Regional Happenings

Spring has taken hold and the CML region is abuzz with activity! Following is just a sampling of some of the exciting events in store this season for residents and visitors to our region.
AVERY COUNTY

Avery County Heritage Festival | Newland, NC

Head to the Newland town square and mingle with craftspeople, genealogists, authors, performers, and many others celebrating the history and heritage of the area. The Heritage Festival takes place Saturday, June 25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free to the public. Entertainment includes a full lineup of musicians and cloggers. Read our article “Avery History Behind Bars, on the Rails, and in the Square in 2022” in this issue of CML. http://www.averymuseum.com/avery_county_heritage_fest.htm

Beech’s Bloomin’ Craft Festival | Beech Mountain, NC

Head up to Beech Mountain for the second annual outdoor Beech’s Bloomin’ Craft Festival on Saturday, April 30, 12 to 5 p.m. Shop from a diverse group of local boutiques, artisans, makers and more. This is a perfect opportunity to support locally owned entrepreneurs and small businesses. The family-friendly event takes place outdoors at the Fred & Margie Pfohl Buckeye Recreation Center*. For more information, call 828-387-3003. *In the case of inclement weather, the festival will be held indoors.

Beech Mountain’s Family Fun Month | Beech Mountain, NC

On Beech, the town officially kicks off summer on June 1, with their annual Family Fun Month festivities. Bounce houses, live music, outdoor movies, kids’ programs, and Land of Oz tours are just a few of the various activities designed for families to enjoy an unforgettable visit to Beech Mountain. https://beechmtn.com/summer/

Art on the Greene | Banner Elk, NC

This fine art show is one in a series of four shows taking place this year on the grounds of the Historic Banner Elk School in downtown Banner Elk. Art on the Greene highlights works from local and regional artists representing a variety of media, such as ceramics, glass, metal, wood, watercolor, acrylics and oil. The first Art on the Greene event takes place Memorial Day Weekend, May 28 and May 29, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Additional shows will be held Fourth of July weekend, the first weekend in August, and Labor Day weekend. http://www.townofbannerelk.org/artonthegreene

Avery County Summer Festival | Newland, NC

A new festival is in town! Don’t miss the first annual Avery County Summer Fest, sponsored by the Avery Chamber of Commerce, on June 11 and 12 at the NC Cooperative Extension Center of Avery County (home of the Avery County Fair).At the festival, you canshop for wares of all types, from a variety of vendors, and take home a piece of Avery County! The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. And save the date for the Avery County Fine Art & Master Crafts Festival, July 15-17 and August 12-14, at Sugar Mountain Resort. These juried festivals will feature an eclectic gathering of unique hand-crafted wares from select artists and crafters. https://averycounty.com/

Sugar Mountain Grillin’ & Chillin’ Summer Concert Series | Sugar Mountain, NC

Join the fun on Wednesday evenings at this popular summertime event, located at Sugar Mountain’s Golf and Tennis Club House Deck. Admission is free, with food and beverages available for sale. A special dinner buffet is offered by the Caddyshack Cafe from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Live music runs 6-9 p.m. Enjoy food, drinks and tunes on the big deck overlooking the golf course and panoramic mountain views. And wear your dancing shoes! Spring bands include: The Lucky Strikes (5/30), Classic Highway (6/8), Jessi & The River Cats (6/15), Tanya & The Roadrunnerz (6/22), and Smokin Joe Randolph (6/29). https://seesugar.com/summer-concerts/

WATAUGA COUNTY

Boone Celebrates its 150th | Boone, NC

Boone 150, the Town of Boone’s Sesquicentennial celebration, continues throughout 2022. Boone was officially incorporated on January 23, 1872. That makes for 150 years of history, community, and stories that need to be celebrated and shared—and there will be a lot of opportunities for everyone to get involved this spring. Boone 150 events and offerings include concerts and performances, art and history exhibits, guided walking tours, parades and festivals, special publications, commemorative keepsakes, and more! Read our article “Town of Boone Celebrates 150 Years” in this issue of CML.

Artists in Residence at Edgewood Returns | Blowing Rock, NC

Take a three-minute walk south of Blowing Rock’s Memorial Park and you’ll discover a unique cultural corner where art and history meet. Here you’ll find the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM) and its well-known neighbor, Edgewood Cottage, the circa 1890 home and studio of renowned American artist Elliott Daingerfield.

Elliott Daingerfield (1859-1932) became one of Blowing Rock’s most notable summer residents.  He painted images of the local landscape and instructed the “painting ladies” who came to Blowing Rock to study with him. Daingerfield’s legacy of encouraging artists in the High Country lives on in the Artists in Residence Program at Edgewood Cottage.

Presented by The Blowing Rock Historical Society, this year’s Artists in Residence series runs from Memorial Day weekend (May 28) through September 11. During the program the cottage becomes home to 25 artists representing a variety of outstanding, original two and three-dimensional pieces. 

Art lovers of all interests and budgets are welcomed to these free open studio events to meet the artists, see them create new art and purchase their works. The Cottage is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with different artists each week. http://www.artistsatedgewood.org

Art in the Park | Blowing Rock, NC

Enjoy arts and crafts from award-winning and acclaimed artisans at these juried shows, curated to present a wide variety of mediums. Find gifts and works for personal collections, functional beauties like furniture and cutlery, and wearable art like handcrafted jewelry and textiles. Artists’ tents line Park Avenue right in downtown Blowing Rock so attendees can enjoy proximity to other shopping, as well as dining options and local parks. Saturday dates include May 21, June 11, July 16, August 13, September 10, and October 1, with hours of 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. rain or shine. Make a weekend of it, and stay for the outdoor Concert in the Park that follows each Art in the Park on Sundays!  https://blowingrock.com/artinthepark/

ASHE COUNTY

Christmas in July | West Jefferson, NC

Because of its cool mountain climate, friendly people, charming towns, and lovely scenery, Ashe County is known as “The Coolest Corner” of North Carolina—it’s also considered NC’s “Christmas tree capital.” So what better way to celebrate “cool” in the warmer months than with Christmas in July! Plan now to attend this early summer annual event that takes place in downtown West Jefferson. Christmas in July celebrates mountain heritage with food, arts and crafts, live music and more—this family friendly festival kicks off on Friday, July 1 at 4 p.m. and continues through July 2. https://www.facebook.com/CIJFestival/

CARTER COUNTY, TN

Liberty! Returns | Elizabethton, TN

The Official Outdoor Drama of the State of Tennessee—Liberty!—begins its 43rd season on June 3, 2022, at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park in Elizabethton, TN. This outdoor drama is presented by a cast of local performers against the backdrop of Fort Watauga. Liberty! portrays the significant history of Sycamore Shoals during the late 18th century. Performances continue every weekend in June (June 3 – 4, June 10 – 11, June 16 – 18, and June 23 – 25) in the Fort Watauga Amphitheater. Each show begins nightly at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and concessions opening at 7 p.m. Pre-performance activities begin at 7:45 p.m. https://www.friendsofsycamoreshoals.org/Liberty

Throughout 2022, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park will celebrate the birth of American democracy through programs commemorating the 250th anniversary of the formation of the Watauga Association in 1772. This was the first majority-rule system of American democratic government that formed when settlers elected five of their number to “govern and direct for the common good of all the people”—four years prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776! https://tnstateparks.com/parks/sycamore-shoals | 423-543-5808

YANCEY COUNTY

Mayland Earth to Sky Park | Burnsville, NC

The Mayland Earth to Sky Park is an environmental educational park for those interested in learning about the natural world we live in, from the earth to the sky. The Park is home to The Bare Dark Sky Observatory, the Glenn and Carol Arthur Planetarium (opening late June), outdoor classrooms, aqua- and hydroponics labs, a visitors’ center, a picnic shelter, walking trails, beautiful gardens, and more.

Spring is a great time for stargazing at the Observatory! Depending on the exact time of year and the moon phase, visitors will be able to view the moon, planets, and stars through the Observatory’s 34″ diameter mirror on their custom-built Newtonian telescope, as well as a smaller 14″ mirror Meade planetary telescope. Seasonal events include Community Nights, MoonLit Adventure nights and more. https://www.mayland.edu/foundation/foundation-projects/earth-to-sky-park/

ALLEGHANY COUNTY

Saturdays in Sparta | Sparta, NC

Alleghany is ramping up the arts scene this Spring! The Alleghany Arts Council has come up with an exciting lineup for their 2022 Saturdays in SpARTa events. From May through December, Saturdays in Sparta are rich with music (free & ticketed events), art, and creativity. Beginning Saturday, May 28, enjoy Saturdays in the Park monthly concerts, held outdoors in beautiful Crouse Park, just a block off Main Street.And the Beat Goes On monthly Singer/Songwriter workshops and concerts feature a variety of musical styles and entertainment, beginning with Chad Elliott on Saturday, May 7, 2022, and J. Jeffrey Messerole on Saturday, June 11, 2022. On the first Saturday of each month beginning in June, enjoy Music on Main concerts featuring popular regional bands. And don’t miss the Backwoods Beat Festival of Music & Art, a juried art show taking place June 24 – 25. https://www.alleghanyartscouncil.org/

WILKES COUNTY

Merlefest Returns | Wilkesboro, NC

MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, serves as an annual homecoming for musicians and music fans. Held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC, MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of American music legend Doc Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “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.

This year’s event will take place April 28 – May 1. The event is the primary fundraiser for the Wilkes Community College Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs. http://merlefest.org

CALDWELL COUNTY

North Carolina Butterfly Festival | Hudson, NC

Following a two-year hiatus, thousands of folks will be fluttering to Hudson on the first Saturday of May for Caldwell County’s oldest festival. Enjoy the many craft vendors and artists’ performances at the 2022 NC Butterfly Festival on May 7, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. To kick off this year’s festival weekend, a “Cruise In” for automobile enthusiasts will be held in downtown Hudson on Friday, May 6, from 5 – 8 p.m. Families will enjoy a parade of antique and classic cars, music, and dancing during this car show and street dance event. Visit ncbutterflyfest.com or www.townofhudsonnc.com for more information. And save the date for the return of the annual NC Blackberry Festival in Lenoir, to be held July 15-16. https://ncblackberryfestival.com/

THROUGHOUT THE REGION

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA), in partnership with the National Park Service, is the regional steward of living Appalachian traditions in North Carolina, with a mission to “honor our elders and invite new generations to explore music, craft, foodways, the outdoors, and the native wisdom that all have their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.”

This spring, take some time to explore for yourself the many cultural gems in western NC. Start the planning process by going to BlueRidgeHeritage.com to get familiar with the region. Check out the site’s easy-to-use interactive tools and filters to createthe perfect getaway for your visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains. You’re sure to find all the information you need to inspire and entertain the whole family, whether it’s enjoying local music, original art or the natural beauty of the area. http://BlueRidgeHeritage.com

Many other events will take place here in the High Country throughout the season. Some of the best resources for event listings and schedule changes are our local Chambers of Commerce and Tourism Development Associations. Be sure to visit the following websites before planning your visit to take advantage of all that our region has to offer.

Ashe County Chamber of Commerce: https://ashechamber.com/

Avery Chamber of Commerce: https://averycounty.com

Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce: https://www.bannerelk.org/

Beech Mountain TDA: https://beechmtn.com

Boone Chamber of Commerce: https://www.boonechamber.com/

Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce: https://blowingrockncchamber.com/home

Burnsville-Yancey Chamber of Commerce: https://www.yanceychamber.com/

Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce: https://www.caldwellchambernc.com/

Morganton Chamber of Commerce: http://www.downtownmorganton.com/

Johnson County, TN, Chamber of Commerce: http://www.johnsoncountytn.org/

Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce: https://mitchellcountychamber.org/

Sugar Mountain TDA: https://seesugar.com/

Wilkes County Chamber of Commerce: https://www.wilkeschamber.com/

Have an event to list in a future issue of CML? Email the editor at tamara@seymourcc.net.

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