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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.
9 to 5 The Musical, Asheville Community Theatre
A very fun classic with music by Dolly Parton! Working 9 to 5, three female employees rid themselves of their horrible chauvinistic boss and take control of the company. Thurs, Fri & Sat 7:30 PM, Sunday 2:30 PM. Downtown. Tickets from $15/person
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!
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.
Mother Earth News Fair
Huge, sustainable living event with more than 200 hands-on workshops and demonstrations at the WNC Ag Center.
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.
Downtown Brevard Halloweenfest
This festival features a Flight of the Vampire 5K, 10K and Children’s Fun Run, along with a costume contest and parade, chili cook-off, pie bake-off, street vendors, a pumpkin-carving contest, haunted house and more.
Hear and feel the beat at the weekly drum circle every Friday night in downtown Asheville in Pritchard Park. And dance the night away!
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, an 8k trail run and Incredible Asheville Urban Odyssey competition.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy great music, food and beer in downtown Asheville at this free popular outdoor concert. 5-9 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. Glaze and see the firing of raku pots. Watch the Clay Olympics. 10 AM-4 PM. 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.
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.
Appalachian Christmas Carol at Vance Birthplace
A candlelight evening of story and 1800s tradition, with a Carolina twist. Meet the ghost of Christmas past, present and future reexamine the legacy of Governor Zebulon Vance. $5/person. Tours every 30 minutes, 5-9 PM.
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.
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.
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!
Garden Jubilee Festival
This huge plant and crafts festival covers eight blocks of Main Street in downtown Hendersonville. Free seminars and tips from expects - including decks and patios. Memorial Day Weekend.
At North Carolina’s premier cider celebration, taste hard cider from 15 cider-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 Salvage Station. $30/person advance tickets.
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.
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
Free live music concert, as well as a wide variety of food and drink vendors. Lexington Avenue in Asheville. 5-9 PM.
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!
Asheville Downtown Gallery Art Walk
Galleries stay open late with special exhibits and artists mingling throughout downtown, 5-8 PM.
Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest
This festival at Highland Brewing Company includes hands-on fun, chef competition, 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.
Spring Herb Festival at Western NC Farmer's Market
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.
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.
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 by the Rutherford County Orchestra at the Gathering Place.
Easter Hat Parade in Dillsboro
Old hat, new hat, yellow hat, blue hat. They're all welcome at Dillsboro's annual Easter Hat Parade at 2 PM, showcasing a variety of interesting hats atop participants of all ages, including pets.
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. Open Wed-Sat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shindig on the Green
Musicians and dancers from Western North Carolina gather to share 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."
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.
White Squirrel Festival
Go nuts at the White Squirrel Festival in downtown Brevard that features a parade, plenty of live music, food, arts and much on Memorial Day Weekend.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Art on Main, Hendersonville
Meet and buy from 85 juried fine art artists with paintings, clay, metal, wood, fiber, jewelry, glass and more. Watch demos. Main Street downtown Hendersonville has many galleries too, Sat & Sun 10 AM-5 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 quilting, photography, extreme garden vegetables, flowers, crafts and more. Watch craftspeople at work.
Holiday Season Top 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.
Fire On the Mountain
Come to downtown Spruce Pine to see and buy works from regionally- and nationally-renowned blacksmiths demonstrating their skills from 10 AM to 4 PM. This event celebrates the mountain tradition of blacksmithing, with Master Blacksmiths sharing their expertise and talent. Free to attend.
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.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food and beer in downtown Asheville, starting at 5 PM on Lexington Avenue. Free admission.
Jeeves Takes a Bow @ NC Stage Theatre
Professional theatre in downtown Asheville: British upper crust meets the New York mob in the witty play featuring favorite hapless hero, Bertie Wooster, embarking on an American adventure armed with his handsome fortune and talent for trouble.
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."
Lake Lure Arts Festival
Check our artwork by more than 60 vendors from many different disciplines. Also enjoy live music and entertainment, food vendors and the beauty of Lake Lure.
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.
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.
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
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.
Hendersonville Home for the Holidays
Main Street twinkles with thousands of lights with many festive events including carriage rides, parade, Broadway shows, tours, ice skating and fantastic shopping.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A great day at New Belgium Brewery on the French Broad River near downtown Asheville with live music, food trucks, craft beers and more. Our favorite is the Anything that Floats Parade competition. Free admission.
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.
A great celebration of the local beer scene, mixing Bavarian traditions with Asheville's eclectic vibe. Downtown. Tickets required if you are tasting!
NOC Outdoor Elements Festival
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. 9 AM-8 PM
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.
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.
NC Gold Festival
Two small festivals east of Asheville, one in Old Fort and the other south of Marion, both with exhibits, mining demonstrations, gold panning, arts and crafts, music and food. Free admission.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Presented by the Organic Growers School in Asheville, experts teach you about harvesting, canning, growing, gardening, energy, cooking and more…all organically. Get down-to-earth advice on growing and sustainable living. Registration from $45/day.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food and beer in downtown Asheville, starting at 5 PM. Free admission.
Two Rhododendron Festivals (North Carolina and Tennessee versions) are held in the Roan Mountain area!