Regional Happenings

It’s Summer!!

By CML Staff

This summer, the mountain region comes alive with possibilities! Enjoy countless activities related to art, food, music, literature, nature, history, outdoor sports, and so much more. Following is a sampling of some of the noteworthy events and opportunities for residents and visitors to our area. For additional “Happenings” throughout the CML region, see our Cultural Calendar, Where the Music Is, Art Remarks, and Tidbits.

Artists in Residence at Edgewood Cottage | Late June through September 8 in Blowing Rock, NC

Presented by The Blowing Rock Historical Society, this year’s Artists in Residence series at Edgewood Cottage runs every week throughSeptember 8. During the program the cottage becomes home to 31 artists representing a variety of outstanding, original two and three-dimensional pieces. Visit Edgewood Cottage Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with different artists each week. and

Boone Bigfoots Baseball | June 25 through July 27 in Boone, NC

The High Country’s baseball “home team” continues its 4th season with games in late June and throughout the month of July. With new Head Coach Craig McAndrews and new GM Chris Merritt at the helm this year, the team has brought back the family fun and the winning Bigfoots tradition! The Boone Bigfoots team practice and play home games at Appalachian State University’s Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium in Boone. The Bigfoots are a 501(c3) non-profit Independent baseball organization with a mission to provide competitive baseball and fun fan entertainment for all the High Country to enjoy—all profits generated go to the Appalachian State University Athletic Scholarship Fund. Find a complete Boone Bigfoots Home Game schedule at, and on their Facebook page.

Banner House Museum Tours | June 26 through mid-September in Banner Elk, NC

The Greater Banner Elk Heritage Foundation and the Banner House Museum (c. 1870) invite you to explore Banner Elk history through guided museum tours and walking tours of Historic Downtown Banner Elk, weekly on Wednesdays through Saturdays through early September. These fun and informative tours offer a leisurely stroll through town, as well a peek into the little-known past lives of many familiar buildings and other sights. All tours begin at 11 a.m. at the Banner House Museum, the former home of Samuel Henry Banner and his family. Guided museum tours are $5 per person. More information on these tours and other opportunities can be found at

Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals | June 27-29 in Elizabethton, TN

The Official Outdoor Drama of the state of Tennessee—Liberty!—continues its 45th season at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park in Elizabethton, TN. The final performances of the season take place June 27-29 beginning each evening at 8 p.m. in the Fort Watauga Amphitheater. Tennessee’s official 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 and highlights the influential series of events that unfolded during that time. During your visit to Sycamore Shoals, plan to visit the Friends of Sycamore Shoals award-winning interpretive museum.

Avery County Heritage Festival | June 29 in Newland, NC

Hosted by the Avery County Historical Society, the Avery County Heritage Festival celebrates this unique area in the High Country and its fascinating history. You’ll find craftspeople, genealogists, authors, performers and plenty of fun in the Newland town square in downtown Newland (Schultz Circle). Share family genealogy and cultural traditions that are part of Avery County’s identity. The Heritage Festival is free, and the event includes craft and food vendors, and a full lineup of musicians and cloggers. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday the 29th.

Christmas In July | July 56 in West Jefferson, NC 

Warm summer nights, cool mountain breezes, and non-stop entertainment—that’s what you’ll find this “Christmas” season. The Christmas in July Festival celebrates the Christmas tree industry and mountain heritage with arts, crafts, food, and local entertainment representative of the region. This year the event kicks off on July 5 at 9 a.m., marking the 36th year for Ashe County’s longest-running festival. A large stage in the middle of downtown West Jefferson will be the hub for several popular bands. Festival craft vendors and local non-profits will open along Jefferson Avenue, leaving sidewalks clear for walking and browsing the shops. Ashe County Arts Council will host children’s activities, performers will roam the streets showcasing their magical talents, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive straight from the North Pole. Facebook: Christmas In July Festival;

Art on the Greene | July 6-7, August 3-4, August 31-September 1 in Banner Elk, NC

This series of fine art shows takes place 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. Enjoy the many shops and restaurants within walking distance of the festival. And if you’re in town for a long weekend, don’t miss the Thursday evening concerts at Tate-Evans Town Park Amphitheater, every Thursday through August 15th at 6:30 p.m., sponsored by the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce.,,

Earth to Sky Park’s Summer Shows | July through September in Burnsville, NC

Mayland Earth to Sky Park, operated by Mayland Community College, is situated ten miles northeast of Burnsville, NC, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The six-acre site, surrounded by mountain terrain and the Pisgah National Forest, is home to the Bare Dark Sky Observatory, the Glenn & Carol Arthur Planetarium, a Visitor’s Center, picnic shelter, numerous gardens, and more. The Observatory houses the 34-inch “Sam Scope,” the largest telescope in North Carolina open to public use. Community Viewing Nights and private rentals are available year-round.

At the Glenn & Carol Arthur Planetarium, enjoy new summer hours with exciting new shows, including Flight of the Butterflies, Habitat Earth, James Webb Space Telescope: The Story Unfolds, Unveiling the Invisible Universe, Expedition Reef, and Milky Way Over the Mountains. Visit to view a complete Summer Events calendar, or go to their FB page@ EarthToSkyPark.

Independence Day Celebrations | July 4 throughout the High Country

Parades liven up the streets and fireworks light up the sky in numerous locations throughout the CML region. It’s hard to choose just one 4th of July celebration in the High Country! Here we list just some of the places where your family can view parades and fireworks, engage in kids’ activities, participate in fun runs, enjoy food, beverages and live music, and so much more: downtown Banner Elk, Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, Elk Park, downtown Boone, downtown Blowing Rock, Tweetsie Railroad, Newland, Crossnore, North Wilkesboro, and many other locales throughout our region. Festivities occur throughout the week and weekend, depending on where you decide to celebrate. Check out:,,,,,, Additional links to our area’s Chambers of Commerce and Tourism Development Authorities can be found on our website at

8th Annual Summit Crawl | July 4 in Sugar Mountain, NC

Sugar Mountain Resort comes alive with festivities all day long on Thursday, July 4, including the eighth annual Summit Crawl competition beginning at 9 a.m. This adventurous one-and-one-half mile hike to Sugar Mountain’s 5,300-ft peak covers 1,200 feet of vertical via the wide open ski slopes of Easy Street, Gunther’s Way, and Northridge. Competitors ride the Summit Express chairlift back to the base of the ski resort where music will be performed by The Rockabilly’s from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Food and beverages will be available at the mountain’s base and summit. A mountain-top fireworks show, sponsored by the Village of Sugar Mountain TDA, will light the High Country sky. For times and details, visit

Mountain Biking and Scenic Chairlift Rides | July 4 through September 2 in Sugar Mountain, NC

Attention mountain bikers and foot passengers: the Bike Park and Scenic Chairlift Rides will operate Fridays through Sundays, July 4 through September 2. Additional summer mountain biking events include Sugar Mountain’s Gravity Mountain Bike camps for tweens and teens on July 12-14 and August 2-4.

Music on Main | July 6, August 3, September 7 in Sparta, NC

Music on Main Summer Street Party, organized by the Alleghany Arts Council, is a free, fun, and family friendly event that takes place on the first Saturday night in July and August. Each month’s event features a different band: Appalachian Road Show in July, and Eight Track Minds in August. In September, the party moves to the big stage at the Alleghany County Fairgrounds, where attendees can enjoy a fair-style atmosphere and lots of fun surprises! During each Music on Main event, organizers coordinate with town merchants to keep the galleries open late. You can enjoy free music on the street, in restaurants, and inside other venues. The outdoor headliner concert kicks off at 7 p.m. Bring your family, gather with friends, and meet new people.

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games | July 11-14 in Linville, NC

Many thousands of kilt-clad Scots make their way to MacRae Meadows in Linville for their annual gathering and games. Enjoy Scottish music, dancing, foods, costumes, parades, track & field games, sheep herding and much more. See CML’s feature article on the Highland Games, “The Calling of the Clans to Grandfather,” in this issue. For tickets, detailed schedules, maps, and information on lodging, parking and shuttle buses, visit the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games website at

Avery Fine Art and Master Crafts Festival | July 19-21 and August 16-18 in Sugar Mountain, NC

These three-day juried festivals, enjoyable for all ages, take place in the Village of Sugar Mountain. Mingle with a diverse group of fine artists and master crafters during this popular annual festival, being held on two weekends this summer, including July 19-21 and August 16-18. The festivals, sponsored by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce, feature new and returning artists, live demonstrations by participating artists, live music, food, and other activities for the whole family. Festival hours are Friday, 1-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Art in the Park | July 13 through October 5 in Blowing Rock, NC

Art in the Park celebrates six decades of art shows in Blowing Rock! Find gifts and works for personal collections, functional beauties like furniture and cutlery, and wearable art like handcrafted jewelry and textiles. Enjoy mingling with award-winning and acclaimed artisans at these juried shows, curated to present a wide variety of mediums. Artists’ tents line Park Avenue in downtown Blowing Rock so attendees can enjoy proximity to other shopping, as well as dining options and local parks. Saturday dates include July 13, August 17, September 7, and October 5, 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.

Doc & Rosa Lee Watson MusicFest | July 19-20 in Sugar Grove, NC

MusicFest is a family-oriented event celebrating the music and lives of Doc and Rosa Lee Watson with a fantastic lineup of live music, local food, crafts and the grand opening of the Doc and Merle Watson Folk Art Museum. There is something for the whole family! The festival is held on the grounds of the historic Cove Creek School in Sugar Grove, which is also home to the Folk Art Museum. The Museum will feature a wide variety of exhibits that reflect the heritage, culture and impact that the entire Watson family had on music in the world and in Watauga County, NC. More info and tickets at

Symphony by the Lake at Chetola | July 19 in Blowing Rock, NC

The Symphony by the Lake at Chetola has long been considered the “centerpiece” of the summer season in Blowing Rock. Each year, over 4,000 attendees assemble on the surrounding lawn to enjoy music, food and drink under the open sky. This year’s event will be held on July 19, and the theme will be “Live from Vienna.” Returning this year is The Symphony of the Mountains, joined by special guest musicians to open the evening. Opening music begins at 5:30 p.m. with the featured event beginning at 7:30 p.m. Learn more and purchase tickets at

Brushy Mountain Peach and Heritage Festival | July 27 in Wilkesboro, NC

Located in historic downtown Wilkesboro, Brushy Mountain Peach Festival is a Street Festival centered around peaches and Wilkesboro’s Brushy Mountain heritage. Enjoy locally grown peaches, hand-made crafts, demonstrations and delicious foods from a variety of food trucks. This free festival begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 27. Join organizers for some pre-Festival fun at the “Peach Party” on Friday, July 26, from 5 – 9 p.m., where all are invited to grab a bite and a cold drink from the food trucks and enjoy live music.The Brushy Mountain Peach and Heritage Festival is always the last Saturday in July.

Hickory Ridge Living History Museum Tours | July 29 in Boone, NC

Appalachian State University’s High Country Humanities continues its “Connecting Local and Global Rural Cultures” series this summer, with events that are free and open to the public, including Hickory Ridge Living History Museum Tours.Visitors can enjoy free guided tours of the museum, which has six historic, furnished cabins that recreate the atmosphere of 18th and 19th century mountain communities. Tour guides, including Yadkin Riverkeeper Brian Fannon and other public history experts, will show guests what rural life was like for pioneers in the High Country. These special tours take place Monday, July 29, from 1 to 4 p.m. Capacity is limited to 75 people and guests will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. Self-guided tours are also available throughout the season. For more information about the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum and these summer events, visit and

40th Annual Crafts on the Green | August 3 in Beech Mountain, NC

Held each year on the first Saturday in August, this free festival features the work of local artists and artisans from the mountain region including fine jewelry, wood turnings, photography, paintings, pottery, soaps, candles, preserves and more. Crafts on the Green is held at Gazebo Park next to Fred’s General Mercantile from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy food, musical entertainment and a magic show for children. Additional local goods can be found throughout Fred’s General Mercantile, including fresh produce, jams and jellies, clothing, outdoor gear, and more. Fred’s Backside deli offers a great variety of lunch options and beverages. For more information, visit or call 828-387-4838.

Long Journey Home | August 30-September 1 in Mountain City, TN

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Long Journey Home, Johnson County’s Heritage Arts and Music Celebration. Each year this tiny mountain comes to life with stories and songs that honor the iconic Old Time mountain music style that shaped country music as we know it. This year’s Long Journey Home festival events include: Buskin’ on Main, a showcase of local and regional acoustic talent playing up and down Main Street on the evening of Friday, August 30; the unveiling of Medicine Show, a new mural honoring Clarence Tom Ashley, on August 31; the Musical Heritage Homecoming Tour, showcasing authentic Old-Time music played on the front porches of the iconic musicians who shaped early country music by musicians who still carry on the legacy of true mountain music, on August 31; and a traditional Sunday Singin’ at Heritage Hall Theater, featuring authentic old time gospel music on September 1. Tour maps are available at the Johnson County Center for the Arts and other local businesses. To learn more, visit

The Mile High Kite Festival | August 31 in Beech Mountain, NC

The popular, fun-for-all-ages Mile High Kite Festival, located at the Kite Field near Beech Mountain Town Hall (and directly behind the Brick Oven Pizzeria), will be held August 31 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. There will be food, crafts, and kite vendors, along with kite flying demonstrations, kite clinics, and kite building. Two recognized kite clubs, one from Charlotte and one from Richmond, VA, will be on hand to demonstrate flying techniques and help folks build their own kites. Free kites will be given to kids to build, decorate and fly (while supplies last). After flying kites all morning, check out the food trucks and craft vendor tables for a whole day of fun on the Kite Field. This free event is sponsored by the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce.,

Antlers and Acorns Boone Songwriters Festival | September 4-7 in Boone, NC

Antlers and Acorns brings together “the wordsmiths, the weavers of chords and sharps and flats, the storytellers, the prophets, and the liars.” For three days and four nights, over 30 great songwriters in Americana come to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The festival kicks off on September 4th with a Welcome Party at Booneshine Brewing Co. Headlining acts in the Appalachian Theatre include: James McMurtry with Ben Danaher on the 5th;  Shawn Mullins with Courtney Patton on the 6th; and Rodney Crowell and John Paul White with Eric Erdman on the 7th. Venues include bars and restaurants, the cafes, and the stage. Fans of words and music will walk the streets from one welcoming door to the next to hear their favorite singer/songwriter tell the stories of their songs, where they came from, and where they went.

Carolina Mountains Literary Festival | September 5-7 in Burnsville, NC

This literary event kicks off with Keynote Speaker and Author Angeline Boulley, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Firekeeper’s Daughter and Warrior Girl Unearthed. Numerous authors will be present in genres to include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, and Children’s/Young Adult. Workshops will also be held in poetry, playwriting, fiction, non-fiction and memoir. The Festival’s mission is to bring together—in small, intimate settings—authors, readers of all ages, novice writers, listeners, and learners. “We are a festival of readers who appreciate discussing the ideas in literature.” Events are spread out around town—in galleries, small stores, the Town Center, the library, nearby churches, and other various venues.

Autumn at Oz | September 6-8, 13-15, and 20-22 in Beech Mountain, NC

Celebrating over 50 years, the former amusement park based on the Wizard of Oz comes back to life with the return of all the beloved Oz characters. The Autumn at Oz Festival is known to be the largest Oz festival in the world! Don’t miss this family-fun event with arts and crafts, handmade trinkets, memorabilia, and food vendors. You’ll also enjoy a completely immersive theatrical experience where guests are engulfed into the classic story as they travel into the Gale family’s Kansas Farm, through the tornado experience, and down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. Along the way, meet all of your favorite characters for photo opportunities, see many live performances, and shop for your favorite Wizard of Oz memorabilia. Learn more and purchase tickets at

New River Blues Festival | September 7 in Grassy Creek, NC

The 22nd annual New River Blues Festival is “keeping the Blues alive in the High Country!” Join other blues lovers in the meadow by the beautiful New River where you’ll find ample grounds for dancing, fun, and wading in the water. Enjoy the North Carolina mountains’ only celebration of authentic Blues Music and legendary artists, including event producers The King Bees. Gates open at noon with music from 1-6 p.m. Located at River House Inn, 1896 Old Field Creek Road, Grassy Creek.For online tickets and more information, visit

Liberty Mountain | September 13 through October 6 in Kings Mountain, NC

“Liberty Mountain,” by Playwright Robert Inman, depicts the dramatic events leading to the October 7, 1780 Battle of Kings Mountain. The hardy pioneers who tamed and settled this area fought and won this crucial battle that turned the tide of the Revolution and led directly to the British surrender at Yorktown a year later. The story of these pioneer Patriots is told in dramatic fashion in the stage play, on tap for its eighth season this summer in Kings Mountain, NC. Performances are presented on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays including September 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29, and October 4, 5, 6. Performance times are Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 3 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets—including group discounts—are available through the Liberty Mountain website, or by calling the Kings Mountain Little Theatre at 704-730-9408.

On the Same Page: Ashe County’s Literary Festival | September 17-20 in West Jefferson, NC 

Authors will read from recent works and answer your questions about books and writing, and attendees can participate in lively discussions. Meet fellow readers and talk about your favorite books and authors, hone your creative writing skills in author-led workshops, and much more. All Festival events are open to the public; most are free, although some require reservations and/or tickets due to limited seating. Most festival events take place in the Community Room on the lower level of the Ashe County Public Library, 148 Library Road in West Jefferson.

West Jefferson Old Time Antiques Fair | September 20-21 in West Jefferson, NC

West Jefferson Old Time Antiques Fair Celebrates Old Town history and heritage, featuring booths from locals and the region alike. Stroll the charming streets of historic West Jefferson and search for treasures galore. Hours are Friday, September 20, from 1 p.m. to dark, and Saturday, September 21, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is free, and food options are available for purchase.

And Save the Date for These Fall Festivals:

Mountain Heritage Festival | September 21 in Sparta, NC

Enjoy demonstrations, crafts, food, dance and music. Vendors line historic Main Street in celebration of the area’s rich history and heritage.

Brushy Mountain Apple Festival | October 5 in North Wilkesboro, NC

Pay tribute to the apples that are grown and harvested each fall by orchardists from northwestern NC at the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, one of the largest one-day arts and crafts festivals in the region.

Appalachian Autumn Market & Fall Festival | October 12 in Boone, NC

This family-friendly event at Horn in the West/Hickory Ridge Living History Museum offers activities and experiences for all ages, including apple butter making, 18th century demonstrations, pumpkin painting, live music, raffles, costume contests, and more. Located at 591 Horn in the West Drive Boone, NC.

41st Mountain Glory Festival | October 12 in Marion, NC

Celebrate the arrival of autumn in the Blue Ridge in beautiful downtown Marion. For festival information call 828-652-2215 or visit Admission is free.

Oktoberfest | October 1213 in Sugar Mountain, NC

Plan to head to Sugar Mountain Resort for their 34th annual Oktoberfest celebration. Lodging specials are available during Oktoberfest weekend. Call 828-898-4521 or visit details.

Valle Country Fair | October 19 in Valle Crucis, NC

The 46th Valle Country Fair, a celebration of mountain heritage, will be held on Saturday, October 19, just up and over the mountain from the Woolly Worm Festival.

47th Annual Woolly Worm Festival | October 19-20 in Banner Elk, NC

Make plans now to attend this wildly popular annual event in downtown Banner Elk, NC. It’s the only festival where you can race caterpillars for cash prizes.

Find more happenings on our TIDBITS page>>

Have an event for us to consider listing in a future issue of CML? Email your press release to CML’s Managing Editor at [email protected].

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.

Abingdon Visitors Center:

Ashe County Chamber of Commerce:

Avery Chamber of Commerce:

Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce:

Beech Mountain TDA:

Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce:

Boone Chamber of Commerce:

Burnsville-Yancey Chamber of Commerce:

Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce:

Damascus, VA:

Johnson County, TN, Chamber of Commerce:

Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce:

Morganton Chamber of Commerce:

Sugar Mountain TDA:

Wilkes County Chamber of Commerce:

Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce:

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