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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.
NC Gold Festival
Annual event at Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort features gold exhibits, gold mining techniques and demonstrations, treasure and scavenger hunts, geocaching, gold panning, numerous vendors including arts and crafts, raffles. 9 AM-6 PM. 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.
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.
Christmas Candlelight Tour at Vance Birthplace
Be transported to an 1830s era Christmas celebrated in the mountains of North Carolina, just 15 minutes north of Asheville. The two-story reconstructed log house, will be decorated and costumed guides will relate the symbolism of each of the decorations. Live music. $5/person. 4-8:30 PM
Two Rhododendron Festivals (North Carolina and Tennessee versions) are held in the Roan Mountain area!
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.
Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest
This festival at Highland Brewing Company will include hands-on activities, a grilled cheese cook off, milking demonstrations, panel discussions, workshops, vendors and 19 cheese makers from across the south. Advance tickets (at www.mountaincheesefest.com) are $12 for ages 13+. Tickets at the door $15. 12-4 PM.
Carolina Craft Day
Celebrate traditional and contemporary Southern Appalachian art and craft 10 AM-4 PM at the Arboretum’s Education Center, with artists working in fiber, paper, clay, metal, and wood as well as traditional music and informational craft demonstrations.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Colorfest Arts Fest in Dillsboro
This colorful festival features more than 40 vendors of fine arts and crafts, food, and entertainment along Front Street in artsy Dillsboro. Many galleries too. Free admission. 10 AM-4 PM
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
Stroll through impressive light displays in the Arboretum gardens, especially designed to compliment the plants and trees in this beautiful setting. We are delighted to be a sponsor of this festive event.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Holiday Twilight Tour
Join the locals in a longtime favorite in downtown Brevard tradition. After the Christmas parade at 3 PM, Main Street will be closed to traffic so you can enjoy live music, horse-drawn carriages, bonfires, shopping, vendors and more, 4-8 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.
Blue Ridge Pride
This year's pride festival is expected to be the biggest and most entertaining Blue Ridge Pride festival yet. Come enjoy more than 100 vendors, entertainment, as well as a kids area with lots of fun activities and entertainment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Get a free livermush sandwich with live music, best dressed pig contest, cooking contest and more in downtown Marion.
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.
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
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.
Church Street Waynesville Art & Craft Show
Main Street is transformed into an art & craft marketplace for this one-day event; widely known as one of the finest juried art shows in the region. Also enjoy live mountain music, clogging, entertainment, and food.
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.
Block House Steeplechase
Usher in spring with picnics, sundresses, elegant hats, tailgating, and the sounds & sights of thoroughbreds thundering past in Tryon, at the longest running steeplechase in North Carolina. The National Steeplechase Association sanctions four of the races.
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
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
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!
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.
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
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.
Art After Dark
Downtown Waynesville and Frog Level galleries present special shows with refreshments and live music 6-9 PM. Very festive small town atmosphere.
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.
Guild Artist Holiday 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
Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival
The largest stand-up comedy event in the southeast returns to downtown Asheville.
Jeeves In Bloom at NC Stage Theatre
Professional theatre in downtown Asheville: In the very fun play, high society playboy Bertie Wooster and his school chum, Eustace, visit the English Countryside with mayhem ensues.
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
The Craft Fair showcases work by members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, with over 900 members throughout the mountain regions of nine states. Members' work must be juried and accepted by a committee of peers, based on quality, design and craftsmanship.
Christmas Day & Week Dining, Attractions
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and Week in Asheville and the surrounding mountains.
Mother Earth News Fair
Huge, sustainable living event with more than 200 hands-on workshops and demonstrations at the WNC Ag Center.
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!
Greening Up the Mountains Festival
Celebrate the arrival of spring with this downtown Sylva street festival, about an hour's drive west of Asheville.
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.
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.
Asheville Downtown Gallery Art Walk
Galleries stay open late with special exhibits and artist mingling.
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.
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.
Tour de Falls at DuPont State Forest
This is the perfect opportunity for those unable to hike to waterfalls to enjoy them! The Friends of Dupont State Forest coordinates this 12-mile shuttlebus ride to see four popular waterfalls: Triple Falls, High Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Lake Julia.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
Craftspeople at the Folk Art Center share their inspiration and expertise in a variety of textile arts. Saturday demons include: quilting and appliqué, doll making, weaving, mixed media fiber arts, clothing, printing design, tapestry weaving, and natural dyeing. Two fashion shows on Sunday! Free admission.
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.
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.
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.
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.
River District Artists Studio Stroll
Tour studios of 180+ artists in 25 buildings along the river. Watch them create an eclectic mix, from traditional to cutting-edge. See special gallery exhibits and demonstrations. Near downtown Asheville and Biltmore. 10-5.
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.
Asheville Art in the Park
See and buy fine arts and crafts from dozens of local artists at Pack Square Park in downtown.
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.
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.
A Night Before Christmas
Downtown Waynesville's Main Street area is filled with bright lights, friendly folks, the wonderful sounds of the Christmas season, special gallery openings, delicious food and drink. 6-9 PM
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.
This festival of flowers celebrates two months of spring blooms that include 75,000+ tulips, orchids, azalaeas and elaborate floral displays.
Apple Harvest Festival
This festival in downtown Waynesville features live mountain music, dance, craft and demonstration booths, apples, cider, fresh fried pies, and other apple delicacies. 10AM-5 PM. Free