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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.
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.
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.
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.
NC Mineral and Gem Festival
Go to Spruce Pine to shop, swap and discover beautiful jewelry, gemstones, minerals, fossils and more. $3/person. Also, go to Grassy Creek Gem Show at Parkway Fire Department (136 Majestic View) with 60 vendors and free admission.
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.
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.
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!
Downtown After Five
Enjoy free live music, food and beer in downtown Asheville, starting at 5 PM on Lexington Avenue.
Spruce Pine Potters Market
A gathering of 30+ top potters and clay artists with functional pottery, figurative sculpture, stoneware, earthenware and more. Indoors at Cross Street Center (31 Cross St) in downtown Spruce Pine. Free admission. 10 AM-5 PM.
New Year's Eve
Head to downtown Asheville for many dining and entertainment choices. See our New Year Celebrations and Things to Do.
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.
Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest
This festival at Highland Brewing Company includes hands-on fun, grilled cheese cook-off, 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.
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 fast!
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.
Craftspeople at the Folk Art Center share their inspiration and expertise in a variety of textile arts. Saturday demonstrations 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.
Celebrate the Appalachian Trail in Hot Springs, where it goes through town on Main Street. Spaghetti Dinner kick-off on Friday evening, Saturday fun with bicycles, skateboarding, hula-hooping, river rafting, soccer, yoga and more! Pancakes and float trip on Sunday.
Mother Earth News Fair
Huge, sustainable living event with more than 200 hands-on workshops and demonstrations at the WNC Ag Center.
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.
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.
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 AM-4 PM.
Asheville Art in the Park
See and buy fine arts and crafts from dozens of local artists at Pack Square Park in downtown.
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."
Holiday Season Top Events (November & December)
See our favorite events, festivals and art shows during the holiday season in Asheville and western North Carolina.
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.
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.
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.
Dahlia Tuber Sale
See a big variety of dahlia tubers and chrysanthemum-rooted cuttings featuring cultivated varieties available for sale. Learn from Dahlia Society experts about how to produce plants with show-quality blooms.
NOC Spring Fling
Check out the season's hottest gear (with free test paddling) at the NOC's Outfitter's Store on the Nantahala River. Top it off with free live music and local brews.
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.
Get a free livermush sandwich with live music, best dressed pig contest, cooking contest and more in downtown Marion.
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.
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 admission.
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
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.
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.
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.
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Experience the magic as the entire town 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.
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.
Longtime favorite international cultural arts and music weekend festival by the lake, in Black Mountain with camping and limited tickets.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy great music, food and beer in downtown Asheville at this popular outdoor concert.
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.
Migratory Bird Day
Take a guided bird walk, attend a live raptor program and see a bird survey demonstration at the Cradle of Forestry. The forests and fields here are alive with song as migratory birds arrive at their summer habitats.
Live music & entertainment, crafts and food to showcase ramps, a naturally-grown wild onion found in the mountains. Held in Waynesville at the American Legion Post 47, 171 Legion Drive.
Art on Main Downtown Hendersonville
Enjoy fine arts and crafts along Main Street in downtown Hendersonville, 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!
Block House Steeplechase
Usher in spring 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 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.
Downtown After Five Live Music
Free live music concert, as well as a wide variety of food and drink vendors. Lexington Avenue in Asheville.
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.
This festival of flowers celebrates two months of spring blooms that include 75,000+ tulips, orchids, azalaeas and elaborate floral displays inside Biltmore House.
Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival
The largest stand-up comedy event in the southeast returns to downtown Asheville.
Asheville Holiday Parade
Downtown, 11 AM. A fun and creative parade that kicks off Asheville's holiday season with marching bands, floats, dance and theater troupes, walking groups and Santa Claus himself.
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.
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.
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 AM-4 PM. Free admission.
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.
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."
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.
Christmas Day & Week Dining, Attractions
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville and the surrounding mountains.
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.
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.
Candlelight Christmas Stroll
Downtown Weaverville has luminaries along the streets, local choirs and bands will provide music, and horse and buggy rides will be available through town. 6-9 PM. Local businesses will be open late and the official tree lighting at 7:30 PM.
Mountain Dance & Folk Festival
Since 1928, mountain fiddlers, banjo pickers, dulcimer sweepers, dancers, balladeers and others have come together the first weekend in August for a showcase of authentic bluegrass music and dancing in Asheville.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 admission.
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.
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.
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.
North Carolina's Official International Festival is a 10-day celebration of the world's cultural heritage through folk music and dance with performances, a parade and more in Waynesville and many WNC towns.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas Spectacular
Original musical revue preformed by favorite Playhouse singers and dancers at the State Theatre of North Carolina, near Hendersonville.
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.
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.