkers, photographers and more!
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.
Art in Autumn Fest
Fun outdoor arts and crafts festival in Weaverville that includes 100 juried artists, food and live music. Free admission and parking. Just 7 miles north of downtown Asheville.
Lake Lure Olympiad
One of the biggest sports festivals in NC, the event in the spectacular Hickory Nut Gorge is anchored by three major races: 10K Dam Run, Triathlon and Race up Chimney Rock. Events for kids, beginner athletes and spectators, too.
National Gingerbread House Competition
See the winning gingerbread houses and creations virtually this year at The Omni Grove Park Inn! See our guide for all the details.
Coon Dog Day Festival
A street festival for dogs and their people with great food, live music, a very fun parade, crafts, street dance, dog competitions, and more in Saluda. Live entertainment until 11 PM. Free admission.
The Fantasticks, Asheville Community Theatre
See the longest-running musical in the world - a timeless romantic charmer that manages to be nostalgic and universal at the same time and is punctuated by a series of classic songs. Fri & Sat 7:30, Sun 2:30, Thurs Feb 20 & 27 7:30. Tickets from $15
At North Carolina’s premier cider celebration, taste 90 different varieties of cider and mead from 20+ 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 Carrier Park near the River Arts District. $33/person advance tickets.
Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas (Virtual)
The Christmas show comes to your home this year! Experience the magic and merriment on stage and around town as this year's one-of-a-kind production was filmed on the Rock and in Hendersonville, capturing the spirit of the holidays like never before with dancing on Main Street, fireside singing, stunning performances on stage, and a virtually connected chorus.
Hear and feel the beat at the weekly drum circle every Friday night in downtown Asheville in Pritchard Park. And dance the night away!
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.
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."
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 at the Gathering Place.
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
Drive through a one-mile stretch of impressive light displays and unique exhibits at the Arboretum! We are delighted to be a sponsor of this festive event.
Carolina Bonsai Expo at NC Arboretum
As the premier annual bonsai event of the Southeast, the Expo offers programs for both the bonsai community and general public. It features a juried display of bonsai, a renowned bonsai marketplace, workshops, free demonstrations and more. Free event admission, parking fee.
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.
Easter Weekend in Asheville
Easter Weekend brings blooms, bunnies, egg hunts, Sunday brunch, sunrise services and more in Asheville and the North Carolina mountains.
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.
LEAF Downtown Asheville
International music festival at Pack Square Park downtown with three stages of music, food trucks and 90 local and artisan vendors on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday until 10 PM. Free.
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.
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
NC Mineral and Gem Festival
Go to Spruce Pine to shop, swap, and discover beautiful jewelry, gemstones, minerals, fossils, and more - indoors at 31 Cross Street. Mine tours also. Grassy Creek Gem Show outdoors at Parkway Fire Department (136 Majestic View) with 60 vendors.
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.
Spring Herb Festival at WNC Ag Center
Largest herb festival in the Southeast with 50+ businesses with plants, books, soaps, herbal crafts, medicinal herbs, lotions, dried flowers, baked goods, herbal gifts and much more. Free admission.
Arbor Evenings, NC Arboretum
Sip and stroll through the NC Arboretum gardens after dark (5:30-8 PM) with live music. Light food, beer, and wine available for purchase. Admission is $5 per person.
A great celebration of the local beer scene, mixing Bavarian traditions with Asheville's eclectic vibe. Downtown. Tickets required if you are tasting!
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.
Mountain Life Festival Great Smoky Mtns
Experience the traditional fall activities that were an important part of rural life in the Great Smoky Mountains, including hearth cooking, apple butter and apple cider making, blacksmithing, lye soap making, food preservation, broom making and quilting - at the Mountain Farm Museum. 10AM-3:30PM
NC Apple Festival
Spread out with a self-guided tour of orchards in the area with apples, food, vendors, shopping, and more at each location! This event will not have the downtown street fair, music, kiddie carnival, or parade. But come back to Hendersonville for added food and shopping all weekend! 10 AM-10 PM each day all weekend.
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.
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.
Church Street Art & Craft Show
Main Street in Waynesville transforms into an arts & crafts marketplace, one of the finest juried art shows in NC. Also enjoy live mountain music, clogging, entertainment and food. Browse many downtown galleries. Free. 10 AM-5 PM.
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.
Lake Lure Polar Plunge
Hundreds of brave (and crazy) people take the New Year’s Polar Plunge at Lake Lure and freeze for a reason – to support local first responders. Many more come to watch the fun, complete with bonfires to keep warm! The chilly dip takes place on New Year's Day at 12 Noon. It's a very festive time with fantastic costumes and music. Events will all be outdoors on the beach.
Two Rhododendron Festivals (North Carolina and Tennessee versions) are held in the Roan Mountain area! The one in Bakersville NC is Friday & Saturday. In TN, it's Saturday & Sunday.
A Night Before Christmas
Downtown Waynesville's historic Main Street area's shops, galleries and restaurants open late from 6-9 PM with live music, live carolers, Bethlehem market place and live natvity, old-fashioned wagon rides, Santa & Mrs. Claus, storytelling, luminary-lined streets and more. Small town Christmas at its finest.
Lake Lure Autumn Arts Festival
See and buy craft and art by 90+ artists from many different disciplines. Also enjoy live music and entertainment, many food vendors and the beauty of the lake. Sat 10-6, Sun 10-4. Free admission. 119 Arcade St, Lake Lure
Art on Main, Hendersonville
Buy from juried fine artists with paintings, clay, metal, wood, fiber, jewelry, glass, and more. Virtual showrooms will be available on both days, 1-4 PM. The main event is Sat & Sun, 11 AM-6 PM
The Big Crafty
See 150+ local indie artists, crafters, makers with food, drink and music in Pack Square Park downtown, 12-6 PM.
Mountain Dance & Folk Festival
A favorite showcase since 1928, mountain fiddlers, banjo pickers, dulcimer sweepers, dancers, balladeers, and others come together for a showcase of authentic bluegrass music and dancing in Asheville.
Holiday Season Top 50 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 and Biltmore Estate.
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.
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 on a lake with camping and limited tickets.
Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival
Get ready to laugh at the largest stand-up comedy event in the southeast returns with 40 comics performing at multiple venues in Asheville. Single event tickets & combo passes.
A big street festival in downtown Morganton that includes fine arts and crafts, festival cuisine, a beer garden, teen and kid zones, four stages of entertainment, a sunrise run on Saturday and much more. 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 5 PM. Offers an array of delicious foods, too.
July 4th Week Festivals, Parades, Fireworks
Much is happening throughout the Week of July 4th with many parades and fireworks on Independence Day - in Asheville and many small towns in western North Carolina mountains.
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.
Cherokee Voices Festival
Experience the 11,000-year old Cherokee culture through dance, music, storytelling, blowgun contest, arts and crafts. Held at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 10 AM-5 PM. Traditional food available for purchase. Free admission.
Toe River Studio Tour
Drive scenic mountain roads to find 100 fine artists and crafts people in every medium at their studios for a free, self-guided cultural adventure in the Penland, Spruce Pine and Burnsville area.
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!
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
Winter Events & Valentine Outings
See our top picks for things to do and events in January, February and March - including Valentine's Weekend!
Forest Festival at Cradle of Forestry
More than 80 traditional craftsmen, exhibitors and entertainers celebrate our forests at the site of the first forestry school in America. Wood carvers, weavers, blacksmith, archery, horse-drawn wagon rides, and lumberjack competition at the adjacent Pink Beds picnic area.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This festival of flowers celebrates two months of spring blooms that include 75,000+ tulips, orchids, azalaeas and elaborate floral displays inside Biltmore House.
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. Glaze and see the firing of raku pots. 10 AM-4 PM. 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.
Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries
Experience the magic as the charming village is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter, and song! Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa.
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.
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.
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. Highly popular!
Saluda Arts Festival
Outstanding festival with 100% hand-picked 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.