August And September Are Delightful In Willow Winds
August and September are especially delightful times to enjoy all that Asheville has to offer by staying at lodging that is centrally located to the numerous activities in this mountain paradise. The temperatures in our woodland gardens are generally 10 degrees lower than at non-mountainous elevations, with evening and early morning temperatures in the 60’s. During late August and early September the temperatures cool down to an ideal level and make the mountain experience all the more enjoyable. As the list of activities below indicates, there is no shortage of entertainment activities during August.
Mountain Dance and Folk Festival
The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival showcases every element of old-time music, from square dancing to bluegrass music. Now in its 84th year, the popular festival takes place at the Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place in downtown Asheville. A typical night includes more than a dozen dance teams and musicians, all introduced by an MC who is well known among the Western North Carolina mountain culture scene. This is authentic Southern Appalachia at its best.
Biltmore Concert Series
Smokey Robinson plays the Biltmore Concert Series. Held on the South Terrace of the Biltmore Estate, America’s largest private home, this outdoors concert will be remembered as much for the venue as for the music. Sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains form the backdrop. Motown’s most famous singer, Robinson, of course, needs no introduction.
Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair
On one side of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak in the Eastern United States, is Asheville. On the other side is Yancey County, a rural contrast to Buncombe County’s metropolis. The annual Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair is the kind of fair where you’ll find handmade quilts, birdhouses, and soaps. Don’t’ be fooled – Yancey County is quaint and old-fashioned in many ways, but also home to artists who have fled the city for the quiet country, so this gathering reflects a diversity of crafts one might not expect. Of course, you will find barbecue, kettle corn on the cob, and sweet tea. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Asheville’s visual arts scene has become on par with Sante Fe and Key West. In fact, readers voted our town number one among the Top 25 Small Cities in their annual poll of great art towns. To prove it, the Asheville Downtown Gallery Association’s Art Walks have become the showcase events of the year. The association counts 25 galleries as members, and each of them offer wine or snacks to participants who travel from point to point. Lasts from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Village Art and Craft Fair
The annual Village Art and Craft Fair takes place on the first weekend of August in the historic Biltmore Village. The shady campus of the Cathedral of All Souls provides a cool place to get out of the sun for 120 exhibitors and shoppers. Two premiere galleries, Bellagio Art to Wear and New Morning Gallery, sponsor the event. There are plenty of great restaurants in the village for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, too. The fair will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
People who love wood really love wood. They talk about the grain, the hue, the pliability… Whether you’re a self-professed wood geek or just a hobbyist, woodcraft artists of all walks will enjoy Wood Day at the Folk Art Center. The Southern Highland Craft Guild sponsors this event to highlight local craft artists and to bring people of common interests together. The Carve Off Competition will be from 1-3 p.m. Demonstrations will be going all day long. And, best of all, it’s free. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Folk Art Center, at milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in East Asheville.
Asheville Wine and Food Festival
WNC Magazine celebrates Asheville’s status as a culinary nirvana with the Asheville Wine and Food Festival over two nights. The first night, dubbed Sweet, indulges everyone’s love for dessert. Tickets cost $35. The event will be from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Grove Arcade. The second night, called the Grand Tasting, brings the area’s best chefs together for the WNC Chefs Challenge and offers plenty of samples – not just of food, but also of wine. Live entertainment and workshops make this a must-attend for foodies. The Grand Tasting will be held from 1-5 p.m. at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center. Tickets cost $40 for general admission, or $65 for VIP access, which gets ticket holders inside one hour early.
The small town of Black Mountain throws a little bit of everything into this annual summer party. There will be rides, games, food, arts and crafts, local non-profits, and, yes, some sourwood honey. Anyone can find something to do here, and they might find themselves wandering into the historic downtown business district. For those who feel like they need to burn off the cotton candy and ribs, there is the Sourwood 5K on Saturday morning. And for those who think they can sing, there is the Sourwood Idol contest on Friday nights (applications dues one week before the contest.)
Downtown After Five
Downtown After Five is a free concert series with the best local music artists and up-and-coming national touring acts taking place on every third Friday from May through September. Local restaurants and breweries provide the food and drink, while the scenic streets of downtown Asheville provide the backdrop.