New Years Polar Plunge
January 1st, 2019: Prizes will be awarded for Best Costume, Oldest and Youngest Plunger and Plunger Who Traveled the Farthest. There will also be hot chocolate, music, and a bonfire to warm up with after you’ve taken the plunge. FREE to attend, Plunge fee is $20.00. All proceeds will go to support local charities. Registration begins at 9 am. The Beach on Lake Lure.
Asheville Fringe Arts Festival
January 20-27, 2019: The Fringe Festival bring unique ( and sometimes rather quirky) performance art to the Asheville area, with everything from dance, acting, art installations and more. The purpose of the festival is to have local artists bring their craft to the “edge” of creativity. Several area art studios will host this festival, so plan accordingly to see everything. For more information, check out the Asheville Fringe website.
Asheville Restaurant Week
January 21 – 27th, 2019: Enjoy Asheville’s wonderfully varied cuisine during Asheville Restaurant Week, taking place January 21-27, 2019. What is Asheville Restaurant Week? “Asheville Restaurant Week is your opportunity to try as many great Asheville restaurants as your schedule allows for four incredibly low fixed prices. Ever wondered about that restaurant you thought might be out of your price range? Asheville Restaurant Week is your chance to give it a try with the security of knowing exactly what you will be spending.” (exploreasheville.com) Reservations are strongly recommended.
Biltmore Costume Exhibit: Vanderbilt House Party
February 8th To May 27th 2019: New for 2019: Biltmore’s new costume exhibit explores what it was like to be a guest of the Vanderbilts during the gilded age. Included in admission.
Totally 80s Retro Ski Weekend
February 21 – 24, 2019: Ready for a totally tubular day in the snow? Put on your dayglo ski gear and head to Beech Mountain Feb 18-21 for the Totally 80s Retro Ski Weekend. There will be 80s themed activities, contests, and music, including a Madonna look-a-like contest and 80s tribute band. There is even an appearance from a delorean and the Ghostbusters Ectomobile. For more information, visit the Beech Mountain website.
Asheville Mardi Gras Parade
Sun March 3, 2019: Head downtown on February 11th for Asheville’s Mardi Gras Parade! This family-friendly parade can be participated in, or just enjoyed from the sidelines. Feathers, sparkles, fun and frivolity are present and welcomed, so dress up if you can. The parade will start at 3pm, and marches down Wall St., Battery Park Ave, Haywood St. and Page Ave. Look for dancers, roller skaters, and entertainers to make an appearance, so bundle up and head out!
April 1 – May 23rd 2019: Visit the Biltmore Estate in the spring to witness a spectacular display of 75000+ tulips in a rainbow of colors. By mid to late April, these tulips will be met with brilliant azaleas in a 20 acre garden, highlighting the beauty of the grand estate. For more information, visit the Biltmore Estate website.
Friday Night Drum Circle
Each Friday Starting April 5th: A true Ashevillian Event since 2001. Come join the fun as the crowd gathers at Pritchard Park each Friday evening through the warm months from around 6 to 10 pm. Join in to play drums, cowbells, or any percussion instrument, to dance, or simply watch. Free.
15th Annual Bread Festival
April 13 & 14, 2019: Artisan bread bakers from the Southeast will be selling their bread and sharing their expertise. There will be hands on workshops and demonstrations and samples! At New Belgium Brewery.
Easter Hat Parade in Dillsboro
April 20, 2019: At 2pm, April 20th, hats of all shapes, colors, and sizes will shine through the streets of Dillsboro. The hats will be judged based on varying categories, such as tiniest and best-smelling. Don’t worry if you don’t have one- you can make a hat there! The Easter Bunny will arrive in an antique car.
Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest
Saturday April 27th 2019: Join Highland Brewing to celebrate wedges, curds, shreds and grates of everyone’s favorite snack. This festival brings producers and creamery owners from all over the Southeast together to share their passion for cheese. There will be milking demonstrations and plenty of vendors to satiate any cheese-lovers cravings. For more information, visit the festival website.
May 10th – 12th, 2019: The Lake Eden Arts Festival which combines a diverse blend of music and dancing, poetry slams, folk art & craft exhibitions, outdoor adventure, and the LEAFlet Kid’s Village. LEAF offers new and exciting cultural connections. The Spring 2019 LEAF festival in Black Mountain is for the whole family. Get tickets early. Visit the LEAF website.
May 11 – 12, 2019: Craftspeople at the Folk Art Center share their inspiration and expertise in a variety of textile arts. Saturday demonstrations include: quilting and appliqué, doll making, weaving, mixed media fiber arts, clothing design, printing and surface design, tapestry weaving, and natural dyeing. Two fashion shows on Sunday! Free Admission.
Downtown After 5
May 17 – Sept 20th (Every 3rd Friday): May 17, June 21, July 19, August 16, and September 20th. Come on downtown for the best festival around. This concert event series kicks off in May, and goes through September 20th. Food and beverages available for purchase onsite. FREE
Memorial Day Concert and Ceremony
Monday May 27th, 2019: Roger McGuire Green, 2:30 PM. This free event features the Army National Guard’s Army Band playing before and after the ceremony.
Beer City Festival
Takes place on June 1st, at the Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park downtown. Celebrate all things brew with this ticketed event hosted by the Asheville Brewers Alliance.
Saturday June 8, 2019: This newer festival is a fun outdoor experience in the famous South Slope area of downtown. Free! Click here for more info.
Sierra Nevada Beer Camp
Satuday June 8, 2019: This is a day camp for adults, taking place at a brewery…need we say more? With a Silent Disco, Human Hungry Hungry Hippos, tons of brews and activities, there is plenty to enjoy about this ticketed event. Tickets go on sale March 1, and are extremely limited so act fast! 21 and over only.
Sunday June 9, 2019: Asheville is a vegan dream, with sustainable and animal-friendly products being utilized in several facets of not only the design of local goods but food production. Expect lots of food vendors, beer (it’s still Asheville of course), and crafts. Learn more here.
Asheville Art in the Park
Repeats: June 15, 22, 29, 2019: 10 – 5pm on these Saturdays, located at Pack Square Park in downtown. This art fair brings talented local artisans to the city center to share their work with Asheville. Expect woodworkers, blacksmiths, glass blowers, and jewelry makers just to name a few.
June 22, 2019: Celebrate Latin America with this one-day festival in downtown Asheville, enjoying the music and food of 20+ countries! There will be dancing, costumes and free admission! Noon to 9 PM.
Fourth of July Celebration Downtown Asheville
July 4, 2019: Celebrate America in downtown Asheville with live music, food trucks and fireworks after dark. Free to the public, bring a chair and settle down at Roger McGuire Green for the best view.
Shindig on the Green
July 6, 2019: This starts the Saturday tradition of the 53rd(!) Shindig on the Green at Roger McGuire Green in Downtown Asheville. Talented cloggers and musicians file into downtown to exhibit their skills. Free event. 7-10 PM, repeats through August.
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
July 11-14, 2019: The Scottish heritage is celebrated at this festival. With live music, food and athletic competitions that challenge participants. Ours is considered the best Scottish games in the US, so check it out!
July 14, 2019: More than 150 local vendors show off their skills and products at this expansive fair, located downtown at Packs Square Park. 12-7:30 PM.
Craft Fair at the Southern Highlands
July 18 – 21, 2019: The Southern Highland Craft Guild has a roster of talented artisans that create truly spectacular works. This Fair is your chance to ogle (and of course purchase) a one-of-a-kind piece of Appalachia. At the US Cellular Center.
Folkmoot International Festival
July 18 – 28, 2019: If you want an experience like any other you’ll find in North Carolina, visit this week for the Folkmoot International Festival. Dancers, musicians and artists from around the world visit Asheville to perform. Culturally enlightening and educational, this is a perfect family-friendly event.
Asheville Yoga Festival
July 25 – 28, 2019: Whether you are a devoted practitioner or just interested in learning more, this festival will enlighten you on all things Yoga. There will be over 30 presenters to educate all present on different styles, techniques and tips. Vendors will be set up at Pack Square Park.
Mountain Dance and Folk Festival
August 1 – 3, 2019: This event goes allll the way back to 1928! This is a showcase of mountain dance, music and storytelling that highlights the splendid history and culture of Appalachian bluegrass. This ticketed event acts a fundraiser for the Shindig on the Green.
LEAF Festival Downtown
August 2 – 3, 2019: This is a downtown festival that celebrates international music. The organizers put on the hugely popular festivals in Black Mountain every year, and have a handle of what makes a great music festival. A fantastic perk of visiting this downtown festival: there is no admission. That way, you can spend your cash on one of Asheville’s award-winning food trucks.
NC Apple Festival
August 30 – September 2, 2019: An apple a day, pshhh… make a long weekend out of apples! This festival is one we look forward to all year, and symbolizes the beginning of Fall. Vendors line up main street Hendersonville, selling fried apple pie, apple ice cream, apple cider, apple-you-name-it! This is a free event, but incredibly popular, so we recommend going early-ish: 10 AM- 10 PM every day. The King Apple Parade will happen on Labor Day.
Mountain State Fair
September 6 – 15, 2019: The fair comes to town in September every year, and every year there is something new to see. This is a ticketed event of course but check out their website for the daily specials they may have.
Chow-Chow Asheville Culinary Festival
September 12 – 14, 2019: A new festival for Asheville! Details are sparse at this time, but we are told to expect food tastings, chef demonstrations, and copious samples. We are in!
Dirty Dancing Festival
September 13 – 14, 2019: This yearly event is always a blast, especially if you are an uber-fan of the 80s classic. This festival is located on Lake Lure, where several scenes from the movie were filmed. There are food vendors, movie trivia, contests (seriously, a watermelon holding contest) and camaraderie. So if you are Swayze-crazy or just a fan of festivals, you’ll enjoy this one.
October 5, 2019: Downtown Asheville, this is a ticketed event that takes place 1-6 PM. German food and plenty of beer available.
Hardlox Jewish Festival
October 13, 2019: Delicious food, traditional music and a fantastic celebration in downtown Asheville. Free event.
October 18 – 20, 2019: This weekend music festival in Black Mountain, NC celebrates international music and community, with an emphasis on the impact of the Arts on our lives and culture. Great music, and you can set up a tent to relax all weekend! Ticketed for the weekend or per day, and these tickets go fast!