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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.
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.
Pinnacle Park, home of little-known Gina Falls, is just five minutes from the nearest urban area, making it a perfect destination for those who aren’t inclined to go deep into the wilderness, or who simply want a peaceful lunch break. The park’s eponymous natural feature, about a mile and a quarter up from Gina Falls, is well known among frequent travelers of US 23 and US 74. Fed by West Fork Fisher Creek, it features a 35-foot upper drop with cascades below.
Craftspeople at the Folk Art Center share their inspiration and expertise in a variety of textile arts. Saturday demos include quilting and appliqué, doll making, weaving, mixed media fiber arts, clothing, printing design, tapestry weaving and natural dyeing. Two fashion shows on Sunday (Mother's Day)! Free admission.
Montford Home Tour
Explore Asheville’s Montford historic neighborhood with Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Greek Revival and Dutch Colonial homes dating back to the late 1800s. Self-guided tour of 10 homes, 1-5 PM, $25/person. Tickets at Asheville Visitor Center (36 Montford Ave).
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.
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.
Brevard Music Center Summer Festival
One of the country's premier summer music festivals with 100+ 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).
A towering 200-foot falls running parallel to what the Franklin Press once called likely “the greatest scenic highway in all the state,” the Cullajasa River takes a plunge here, making for gorgeous drive-by scenery. A few caveats, however: The falls are only photo-worthy when there’s a steady source of water, so be sure to avoid drier seasons. And the scenic US 64 may be picturesque, but near Cullajasa Falls, it can be a bit dangerous, with blind curves, narrow roads and steep drop-offs here and there.
Chasteen Creek Falls
The cascade, fed by its namesake creek, has a drop of about 16 feet, and isn’t far from several backcountry campsites and the Cabin Flats Trail spur, for backpacking enthusiasts. If you’re fine with a little soreness the next day, use the falls as a starting point and follow the Falls Side Trail, Chasteen Creek Trail, Hughes Ridge Trail and Bradley Fork Trail, successively, for a 17.2-mile hike.
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 in downtown Asheville.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 are available for purchase. Admission is free with a $16/car parking fee for non-members. Arbor Evenings run Thursdays and Fridays, June 23 - September 30, 2022.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
This skinny, 200-ft. waterfall is located near Cherokee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's a short hike up a long staircase.
Christmas Day & Week Things to Do
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville, Biltmore and the surrounding mountain towns.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Rough Butt Creek Falls
Far off the beaten path and fed by Rough Butt Creek, this scenic, 30-foot waterfall features cascading falls, a small pool, and banks overflowing with fern and rhododendron, and rocks coated in moss. Without the old railroad running by one bank of the river, you might get the sense that you’re in the middle of the rainforest, thanks to the explosion of greenery. The 40-foot cascade hits a small pool at the bottom, which you can easily wade across for a better view. But be careful—the rocks may be slippery.
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
Chow Chow Food Festival
Savor Asheville's creative culinary scene with many events, chef demos, and hands-on experiences. Meet and connect with the makers and collaborators who nourish, nurture and create in our Appalachian Mountains.
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.
We are one stop shop for family fun in the sun.
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.
Blue Ridge Heritage Weekend
Held on the spacious farm grounds of the historic Shelton House and Museum of NC Handicrafts in Waynesville, enjoy a craft fair, Appalachian dancing, tours, music, barn exhibits, food trucks, farmers market, and theatre.
Moses Creek Falls
Calling all daredevils: While this 100-foot waterfall is a bit difficult to see, those comfortable with steep climbs and limber exploration might enjoy the thrill of finding the right angle for the perfect snapshot. The Forest Service closed the cascade to vehicle access, but its base is relatively easy to reach on foot. The perks of partially-concealed, hard-to-hike scenery? You probably won’t have to elbow any crowds to see this long series of slides, fed by West Fork Moses Creek.
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.
Liver Mush Festival
Line up for your free Hunter's liver mush sandwich while enjoying live music, hog calling, eating contest, and more in downtown Marion, 5-9 PM.
Winter Events & Valentine Outings
See our top picks for things to do and events in January, February and March - including Valentine's Weekend!
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.
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.
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.
Hear and feel the beat at the weekly drum circle every Friday night in downtown Asheville in Pritchard Park. And dance the night away!
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.
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.
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.
Candlelight Stroll, Weaverville
Main Street Weaverville is illuminated for this festive evening with music, entertainment, Santa, kid activities, carolers, refreshments, horse carriage rides, and more. Also stroll through local shops for gifts! 6-9 PM.
Blue Ridge Pride Festival
The biggest LGBTQ pride festival in western North Carolina is held in downtown Asheville at Pack Square Park, with more than 100 vendors, entertainment, as well as a kids area with lots of fun activities.
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.
White Squirrel Weekend
Go nuts at the White Squirrel Festival in downtown Brevard that features a parade, plenty of live music, food, arts and much more on Memorial Day Weekend.
A great celebration of the local beer scene, mixing Bavarian traditions with Asheville's eclectic vibe. Downtown. Tickets required if you are tasting!
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.
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.
NOC Spring Fling
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.
A festive day at New Belgium Brewery on the French Broad River near downtown Asheville with live music, food trucks, craft beers, and more - benefits RiverLink. Our favorite is the Anything that Floats Parade competition. Free admission.
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.
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.
Lake Lure Spring Arts Festival
See and buy craft and art by 90+ artists from many different disciplines during Memorial Day Weekend. Also enjoy entertainment, food vendors and the beauty of the lake. Free admission. 119 Arcade St, 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.
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 5 PM. Offers an array of delicious foods, too.
This festival of flowers celebrates two months of spring blooms that include 75,000+ tulips, orchids, azaleas, and elaborate floral displays inside Biltmore House.
This beautiful waterfall setting is an easy hike in Pisgah National Forest. It's located in a lush cove off NC Highway 215, about 10 miles north of Highway 64 and 6.7 miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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.
Fed by Greenland Creek, this falls features multiple sections of sliding cascades, totaling 45 feet in height. The waterfall’s namesake, Carlton McNeill died at age 86 in 2007 after years of living in and caring for the hiking trails and scenery of Panthertown Valley. It’s hard to find a veteran hiker of the area who doesn’t have a memory of McNeill stumbling out of the woods to give them a hand with their expedition.
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.
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. Admission.
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.
A sandy oasis of rosebay rhododendron, laurel, and white pine, this waterfall features a small island at the downstream end of its pool—perfect for just the right photo angle. While there are no boulders to lounge on, throw down a towel for some sunbathing in this picturesque spot. Or, go for a swim in the large pool at the bottom of the long, steep slide from the Tuckasegee River, surrounded by dense underbrush.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food, and beer in downtown Asheville, starting at 5 PM on Lexington Avenue. Free admission.
Night in the Country Carolinas Music Festival, Tryon Equestrian Center & Resort
Rooted in the Carolina foothills, this music experience transforms the world-renowned Tryon International Equestrian Center into your next great country tradition.The 3-day festival features 12 mainstream country music artists, plus a variety of experiences and activities.
Hendersonville Home for the Holidays
Main Street twinkles with thousands of lights with many festive events including hayrides, tours, ice skating, and fantastic shopping.
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.
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