Sunshine, blue skies, fun and relaxation: That’s what life is all about in Asheville in July. Locals and tourists come together to celebrate the beautiful Appalachian weather, spend time with family and friends and enjoy good food, good beer and good times. From spectacular Fourth of July happenings to regularly scheduled musical and artistic events, Asheville has something for everybody. The mountains come alive with activities this time of year.
Independence Day Events
Asheville Tourists Fireworks: July 3, game starts at 7:05. Get a head start on the fireworks fun at the newly renovated McCormick Field, located just blocks from downtown, minutes from your cabin. Watch the Single-A team Asheville Tourists take on the Charleston RiverDogs and then enjoy the fireworks afterward at this family-friendly Asheville event. Tickets start at $7 in advance for general admission; buy them early because this event is likely to sell out.
Downtown Asheville Independence Day Celebration: July 4, 11:00 AM–10:00 PM.This is one of the summer’s most popular Asheville events, and it’s right downtown in Pack Square Park. From 2–6:00 PM with a $3 wristband, kids can beat the heat with the water fun at Splashville and jump around in a bounce house. The Ultimate Air Dogs perform every two hours, with an encore at 7:30. A variety of local bands start at 4:00 PM and play all afternoon. Americana/bluegrass star Jim Lauderdale headlines. Beer is for sale, and the fireworks start at 9:30. Admission is free.
Lake Julian Fireworks: July 4.This free Asheville event is a long-time family pleaser. Come early to make sure you get a spot to sit and watch the spectacular display over beautiful Lake Julian in South Asheville. With picnic spots, a playground, paddleboats and more, there’s plenty to do while you wait. In true laid-back Appalachian fashion, there’s no set time for the fireworks display — just get ready to see the show when it gets dark.
Spruce Street Market: July 4, 10:00 AM–6:00 PM. Browse artwork from some of the area’s most talented artists and craftspeople at the Spruce Street Market in downtown Asheville. The street will be lined with artists of all types, showing off their handiwork and ready to sell. The restaurants surrounding the fair will be teeming with activity as well, so you can make a day of it.
Mountaineer Antique Auto Car Show and Swap Meet: July 3 & 4, 8:00 AM–5:00 PM. Automobile aficionados, here’s an Asheville event that’s sure to get your motors running. Featuring classic cars, hot rods, and other custom vehicles, this show lets you admire the styling of some of the coolest cars in the country. The on-site swap meet gives you a chance to shop for bargains while admiring the autos. It’s held at the WNC Ag Center <http://www.wncagcenter.org/> near the airport; admission is $5.
Festivities Galore: July 4 at dusk.Many small towns near Asheville have their own July 4 celebrations. If you’re looking for a more small-town feel, try the rodeo in Marshall, the fireworks over Lake Louise in Weaverville, the fun times in Waynesville or the music and more in Hendersonville.
The Rest of July
River Arts District Farmers Market: July 1, 2–6:00 PM. The River Arts District, locally referred to as the RAD, was once home to crumbling warehouses. Today, the RAD has been revamped into a thriving artist community, and the River Arts District Farmers Market reflects the spirit of the area. The market at 175 Clingman Avenue features handmade products for home and body, local produce, beer, and other tasty treats, along with live music for shoppers to enjoy. This Asheville event is the embodiment of the Shop Local movement.
Shindig on the Green: July 11, 18, & 25, starts at 7:00 PM.This landmark Asheville event continues through July, with free performances at Pack Square Park downtown. Bring your lawn chair, but don’t plan to sit in it for long — the bluegrass artists that take turns on the stage are sure to get you up and dancing in the sweet summer air.
The Big Crafty: July 12, noon–6:00 PM. The Asheville Art Museum is home to this indoor-outdoor event featuring carefully selected crafters of all types. The Big Crafty lives up to its name, showcasing some of the most creative and interesting crafts you’ll ever see. Take home a little piece of handmade Appalachia of your very own. This Asheville event is free, but pre-sale tickets are available for $5, which lets you into the show at 11:00 AM, ahead of the expected crowds.
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands: July 16–19; 10:00 AM–6:00 PM, Thursday–Saturday; 10:00 AM–5:00 PM Sunday.Members of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild come together for four days to showcase works of art from our region. The artists sell their art, answer questions, and share tales of how they’ve created their stunning work. Held at the US Cellular Center, the juried craft fair features more than 200 highly skilled artists and craftspeople. Admission is $8; kids under 12 are free.
Folkmoot: July 16–26; times vary by performance. This two-week celebration of music, folklore and dance from around the world is based in nearby Waynesville, but features performances in Asheville. On July 19 & 26, all of the Folkmoot performers will put on a show at the Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville; the performance begins at 1:30 PM; tickets are $30 (children 12 and under are $15). Two featured Folkmoot groups will perform at the Asheville Jewish Community Center on July 23 at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $18 for adults, half-price for children 12 and under.
Downtown After Five: July 17, 5–9:00 PM. Enjoy music from the Asheville All Stars and Future All Stars (made up of school children) at this month’s installment of the popular free concert series. Food is sold on-site, and local beer is available for purchase with valid ID and a $2 wristband, with proceeds going toward local non-profit agencies.
Feel free to ask the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds office for ticket information or directions. We’ve attended many of these annual events and will gladly share our thoughts. You will never lack for fun when you visit Asheville, North Carolina.