by Sandy McLeod
Springtime in Asheville is always a thriving time, full of gorgeous scenery stretching as far as the eye can see. Spring in Western North Carolina draws crowds from all over the world, who come out as much for the region’s awesome natural beauty as they do for the wealth of festivities unique to Western North Carolina’s rich natural and cultural heritage. In addition to the area’s traditional happenings, there are always exciting new events to choose from in Asheville. Below are some highlights that visitors to the area will not want to miss.
Friday Night Drum Circles
Described as Asheville’s “favorite tradition” the Friday Night Drum Circles at Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville have been drawing locals and tourists since 2001. The all-ages festivities, which run through the warmer months, start every Friday night at 6 p.m. Bring a drum, or just come to dance or listen and watch. Anyone can play in the drum circle with a drum or other type of percussion instrument. If you want to celebrate and dance under the stars, this is the place to be. Drum Circles usually last until mid-October, or as long as the weather is warm enough for an outdoor gathering. Eat at one of the many restaurants in Downtown Asheville before or after the Drum Circle, which is close to Pack Square, Battery Park Avenue and Haywood Road.
Biltmore Park, the Outdoor City Farmer’s Market, and the Asheville Cinema Society
Biltmore Park is the new “town square” in bustling South Asheville. Described as “a reimagining of the Main Streets of the past,” this thriving neighborhood includes many attractions, like the Outdoor City Farmer’s Market, which just opened this April 3rd. The market, established with a mission “to help local farms thrive”, will carry a wide range of organic foods and handmade items, and will be open every Wednesday. The area also hosts the Asheville Cinema Society, which, in cooperation with the Regal Biltmore Grande Stadium 15, will be screening alternative and independent films beginning on April 16th. Most visitors to Biltmore Park make a day or evening of their visit to town square that may include a meal at one of the many fine restaurants and a movie or some other form of entertainment.
The WNC Farmer’s Market and the 24th Annual Herb Festival
The Western North Carolina Farmer’s Market is another popular attraction. Open 7 days per week and all year round, the market boasts a melee of fruits, vegetables, preserves, jams, and many custom made items. It also includes a deli and, in the Garden Center, a greenhouse, bonsai trees, ponds, and a forty foot waterfall. The 24th annual Herb Festival—the largest herb festival in the Southeast—runs from May 3-May 5, and features a huge selection of medicinal herbs, soaps, herbal baked goods, and many other unique products. Vidalia Onion Day ushers in Memorial Day Weekend on May 24. Sample some carnival-fresh cooked onion rings and enjoy the sights!
The North Carolina Arboretum
The North Carolina Arboretum, located in the Pisgah National Forest amid the Southern Appalachian Mountains, is a magnificent 434-acre garden, and one of the region’s most dazzling and popular attractions. Just a short drive from Asheville, the Arboretum, adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway, has many scenic hiking and biking trails. The Arboretum offers the public guided trail walks, plant shows, and other events. On Memorial Day weekend, visitors can attend the annual Asheville-Blue Ridge Rose Society Exhibition, which features a rainbow of magnificent roses in all colors and varieties. Visitors can see Asheville’s famous azaleas, rhododendrons, and mountain laurel in bloom, and enjoy the sight of Western North Carolina at the height of spring.
Festival of Flowers at Biltmore Estates
Asheville’s renowned Festival of Flowers runs through May 15th at Biltmore Estate. As its name would suggest, it features a paradise of blossoms, including a profusion of 100,000 tulips, featured in colored beds in the world-famous 8,000 acre Biltmore Estate. The Estate winery will be offering special Festival of Flowers wine, as well as fun weekly “grape stomps” for kids. Biltmore Estate restaurants will be featuring unique menu items. Visitors can enjoy live music daily at the Antler Hill Village Green and Bandstand and in the Biltmore House and Conservatory.
Carl Sandburg Folk Music Festival
May 27 is the date of the Carl Sandburg Music Festival, which takes place at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in beautiful Flat Rock, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Asheville. The festival brings out musicians from all over the country, who play music inspired by Sandburg’s famous “American Songbag.” The entertainment includes spirituals, folk ballads, and instrumental arrangements, and the whole family is welcome.
Asheville is a city of natural wonders. The mountainous skyline contrasts with the changing seasons, with new things to see each time. Spring is a time for enjoying the natural world. Visiting Asheville in the springtime is guaranteed to be an experience visitors will always remember. Choose from the many festivities going on in the city and the surrounding area or just explore some of these well-known sites at your leisure.
Explore Asheville this spring and stay in a luxury cabin right in town. These cabins are affordable, family friendly and accessible to all areas of Asheville.