N.C. Fall Mountain Festivals
The North Carolina mountains are something special any time of year, but when fall approaches, they really shine. What better way to enjoy all the beauty and fun that the region has to offer than with a family-friendly festival or event? Here are our top picks for October.
Asheville Downtown Gallery Association Art Walk
Downtown Asheville Art District
Friday, Oct. 4, 5-8 p.m.
Expose the family to a bit of artistry as you stroll through the 25 downtown venues featuring the work of local craftsmen. There are galleries, studios and museums included in the Art Walk, all within a half-mile radius.
Maggie Valley Oktoberfest
Maggie Valley Festival Grounds, 3374 Soco Road
Friday, Oct. 4, 4-8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 5, noon-11 p.m.
Honoring the many fine German traditions associated with Oktoberfest, the first annual Maggie Valley event will feature customary German foods such as bratwursts, Bavarian soft pretzels and, of course, beer. There will also be live music, arts and craft vendors, games, dancing, and a children’s stage and play area.
Brushy Mountain Apple Festival
Main and Ninth streets, North Wilkesboro
Saturday Oct. 5, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
One of Wilkes County’s biggest fundraisers, the Apple Festival highlights Appalachian heritage through a variety of arts and crafts, and entertainment. The festival is expecting 425 arts and crafts vendors, 100 food concessions, and four stages featuring bluegrass, country, folk and gospel music. Cloggers, folk dancers, rope skippers and square dancers provide additional entertainment.
Mars Hill Heritage Festival
Main Street, Mars Hill
Saturday, Oct. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
This family-friendly event features more than 75 local arts and crafts vendors with locally made jams, jellies and other tasty treats. Interested in learning a new hobby? There will be craft demonstrations, too. Kids and adults will enjoy the traditional mountain music as well. Now in its 18th year, the Heritage Festival is held in the picturesque downtown and nearby Mars Hill College.
Farm City Day
Jackson Park, Hendersonville
Saturday, Oct. 5, 10 a.m. -4 p.m.
Take a step back in time to learn how people once worked North Carolina’s rich land. Farm City Day features antique farm equipment (alongside more modern tools), as well as several free family-focused activities. Enjoy live music, clogging or square dancing, peruse the variety of arts and crafts, let the kids play games, or simply enjoy the many delicious food offerings.
Creatures of the Night and Bonfire Delight
2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville
Saturday, Oct. 5, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
$12 for children ages 8-12; $18 for adults
Make your reservation now to experience the mountains after dark and get in the spirit for Halloween. Families with children 8 and older can enjoy stories told by firelight and rare after-dark tours of Grandfather Mountain, including a visit to a bear habitat and an owl prowl. Learn interesting historical facts about the area as you meet the mountain’s nocturnal residents.
Peanuts Pumpkin Patch Express
226 Everett St., Bryson City
Saturday, Oct. 5-Sunday, Oct. 27
Departures at 3 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays
Adults, $55; ages 2-12, $31; under 2, free
Prepare for the Great Pumpkin’s visit by buying a ticket to this kid-focused event. Enjoy a narration of Charles Schultz’s classic story “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” while riding a train around the Pumpkin Patch. Kids can wear their costumes and enjoy a photo op with Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy, as well as campfire marshmallows, a coloring station, temporary tattoos, trick-or-treating, a bouncy house, hayrides and live music.
Cashiers Leaf Festival
Frank Allen Road, Cashiers
Friday, Oct.11, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday Oct. 13, 10 a.m.-5p.m.
This three-day event celebrates all the beauty the mountains have to offer in autumn. The centerpiece of the leaf season, the festival highlights a variety of arts and crafts from local and regional artisans, food from area restaurants, music from a variety of bands on two stages, and activities for all ages at various locations throughout Cashiers Valley.
Boone Heritage Festival
Daniel Boone Park, 591 Horn in the West Drive
Saturday, Oct. 12, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Enjoy 18th-century re-enactors, historical demonstrations, craft vendors, kids’ activities, music, a flatfoot dance workshop and showcase, storytelling, and more.
1009 Sugar Mountain Drive, Sugar Mountain
Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 13, 10 a.m. -5 p.m.
Held at Sugar Mountain Resort, the 23rd Annual Oktoberfest lets you bring out the beer stein and put on your dirndl to have a great, fun-filled time for the whole family. Kids will love the hay rides, inflatable bounce houses, an 18-hole mini-golf course, a climbing wall and a chance to meet Sugar Bear and Sweetie Bear. Mom and Dad can enjoy the work of local artisans and craftsmen, as well as the delicious Bavarian (and American) cuisine offered.
36th Annual Woolly Worm Festival
NC 184/NC 105, Banner Elk
Saturday, Oct. 19, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 20, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Adults, $5; $2 for ages 5-12; free for ages 0-4
Help celebrate the coming winter and the snow season by buying a ticket for the Woolly Worm Festival. Where else can your woolly worm participate in a race up a string for the honor of predicting the severity of the coming winter? In addition to the races, there will be crafts, food vendors and live entertainment. A portion of the proceeds from the event goes to support children’s charities throughout the county.
Ginny Gaylor is a freelance writer/editor based in Greensboro and mom of one. Visit her website at ginnygaylor.com.