Festivals & Events

An Appalachian Summer

Presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts & Cultural Programs, this annual celebration of the performing and visual arts is held every July in venues across the university campus, and features an eclectic and talented mix of music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film programming.


Appalachian State University Athletics

Welcome to “The Rock.” Boone is hometown to Appalachian State University, and has a rich history in athletics.  App State athletes compete in NCAA FBS Division.  Just google the “The Biggest Upset in College Football History” and you’ll see what makes ASU football legendary. As 33 point underdog in the FCS division, App State beat Michigan; 34-32 on September 1, 2007.  Appalachian State also claimed three back-to-back-to-back FCS national football championships in 2005, 2006, and 2007.


Appalachian State University Diversity Celebration

The Annual Diversity Celebration supports and enhances Appalachian State University’s mission of “accepting the responsibility to be actively involved in addressing the educational, economic, cultural, and societal needs of the changing region, state, nation, and world,” by providing a venue where diverse perspectives, cultures and values are accepted, appreciated and celebrated.


Art in the Park

Art in the Park was created in 1962 by a handful of area artists and craftspeople to showcase local talent.  Today, Art in the Park is host to 90 artisans at each show.  Some of the best local and regional artists and craftspeople showcase their handcrafted jewelry, pottery, fiber, glass, photography, painting, and more.


Ashe County Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention

47th Annual Old Time Fiddlers Convention brings together all of the great heritage of Ashe County Music.  Come out and enjoy some great music, food, and camping!


Banff Mountain Film Festival

The Banff Festival happens over nine days each fall and features stories of profound journeys, unexpected adventures and ground-breaking expeditions told by renowned authors, photographers, adventurers, and filmmakers from around the globe.  Days after the Festival, the Banff World Tour launches, bringing films to fans in over 40 countries.


Blood, Sweat and Gears

The Blood Sweat and Gears bicycle race is a challenging to strenuous 90-mile loop ride starting and ending at the Valle Crucis Elementary School, approximately 5 miles south of Boone, North Carolina.  The cumulative climbing elevation is 6629 feet with the climb up the gap at Snake Mountain, mile point 50, reaching an 18-20% grade near the top.


Blowing Rock Horse Show

Surrounded by the Cone’s favorite place on earth, at the historic horse show grounds in Mayview, you can enjoy a spectacular display of the finest show horses in the country as they chase the silk and silver of the “Oldest Continuous Outdoor Horse Show In America”.  In whatever fashion you support the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show, you will be helping maintain a beloved institution and supporting many worthy charities.  Just know, whether you are with us for a day or for the entire three weeks, you are welcome and your participation is appreciated.


Blowing Rock Music Festival

Come enjoy some of the area’s best music at the historic Blowing Rock.  The Blowing Rock is an immense cliff 4,000 feet above sea level, overhanging Johns River Gorge 3,000 feet below.  The phenomenon is so called because the rocky walls of the gorge form a flume through with the northwest wind sweeps with such force that it returns light objects over the void.


Blue Ridge Brutal

Take note of the name.  All of these bicycle rides – 100, 75 or 57 miles, take you onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and over many hills and are considered challenging to strenuous.  However, you can mix the pain with the joy of riding through some of the most beautiful scenery in North Carolina which, we believe, makes these rides some of the most spectacular in this area.


Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival

Enjoy good company while tasting some of the High Countries finest wines and foods.


Boone Birding Festival

Experience some of the mountains most exotic birds first hand at the Boone Birding Festival.  This annual event provides family, friends, and bird lovers alike a one of a kind experience to learn about our local wildlife. Don’t miss out of this once in a lifetime adventure!


Boone Business Expo

Don’t miss this great opportunity to get your business in front of hundreds of potential customers.  The event continues to grow and be a huge success.  Consumers are encouraged to stop by and see what local businesses have to offer!


Brushy Mountain Applefest

The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is one of the largest one-day arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast. The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is one of Wilkes County’s biggest events featuring local craftspeople and over 100 civic, church and other non-profit organizations participating each year.  Best of all, it’s FREE!


Caldwell Traditional Music Showcase

The wildly popular Caldwell Musicians Showcase brings together some of our area’s most talented musicians and singer/songwriters for an evening of homegrown entertainment! 


Choose and Cut Season

If you are visiting the High Country during the Holiday Season, don’t forget to stop by one of our local tree farms for Choose and Cut Season.  They offer a wide variety of Seasonal Trees that are sure to liven up your vacation rental and make it feel just like home during the holidays.


Christmas in July

The Christmas in July Festival is one of the best, old fashioned summer festivals in the South drawing thousands to historic West Jefferson, NC each July! The Festival began in 1987 as a celebration of the Christmas Tree Industry that Ashe County, NC is known for. In 2015, Ashe County, NC was named the #1 Christmas Tree producer in the United States. The Festival is a free-admission event held in Downtown West Jefferson featuring the very best in traditional mountain music, handmade arts & crafts vendors throughout the region while still celebrating the Christmas Tree industry. 


Festival of the Frescos

The Festival of the Frescoes takes place at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs NC on the Mission House Grounds.  Enjoy antiques at Granny’s attic, Arts & Crafts, Books, Jewelry, Household Items, Baked Goods, Silent Auction, Food Court offering BBQ pork, chick, chili, and hot dogs. Reminiscent of a traditional country fair.  FREE admission.


Fine Art and Mastercraft Festival

The Avery County Chamber of Commerce welcomes visitors and artists to join us for the Fine Art & Master Crafts Festival in beautiful Downtown Banner Elk, NC. Banner Elk is located in Avery County and is also home of the famous Woolly Worm festival which is held in mid-October every year.  Avery County, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is home to Grandfather Mountain, the Linn Cove Viaduct, Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, Beech Mountain Ski Resort, The Grandfather Mountain Scottish Highland Games, Linville Caverns and many other unique attractions.


First Friday Art Crawl

Shop, mingle and meet local artists from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Downtown Boone.  Shops and galleries are open late.  Enjoy live music, food and drinks at one of our many fine restaurants.  Every first Friday of the month except in January.  The Jones House Galleries are open Tuesday – Friday 12 – 5 pm. 


Ghost Train Festival

Come visit the historic Tweetsie Railroad during the Halloween season and experience the Ghost Train!  This is a great event for family, friends, and kids alike!  Don’t miss out on this exciting and terrifying train right through the mountains!


Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

This annual event was established for raising scholarship funds to assist students from Avery County High School to study at American Colleges and universities.  It’s mission is to carry on and promote the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering of Scottish Clans, to foster and restore interest in traditional dancing, piping, drumming, athletic achievement, music and Gaelic culture.  



Come up and hear some of the best and most exotic guitar players in the world. Enjoy two evening concerts, plus the Sunday afternoon final round of Division I competition, and the GuitarFest Guitar Orchestra conducted by Alan Hirsh.


High Country Beerfest

High Country Beer Fest is held each year the High Country Fairgrounds.  Sample craft beers, and craft food all while enjoying music, and seminars in the High Country of North Carolina.  Seminars cover aspects of beer tasting, brewing, and food pairing.


High Country Festival of the Book

The High Country Festival of the Book celebrates the importance of books, reading, and literacy in the community!  Come out and enjoy some nice refreshments and a beautiful venue while you read.

High Country Wedding Expo

Welcome to the lovely NC mountains where elevated services meet all of your expectations and needs! Our vibrant community has many talented vendors and services dedicated to maintaining and enhancing professional service on every level.



MerleFest is one of the premier music festivals in the country and was founded in 1988 in memory of Eddy Merle Watson as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College and to celebrate ‘traditional plus’ music, a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and many other styles. The festival hosts numerous artists, performing on 13 stages during the course of the four-day event.

Merlefest is about the MUSIC, MOMENTS and MEMORIES!  The MUSIC of MerleFest was best explained by Doc himself: “When Merle and I started out we called our music ‘traditional plus’, meaning the traditional music of the Appalachian region plus whatever other styles we were in the mood to play. Since the beginning, the people of the college and I have agreed that the music of MerleFest is ‘traditional plus’.”


New River Easter Bunny Float & Egg Hunt

RiverGirl Fishing Company hosts this unique event every year.  Located in the historic crossroads community of Todd, NC, where Elk Creek flows into the South Fork of the New River, the Easter Bunny can be seen kayaking down the New River to the Todd Island Park each Easter.


New River Blues Festival

Come dance in a mountain meadow by a sparkling river to world-class blues by Internationally Acclaimed Artists in Paradise!   Food, mixed & soft drinks, beer and wine available for purchase! Bring lawn chairs, blankets, the kids, umbrellas (rain or shine).

No coolers or pets on lawn please!


New River Marathon

The New River Marathon’s home is in Ashe County, the Northwestern-most county of North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The New River Marathon races (marathon, half marathon & 5K) start and finish along the banks of the historic New River in Todd, NC.


Old Time Fiddler’s Convention, ASU

The Appalachian State Old-Time Fiddlers Convention is held on the campus of Appalachian State University and is 100% student operated. This unique event draws over 400 attendees from nine states and celebrates the rich musical and cultural history of the Appalachian region. Events include; concerts, instructional workshops, music competitions, a gathering of luthiers, as well as a handmade market featuring crafters from across the region.  All events are family friendly!


Olla Belle Reid Festival

Featuring top-notch award winning visiting and local musicians from Old-Time and Bluegrass music traditions, Ola Belle Fest is a community-based event and fundraiser sponsored by the Greater Lansing Area Development Committee (GLAD), a 501(c)3 organization committed to the revitalization of Lansing, the birthplace of Ola Belle Reed. The group consists of community volunteers who are dedicated to this annual event in the spirit of Appalachian tradition.

The Festival site is located in the town of Lansing, along the banks of Big Horse Creek and in the shadow of Phoenix Mountain. Musical acts will provide continuous day and evening concerts in addition to young musicians between acts.  Food is available at the GLAD Cafe food court.  Local craft and artisan vendors are also on site.. Enjoy on-going campin’ and jammin’ on the 70-acre Lansing Creeper Trail Park expansion! This is a family event (and dog friendly too)!


Pride Festival

Come join us on Sanford Mall for an event celebrating the LGBTQIA community and their allies at App! There will be an inflatable for kid’s entertainment, free stuff, educational materials and tons of fun!


Singing on the Mountain

All-day gospel sing and fellowship held in MacRae Meadows. A dozen top gospel groups and sermon from a well-known speaker. Free admission. Camping (without hookups) available on the field.


Spring Appalachian Dance Ensemble

An evening of dance featuring choreography of faculty and advanced students, performed by Appalachian Dance students.


Spring Fest

For 30 years the Ashe County Arts Council has celebrated art with Ashe County’s young people. This event is held annually at the Early Learning Center in West Jefferson.  Featuring over two dozen hands on activities like painting, sculpture, weaving, printmaking and more. Face painting, t-shirt screen printing, talent show and festival food all make a fun day for the young and old alike. This event is free and open to the public.  Additionally, the Ashe County Arts Council has many other great family oriented events and performances throughout the year.


Statewide Star Party

You’re invited to look into the universe during the signature event of the North Carolina Science Festival.  Each Spring, astronomy clubs, state and local parks, planetariums and nature centers host public sky watching sessions at dozens of sites across North Carolina. These are family-friendly events. Most events are free; a few require advance registration.

At the sky watching events, guests can expect to observe a variety of celestial objects, both inside and outside our solar system. Host sites provide the telescopes, staffing, and activities, and the guests provide the curiosity.


The Doc and Rosa Lee Watson Musicfest ‘n Sugar Grove

A celebration of Appalachian music and cultural heritage, the Doc & Rosa Lee Watson Music Fest ‘N Sugar Grove will takes place each July on the grounds of the Historic Cove Creek School in Sugar Grove, N.C., featuring world-renowned recording artists.

Todd Community Preservation Organization Free Summer Concert Series

All concerts are free and held from 6-8:00 pm in Cook Park in downtown Todd – rain or shine (we have tents!). Bring a blanket or lawn chair. Food and beverages will be available for sale.


Todd New River Festival

A day of crafts, food and fun with face painting and special children’s activities presented by the Todd Ruritan Club in Annie Cook Park the second weekend of October.


Trash n’ Fashion

Trash N Fashion is a glam, creative, innovative competition open to secondary school students to recycle, reuse and to turn old trash into wearable art.


Valle Country Fair

Pig out on Brunswick Stew, chili, BBQ, sausage with peppers & onions and more.  Then take home fresh baked goods, homemade jams & jellies and apple butter made while you watch! All arts and crafts available for purchase at the Fair are handmade. Exhibitors are chosen to offer fair visitors a wide variety of the finest quality items in a range of media. Tap your feet as a dozen different local bluegrass and country bands take turns performing throughout the day. A second stage features cloggers, square dancers and storytellers! Try your hand at pumpkin carving, learn to paint with sand, listen to a storyteller or visit with live alpacas.  There is always something fun and out of the ordinary for families to do at the fair!


Watauga Riverfest

Riverfest, a festival celebrating the Rivers of the High Country, will take place at Valle Crucis Community Park June 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will be free and open to the public. Events include old-fashioned hay rides in the fish mobile, a fingers in the creek activity where children can hunt for live creek critters and “Mandy the Mayfly”, a fantastic watermelon eating contest, tours of the newly planted wetland, a bird walk, and a tree ID walk. Kids can join in the Krazy Kazoo band concert, get their face painted, have their pictures taken as fish, and visit with goats and alpacas.


West Jefferson Gallery Crawl

Downtown West Jefferson comes alive after five with seventeen galleries showcasing the latest artwork by Ashe County’s Favorite Artists. Gallery Crawl is a free event and is sponsored by the Ashe County Arts Council in cooperation with the West Jefferson Business Association, the West Jefferson TDA and is funded, in part, through a Grassroots Arts Program Grant of the North Carolina Arts Council



Don’t hibernate… celebrate! Enjoy the fun side of winter with events that include the Polar Plunge in Chetola Lake, Chilly Chili Cook-Off, WinterFeast, WinterPaws Dog Show, Winter Fashion Show, ice carving, concerts and more!


Woolly Worm Festival

Who wouldn’t love a nice piece of jewelry or pottery under the Christmas tree?  The Woolly Worm Festival is a great time to shop for the holidays.  You will find amazing handcrafted wares from our juried artists.   Inflatables rides, live music and dance teams are also on site.  Tickets can be purchased online.  The winning woolly on Saturday has the esteemed honor of predicting the High Country’s weather and wins a $1,000.00 cash prize.  The Corporate Woolly Worm Wace takes place on Sunday and the winning worm takes home a trophy and bragging rights for its business. Sponsored by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce. The festival is October.