The High Country celebrates the beauty and life in the mountains throughout the year. Here is just a sample of the many festivals that are held in the surrounding areas. Please visit the Chamber of Commerce in individual communities for more information.
Winterfest in Blowing Rock (January)
Named as one of the top 20 January events on the east coast, Winterfest in Blowing Rock is a wonderful festival for the entire family. From the wine auction, dog sledding, live bluegrass music to the chili cook-off, kids activities, and the Polar Plunge in Chetola Lake, there is something for everyone. Free hot chocolate and hay rides! Call 1-866-465-0366
MerleFest is one of the most critically acclaimed acoustic music festivals in the world. The legendary Doc Watson is joined by over 100 musicians for this annual bluegrass event. The festival lasts for 4 days and is held at Wilkes Community College in North Wilkesboro. Visit the website at www.merlefest.org for more information or to purchase tickets.
Rhododendron Festival (June)
The Red Catawba Rhododendron are in peak beauty this time of year and is abundant all across Grandfather Mountain. Call 1-800-250-8620
Showdown at Sugar Mountain Bike Competition and Festival (August)
Sugar Mountain Resort. Annual mountain bike competition for all levels and abilities. Call 1-828-898-4521 or check the website at www.skisugar.com
Boone Bluegrass Festival (Sept)
A two day festival at the High Country Fairgrounds just east of Boone featuring many talented artists. Camping permitted. Call 1-866-262-1188
Autumn at Oz - Beech Mountain (October)
The Land of Oz theme park closed its doors in 1980 but nostalgia for the park has been strong enough to revive it for a few days each year. Folks can visit Aunt Em and Uncle Henry’s farm and meet Dorothy and her companions as they march up the Yellow Brick Road toward the Emerald City. For more information contact the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-468-5506
Sugar Mountain Oktoberfest Celebration (October)
Sugar Mountain Resort in Banner Elk pays tribute to the Bavarian countries who had much cultural influence during the Appalachian’s European settlement. The festival includes arts and crafts vendors, Bavarian music, and of course, plenty of bratwurst, knackwurst, German potato salad, sauerkraut and beer. All the events will take place at the Sugar Mountain Ski Lodge and the lifts will be open for those wanting a mountaintop view of the fall foliage. For more information call 828-898-4521.
26 th Annual Valley Country Fair (October)
The Annual Valle Country Fair features over 100 arts and crafts vendors, good old fashioned mountain food, live music and demonstrations of apple-butter making and other lost arts. For more information call 828-963-4609.
Woolly Worm Festival (October)
Each year tens of thousands of folks come to Banner Elk for the Woolly Worm Festival to hear the weather forecast. The festival features food, music, arts and crafts, and, of course, woolly worm races. Watch as contestants cheer on their racin’ worms climbing up pieces of string. Better yet, purchase your own woolly worm and get in on the action! The festival is sponsored by the Avery/Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis of Banner Elk. For more information, call 1-800-972-2183
Tweetsie Railroad Ghost Train Halloween Festival (October)
Every Friday and Saturday night during October the Tweetsie will have lots of safe, scary fun! Enjoy the Haunted House, Trick-or-Treating, Black Light Musical Show, other area attractions and, of course, a ride through the night on the Ghost Train! A limited number of guests will be admitted each night. Visit the Tweetsie website at www.tweetsie.com/events/ghosttrain.php or call 1-877-TWEETSIE