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Fall Festival Roundup

by Madison V. Fisler

Sept. 17, 2013. Are you looking for a great way to welcome in the autumn season that is fun for the entire family? The High Country is home to a plethora of Fall Festivals and Autumn activities that provide great fun for kids and adults of all ages to enjoy. Find the section for your area and check out all of the great things there are to do here in the High Country after you’re done watching the leaves turn. 

Photo by Andrew Pennestri


Boone Heritage Festival: The Boone Heritage Festival, hosted by the Southern Appalachian Historical Association and the Town of Boone, will take place on Saturday, Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. to celebrate Appalachian heritage with living history demonstrations, craft vendors, music jam sessions and live music, storytelling, children’s activities and more! The celebration will take place at Hickory Ridge Living History Museum. Don’t miss this free day of education, fun and adventure! The museum is located in Boone at 591 Horn in the West Drive. 

Blowing Rock

Ghost Rain Festival: On Friday and Saturday evenings from Sept. 27 through Nov. 2, the historic Tweetsie Railroad amusement park in Blowing Rock turns into a ghastly Ghost Train! When the gates open at 7:30 p.m., guests can enjoy ghostly train rides, a haunted house, Halloween shows, a 3-D maze, trick or treating and trips through the Freak Forest! For these special weekends, the transformed park will remain open until 11:30 p.m. and the Ghost Train Halloween Festival continues rain or shine! Advanced tickets are recommended, so reserve your night of fright soon! For more information, click here

Blowing Rock Halloween Festival: Downtown Blowing Rock will celebrate the annual Blowing Rock Halloween Festival on Oct. 26, from 3-9 p.m. Included will be fun for all ages including a fun house, air walks, Hay Rides through Blowing Rock and even a Monster March Parade! Trick or treating will begin at 6 p.m. with a bonfire at 6:30 p.m. There will also be a scavenger hunt by Broyhill Lake and even a costume contest at the recreation center. For more information about this event, click here

Banner Elk

Woolly Worm Festival: It’s almost that time again! That’s right, time to name your wooly work and get ready for the 36th annual Woolly Worm Festival held Oct. 19 and 20 in Downtown Banner Elk. This celebration of the coming of the snow season has been celebrated since 1978. The festival includes Woolly Worm Races with a grand prize of $1,000, crafts, food, live entertainment and much more. Woolly Worm races begin at 10 a.m. and last all day until 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Sunday worm races are just for fun. Each year, more than 20,000 guests flock to the festival to see how cold and snowy the winter will be and to take advantage of this family-friendly festival. 

Sugar Mountain

Oktoberfest at Sugar Mountain: No autumn in the High Country would be complete without a trip to the Bavarian themed Oktoberfest celebration at Sugar Mountain Resort. The 23rd annual Oktoberfest will take place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12 and 13 at Sugar Mountain Resort. The festival, which will run from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day, will feature dancing, live music, food, drink and more, and admission, parking and shuttle services are all completely free. Visitors can enjoy typical German foods like bratwurst, knockwurst, pretzels and more! There are even special activities for children including the Children’s Fun Center with bouncy houses, hay rides, putt-putt and more! You can even enjoy a ski lift ride to the top of Sugar’s 5,300 foot peak! This festival will go on rain or shine so bring the whole family out to this High Country tradition!

Beech Mountain

Autumn at Oz: On Oct. 5 and 6, join Dorothy, Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, Toto and the rest of the gang at Beech Mountain to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Autumn at Oz Party! Children and adults alike will be enchanted by Dorothy’s magical trip from Kansas to the Land of OZ. This two-day event is family friendly and will open at 9:30 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. This magical event will go on rain or shine, so bring the entire family out to walk the Yellow Brick Road and meet up with your favorite characters for a beloved event the entire family is sure to love. For more information on this event, click here.

Hayride in the Countryside: The Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual autumnal hayride, showing off dazzling displays of color throughout the countryside.  Please come out and enjoy autumn on Beech Mountain with the help of the Town of Beech Mountain. This event takes place Oct. 12.

Haunted Hayride: On Oct. 25-27, this full scale production put on by the Town of Beech Mountain and the Lees McRae Equestrian Club serves as a fundraiser.  Come and enjoy the thrills and chills of the hayride for a good cause!  Early ride on Saturday is family friendly, later events may not be appropriate for children of all ages, or may require parental guidance. For more information on this event, click here

Halloween Celebration: On Oct. 26, come and enjoy a spooktacular Halloween time! Our Spell-a-bration begins at Town Hall where the little ghouls and witches Trick-or-Treat at all of the local businesses on the way to Buckeye Recreation Center.  With food, games, a bounce house, costume contest, and a haunted egg hunt, your little monster is sure to have plenty of fright and fun at Buckeye that night.

Valle Crucis

The Valle Country Fair: The Valle Country Fair is one of the best places to start your early Christmas shopping. Always held on the third Saturday in October, this year the 35th annual event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Valle Crucis Conference Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, as always, and there will be plenty of parking available for just $5 per car. This is your chance to stock up on some of the best items that the High Country has to offer from 150 juried fine arts and crafts booths, including items like apple butter, barbecue, jams and jellies, fresh pressed apple cider and so much more. Sponsored by Holy Cross Episcopal Church, this is one fair that you won’t want to miss!

Punkin Fest: On Oct. 26, Punkin Fest will be celebrated in Valle Crucis from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival will include pumpkin decorating, games, baked goods, popcorn, face painting, and of course live music. There will be games and activities for all ages like bowling, target shooting and go fish. Proceeds from this festival go to benefit the Western Youth Network. 


Todd New River Festival: The Todd New River Festival is a beautiful mountain festival held on the bank of the New River that will enchant you with its charm and keep you coming back to the beautiful town for years to come. This year, the 20th annual New River Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in picturesque Cook Memorial Park. The festival offers guests gospel singing, checkers playoff, crafts, storytelling and bluegrass music that plays all day long and of course food and fun for the entire family. Hop onto N.C. 194 and head on over to Todd for a High Country festival experience you won’t soon forget. 


Brushy Mountain Apple Festival (Downtown North Wilkesboro): On Oct. 5, downtown North Wilkesboro will celebrate the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival once again. The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is one of the largest one-day arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast. The festival will include music, vendors, and over 150,000 people come out each year to enjoy a free day of family fun. Check out arts and crafts like furniture, carvings, and of course all kinds of apples. There will also be cloggers and other entertainment for everyone to enjoy. For more information on this festival, click here

Mineral City Heritage Festival (Spruce Pine): On Oct. 12, The Mineral City Heritage Festival in October of each year in downtown Spruce Pine thrives on sharing the old traditional mountain traits. Folks can watch an old-fashioned train engine chugging and making apple cider, watch the pot boil with apples peeled, and the making of apple butter. For more information on the festival, click here

Brushy Fork Baptist Church Fall Festival (Vilas): Brushy Fork Baptist Church, located at 3915 U.S. 421 North in Vilas is having a Fall Festival on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall and activities will begin following the dinner at 6:15. There will be games, prizes, a cake walk and more at the event and all activities are free and open to the public. There will be a collection of canned goods and non-perishable food items for Joy Cove Ministries. For more information, please call 828-297-2524. 

Keep checking back, as new fall festivals and autumn activities are sure to be added!